Updated: Nov 14, 2020
I've very successfully followed a Keto diet in the past and am likely to do it again soon. The astronomical sugar intake of the first week of COVID-19 lockdown induced me to eat some low-carb chicken pho (with zucchini noodles, Thai basil, fresh coriander, spring onions, mung bean sprouts, a squeeze of lime, leek, kaffir lime leaves and spiced broth) from my freezer supply for guilt-free days. So the bowl pictured above is after it's been in the freezer! (with a little fresh coriander to freshen it up).
Vietnamese Chicken Pho (serves 4-6)
2 small or one large leek, chopped in to chunks or 1 large onion, cut in to wedges
1 piece fresh ginger, about 5cm, peeled and cut into slices
3 garlic cloves, cracked
2 cinnamon sticks
2 whole star anise
8-10 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods, cracked
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/3 cup fish sauce
4 teaspoons palm sugar or sugar alternative (I use stevia)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
600g boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 zucchini to make courgetti/zoodles with a spiralizer - or noodles (you can buy them ready made at some supermarkets. That’s what I do)
Garnishes (but essential):
1 cup loose thai basil (hard to get outside of Chinatown, though Sainsburys and Waitrose usually have it)
125g mung bean sprouts
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped coriander
Optional: a chopped red chilli
Greens – I usually use pak choi or young spinach
Heat a large stockpot over a medium heat, add the leek/onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom, and coconut oil. Gently cook the leeks/onions and spices for about 10 minutes.
Pour in the water, fish sauce, sugar or sugar substitute, salt, and turmeric. Then add the chicken thighs (whole) and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat if needed, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Use a sieve or slotted spoon to remove the chicken and other solid bits/spices from the broth. Reserve the chicken thighs and discard everything else. Chop the chicken in to bite-sized chunks and add back to the broth.
Chop and prep