I spent my college days in the middle of the corn fields of central Illinois. At this stage of my life I had absolutely no knowledge of, nor interest in, good food or its preparation. My hands-on cooking experience to date was limited to grilled cheese, chocolate chip cookies, and… actually, I think that was about it. In the college dorms I expanded my repertoire to include macaroni & cheese (from the blue box) and packaged ramen noodles. And yes, I realize that every parent who reads this is probably cringing, but just remember, I grew out of it and your kids probably will too.
Anyway, I can safely estimate that I probably ate ramen noodles at least twice a week for the first two years of college. After that I swore off ramen and refused to touch it, or anything which vaguely resembled it, for years after I had graduated from the corn fields and moved up to Chicago. It was not until a friend dragged me to one of the city’s many noodle shops and made me try Pho Bo (a vietnamese beef and noodle soup which remains one of my absolute favorite soups), that I changed my mind. Since then I have eaten more bowls of hot and spicy noodley goodness, from every kind of fancy restaurant to hole-in-the-wall take away joint that I could find, but I had not until now actually tried to make it in my own kitchen. Why oh why did it take me so long?
Dorie’s Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup looks intimidating at first due to the long list of ingredients. But I found that everything was easily purchased from the asian section of my local supermarket, and after that the soup was really quite easy to pull together. And the flavor, OH the flavor, while not really spicy (I made a note to add more chiles next time) was so deep and rich that I found myself going back to the pot again and again for just one small bite more. Contrary to Dorie’s instructions, I also cooked the noodles directly in the broth so that they soaked up some of the herby broth. So tasty!