I cannot claim that this is Pho or Ramen (real Ramen, not the flavor packet kind we are all familiar with). The defining characteristic of both of those noodle soups is the time and tradition that goes into their broths, it would be an oxymoron to call anything “Quick Pho,” so the food traditionalist in me simply cannot call it that! However, the flavors I’ve added to this broth are my favorite Pho flavors and I made this to satisfy a noodle craving, and it worked. So, call it whatever you want, but I promise you’ll call it delicious.
I used noodles I happened to have in my pantry from my last spellbinding trip down the international food aisle at Wegmans, but you could make this with any noodle you prefer. Rice noodles would be more Pho-like, I am wild about mung bean or cellophane noodles (sometimes called glass noodles) which would also be very good here, but you could even use spaghetti. Just cook your noodle of choice separately according to package instructions.
Quick Asian Noodle Soup
- one package Japanese wheat noodles (I used Hakubaku Organic Ramen 9.5 ounce package) (or whichever noodles you prefer)
- two quarts chicken or beef stock (or a combination)
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 one-inch piece of ginger, cut into large chunks, and another 1/2 inch piece peeled and very finely julienned for serving
- 4 green onions, dark green parts reserved for stock, light green parts finely sliced on the diagonal for serving
- 4 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and reserved for stock, caps thinly sliced
- one red fresno chili pepper, seeds removed and very finely sliced (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 whole star anise
- small bunch of basil leaves, Thai basil if you can find it, leaves removed and thinly sliced for serving, stalks reserved for broth
- small bunch of cilantro, leaves removed for serving, stalks reserved for broth
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts for serving, 1/4 cup per serving
In saucepan, combine stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, dark green parts of green onions, shiitake stems, star anise pods, basil and cilantro stalks. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, strain stock and discard the simmered ingredients. Return stock to pan and add sliced shiitake mushroom caps. Simmer this gently while you cook the noodles.
Place a separate pot of water on to boil for the noodles, and cook according to package instructions.
Strain noodles and divide evenly between 4 bowls. Ladle stock over noodles and garnish each bowl with cooked shiitakes, bean sprouts, basil and cilantro leaves, pepper slices, ginger slices, and green onions. A squeeze of lime would be nice too!