Charlie Don’t Slurp

I’m a fucking Soup Fiend, especially Pho and other Asiany soups.

But I only get to eat it on special occasions because I’m not a Sodium Fiend.

So I improvise and make my Faux Pho.

But I go to extremes with it – I make Instant Faux Pho.

You down wit’ I.F.P.?

It started with the idea of making a “healthy” version of Cup O’ Noodles. I wanted something with better ingredients, but it had to be easy for me to prepare at work. I thought about cooking it the night before and reheating it the next day, but you know what happens to ramen/rice noodles when they sit in the broth too long.

They get bloated and disgusting.

So I figured I’d have to cook it fresh while at work. And after zero trial and error (because I’m an awesome cook), I came up with my Faux Pho in a Jar.

It’s pretty easy and delicious. It does take a little bit of effort the night before, but really, if you had 5 jars, you can make them all at once. I only own one jar, so I have to assemble it every night. And seriously, you can  use pretty much whatever you have in the house. When I created my initial batches a couple of months ago, the only thing I needed to purchase at the store was the chicken. But then again, I had a lot of Asiany ingredients on hand.

When I get to work, I leave the jar on my desk to take the chill off (from being in the fridge the night before). About an hour before I want to eat, I fill the jar about 3/4’s full with hot water from our Sparkletts water cooler. I mix it with my chopsticks to get it going and then lid it up and let it sit for 45mins – 1 hour. Before I eat it, I throw it into a bowl and reheat it a little in the microwave – I like my soup super hot.

Trust me – it’s easy and delicious. And now that my book tour is over and I’ll be home more, I decided to start the Faux Pho back up.

1) I layer my sauces on the bottom. This keeps things from getting soggy and saturated.

2) I buy cole slaw mix and add that to the bottom. Cabbage is pretty sturdy and doesn’t get soggy when in contact with the sauce, and it acts like a barrier for the other ingredients.

3) I add green onions and shallots. I’m also a Green Onion Fiend.

4) Then comes the cilantro and mushrooms. If you live in a shithole state with no access to decent cilantro, then you can use parsley or celery leaves. I also add mushrooms. Because they’re a little thicker than the rest of the vegetation, I saute them ahead of time and let them cool before adding them. I just cook an entire package and keep them in the fridge.

5) My initial batches didn’t include bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, but I figured they would be a nice edition and some needed crunch. I chop these up to make them a little more compact in the jar.

6) Now I add my meat. I’m using chicken this time, but I’ll also use a mix of salmon and shrimp. For the meat, I do use canned meat. It’s easier for me because I can buy smaller portions to use and it’s already cooked. I drain the chicken and shred it a little with my fingers before adding it to the jar.

7) Now it’s noodle time! I break up whatever dried noodles I’m using and push them down into the jar. Most Asian noodles will cook just fine in the jar – some cook faster than others, so just keep your eye on it. I shake my jar a little every ten minutes or so to loosen things up.

I know these aren't traditional "Pho" noodles, but they were on sale.

I know these aren’t traditional “Pho” noodles, but they were on sale.

8) After the noodles are in the jar, I add the final touches – the dry spices. I add a tiny little bit of chicken bouillon powder to give it a little bit of broth flavor and I also add miscellaneous seasonings that I have – one is seaweed and black sesame seeds, the other is citrusy with black sesame seeds. I add these last so they stay dry with the noodles until the water is added.

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9) Put your lid on because now you’re done! Check out all the layers:

Like I said before – USE WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE HOUSE. I guarantee your jar soup will be delicious. I plan on trying a Chicken Tortilla Soup next – I have chicken, green onions, cilantro, salsa/hot sauce, beans, and “Tortilla Soup Seasoning”. After it cooks in the jar, I plan on topping it with cheese and broken up tortilla chips.

If you make a homemade soup in a jar, let me know how it turns out!