Time for my all-time favorite comfort food—BONE SOUP! or Pho version if you’re a phoodie. Healthy, super nutritious, and eco-friendly “whole animal” eating, it’s the original, caveman crockpot recipe! A perfect winter tummy and house warmer (also flattens tummies, good for dieting) and easy (add water, cover, forgettaboutit).
HOMEMADE BONE SOUP: Asian Home Chef Tips & Tricks
Plenty of good recipes out there, like this one for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Pho Soup. Here are our top home chef tips and tricks to help reduce the learning curve, be versatile and save time.
- Any bones will do. Pho is traditionally with beef or chicken. Mom likes Pork. Grandma liked lucky fish heads. Turkey after holidays is divine. Each have different “aromas.” It’s ALL goodness! I slurp and suck around the bones. Many prefer to strain out.
- A crockpot is ideal for safer multi-hour cooking, but good-tasting broth can be had after 3 hours on stove top simmer. For fall off the bone meat, add more time. Keep an eye out for sufficient water or accidental boil-overs.
- Quick boil and drain. In Mandarin, called a “first rinse” or wash that clears away floating debris and disinfects the raw bones. Re-fill with clean water for the long haul.
- Like a Stone Soup, enjoy the broth with almost anything (cabbage! celery! daikon radish! squash! noodles!) but timing is important. If you want traditional Asian-style noodle soup, cook and drain your noodles separately. Add in quick-cooking leafy vegetables e.g. greens last minute or two, or better yet (but takes more time) stir fry vegetables separately and add on top. Don’t cook Asian noodle soups like a Minestrone where all the soup contents are soft and taste like the broth. If large volume, keep base broth pure and heat separate small-pot meals with add-in’s (and creative twists!) Bone broths alone can simmer up to 48 hours for full flavor of large bones, large pots.
- Bone soup is a naturally rich base for homemade rice porridge or congee. Add 1 tbs grated ginger, 3/4 cup rinsed and drained uncooked sushi rice to 2.5 quarts broth, simmer low in crockpot for 8 hours or overnight. Stir and serve with chopped scallions, a few drops of toasted sesame oil.
- Vegetarian? Ancient Chinese secret for savory vegetable broth goodness: mushrooms (any type, fresh or dried, can strain out later if desired), no bones about it!
- Timesaver or low on bones: Use whatever bones you have with 2 cups water and mix in 2 cups low-sodium, natural chicken, beef or vegetable stock. Simmer 1-2 hours (vs. all day).
- No bones or Instant? You Saucy Thing soy ginger Vidalia sauce makes a great, instant, natural (and vegetarian) soup base with no MSG (1 Tbs sauce to 1 cup water or adjust to taste). It’s low sodium, so add your own salt to taste.
- Like it HOT? Squirt of Sriracha or chili garlic sauce will get your circulation going.
- Dried or fresh mushrooms; garlic and ginger (fresh slices are best but powder will do); touch of soy sauce and a few drops roasted sesame oil (just before serving), are wonderful, natural flavor boosters.
- Bouillon alerts: MSG, derivatives or unlisted “spices” and high-sodium are common in cubes or powders. Look for natural, low-sodium versions.