I have a confession to make. I am scared of fish sauce. It's true. I have been wanting to try my hand at Thai food for years, but I was too afraid of fish sauce. It is included in everything it seems. Now I know it is a great source of umami, which I happen to love, but I just couldn't get over the idea of it.
Then comes this soup on French Fridays with Dorie. I probably would have never made it myself. I have always wanted to try pho though and figured this was a good intro into the cuisine.
For this soup you simmer aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, peppercorns, etc.) in a mixture of chicken broth, coconut milk, and fish sauce. You poach a chicken breast in the broth. Then you shred the chicken into the soup, and add the noodles, lime juice, and cilantro. It all sounded great to me except... well you know.
I got it all ladled out and got the kids to start eating.... while I secretly watched their reaction. They didn't bat an eye. They started slurping up the chicken and noodles and drinking the broth with gusto. They loved it.
This gave me enough courage to try my bowl. Of course, it was delicious. I loved the acidity from the lime juice. I meant to sprinkle on some of the optional chili oil, but I totally forgot. I must say that without it this soup was not spicy at all.
Perhaps next time I see a recipe that calls for fish sauce, I will actually make it instead of turning the page.
Do yourself a favor and purchase Around My French Table. It is fast becoming my favorite cookbook.