It's Friday, and it's eight AM. I think to myself: Today I'll take my bike to work, and at lunch I'll get a few miles in. It's going to be sunny, right?
I lift my bicycle onto the car's bike wrack, and put together an extra backpack with spare clothes. I pull on my tennis shoes--the ones with the insoles that are supposed to protect my old stress injuries from getting worse- and make sure to bring some sunglasses.
By eleven it's pouring. As the rain drops hit the roof of my office, they make a lulling patter sound that dissolves into white noise. Disgruntled, I think, It'll pass, right?
By one I've given up on the storm passing any time soon and have given in to midday tummy rumbles. Lunch. It's still dribbley outside, and the street looks more like a slip-and-slide than a open road. I settle into my chair and plan for a late afternoon ride. It never rains for more than five consecutive minutes in Colorado--it has to be over soon.
I bury my head in my work and next thing I know, rays of sunshine are peaking through the clouds. This could actually work out perfectly! I look at the clock: Four forty-five. If the puddles drain fast, I could go for a quick ride after work!
I wraps things up as best as I can. While I wait for someone else to finish something, I grab my pack and switch into clothes for riding.
It couldn't have been more than ten minutes, but sure enough, by four fifty-five all evidence of sunshine had dispersed. Had I just imagined it all? The drizzle was back. I pulled out my phone and texted: "What do you want for dinner? Does Phở sound good?"
Is it weird that when the world seems overly wet, something made of mostly liquid could save the day? Phở is my rainy day savior. It's cozy, in a curl up on the couch sort of way. Sprigs of fresh herbs, a squirt of lime, and spicy jalapeño add cheeriness, making a bowl of phở feel fresh when everything around it feels utterly dreary. For this recipe, I use pre-cooked chicken. It's not authentic, but it get's dinner on the table in a snap and still hits the spot. You could easily swap in pre-cooked shrimp, sliced and cooked steak, or pork--what ever you prefer. The zoodles cook the moment they touch the soup, so I serve them in bowls raw and then ladle hot broth over top. Almost everything else stays fresh, and can be added in as you go.
Yield: 1 cup | Total Time:
For the Soup:
- 4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 5 black peppercorns
- 1 star anise
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1-inch piece ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 cups bean sprouts (or other type of sprout)
- 1 jalapeño
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup sliced daikon radishes
- Dice the chicken, and add it to a pot with the broth along with the spices (whole), the salt and soy sauce (I use my Instant Pot pressure cooker). If cooking on the stove, simmer for 15 minutes; if using an Instant Pot, secure lit and turn to the soup setting for 1 minute.
- While the soup cooks, heat the coconut oil in a skillet. Once the oil sizzles, add the mushrooms. Sear the mushrooms until crispy, stirring only occasionally.
- Spiralize the zucchini, slice the jalapeño and lime, and pull the leaves from the cilantro and basil.
- To serve, place a handful of zucchini noodles in a bowl and ladle chicken soup over top (pulling out whole spices as you find them). Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, jalapeño, daikon, crispy mushrooms. Squeeze lime wedge over top, and drizzle with Sriracha.