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Chicken “Faux” Pho
To make the broth, combine the chicken broth, ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise, hot sauce and sugar in a large saucepan. If using dried mushrooms, add the whole dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile slice onion in half through the root end. Place cut-side down on a cutting board. Thinly slice onions. Add to the simmering broth, separating into strips as you add. Then cover and reduce heat so broth gently boils.
Cook, covered, for 10 minutes to develop flavors. Meanwhile slice raw chicken into bite-size strips. After the broth has simmered 10 minutes, taste and if “gingery” enough, remove ginger slices. Stir in the raw chicken. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Once the chicken is cooked and there is enough flavor in the broth, remove the cinnamon stick and star anise. Also if using dried mushrooms, remove from the broth. Cut away the stems and discard. Thinly slice remaining mushrooms and return to the broth.
Add the noodles, separating as you add. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Then lower the heat and simmer until noodles are done as you like, about 5 minutes. Before serving, shred the basil and mint and stir in.
Notes: To make ahead, prepare the broth but do not add the chicken. Remove the ginger, cinnamon and star anise. Remove mushrooms if using, cut out the stems and discard. Slice the remaining mushrooms and return to the broth. Broth will keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 days or freeze. Then heat the broth and add the raw chicken and simmer until chicken is almost cooked. Add the noodles and cook covered until chicken and noodles are tender.
Liven it Up: Serve the soup as they do in Vietnamese restaurants with lime wedges, fresh thai basil and mint leaves as well as bean sprouts. Squeeze lime into a bowl of hot soup, then scatter with torn fresh herbs and bunch the bean sprouts in the centre of the soup.