Vietnamese Pho (Soup)

Vietnamese Pho (Soup)

In an effort to find a low-carb, high-protein alternative to breakfast cereals and the ocasional scrambled egg, we looked into other cultures and what they might eat for breakfast. Is there a nutrient rich breakfast alternative? The answer we found is "soup." Western breakfasts, high in sugar and carbs, can leave one feeling hungry after only a few hours. This type of breakfast typically consists of either toast, bagel, doughnut, cereal and/or a cup of coffee while on the go.

Asian soup, however, specifically Vietnamese Pho, can be full of vitamins and minerals mostly because of the many vegetable accompaniments served with the soup. Pho, pronounced "fun" without the "n", as we learned from the waiter at a local Thai/Vietnamese restaurant we recently visited, is a delicious alternative. Served with chicken, turkey or fish, this soup will keep you energized all morning long. And, it's a great way to start your day, right after yoga.

Ingredients, The Base

  • 40 oz chicken broth
  • 2 full peices star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 whole chives
  • 3 whole scallions
  • 1 inch ginger (about 1 rounded Tbs, minced)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 whole mint leaf
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh lime
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

Ingredients, The Accompaniments

  • cilantro
  • bok choy
  • napa cabage
  • spinach
  • bean sprouts
  • kale
  • peas
  • parsley, fresh (not necessarily asian high in vitamin A, C, and K)
  • kidney beans (not asian, rich in Magnesium, folate, thiamin, and iron)
  • quinoa (not asian, but packed with nutrients and can be a substitute for rice noodles)
  • rice noodles
  • chicken, turkey or fish

Directions, Broth

  1. Prepare broth. On medium heat infuse sesame oil with anise and cloves for 1 minute in a stock-pot.
  2. Add chicken broth.
  3. While broth is warming add fish sauce, lime, chives, scallions, ginger, salt, honey, mint, and corriander, bring to slow boil.
  4. Remove cloves and anise, if you can't find them leave them in.

Directions, Accompaniments

After your broth is prepared you have two options. Option one, store the broth and use as needed. I like to take a few cups of broth in a large 1 quart bowl, place some pre-cooked tilapia fillets at the bottom of the bowl, add the rice noodles and/or pre-cooked quinoa, and then vegetables. Microwave 6-7 minutes, let soup sit for 2-3 minutes or until rice noodles are tender. I like to put my sprouts and cilantro on after the micro-wave. By adding the veggies and meat the day you're going to eat the soup preserves the greatest amount of nutrients since heating and storing them in water tends to break vitamins down. I usually divide the soup over a four day period and prepare the broth on Sunday and eat Mon-Thursday, and adding the veggies and meat the day I'm going to eat the soup. Option two, throw it all together eat the whole thing after 6-7 minutes at a slow boil, wait 2-3 minutes.

The type and amount of veggies are completely optional, but do not put in any starchy food like potatoes they may weigh you down too much. Throw another fresh mint leaf on top, the aroma is nice. I like to go heavy on the sprouts, peas and kale. Also, try to grow the vegetables yourself while in season, vegetables sitting on the grocery shelf tend to lose nutrients, fresh is always better.