Recipe video above. Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) - the little sister of famous Beef Pho, equally delicious but much easier to make! I call it the Vietnamese version of homemade chicken noodle soup made from scratch. Except - dare I say it - so much more exciting!You won't use all the chicken, but it's infused with lovely flavour so there's loads of uses - see Note 7.
Char onion & ginger - Heat oil in a 6 litre / 6 quart pot (Note 5) over high heat. Place ginger and onion facedown, leave undisturbed for 2 minutes until they blacken. Turn and leave for another 2 minutes.
Put everything in pot - Add water and remaining Broth ingredients EXCEPT salt. Bring it a simmer, then lower heat so it's simmering VERY gently with the lid on, but open a crack (Note 6).
Simmer gently 1.5 hours. Scoop off scum (dirty foam) that rises to surface once or twice during the simmering.
Strain & measure - Remove chicken, then strain broth into a clean pot - you should have 1.5 litres / 1.5 quarts. If you have more, simmer to reduce. If less, top it up with water.
Salt broth - Add salt, bring broth to a gentle simmer. Broth should be slightly on the salty side - it dilutes when you add the noodles.
Prepare noodles per packet directions, just prior to serving. Drain very well (excess water dilutes broth).
Place noodle in bowls. Top with chicken, ladle over 375ml / 1.5 cups broth. Sprinkle with green onion.
Pile on Toppings of choice, add a squeeze of lime into the broth. Consume immediately!
1. Chicken - or a whole chicken. Don't reduce chicken weight, you will lack flavour in broth. If you're short, throw in a wing or drumstick etc to make up the weight.Can't shortcut this with breast or boneless thigh - need to use skin on chicken with bone in so it can withstand the cook time, and also dark meat imparts way more flavour into broth.2. Coriander/cilantro - small bunch quantity: if you bundled it all up, it should roughly equal 1 1/2 cups. Around 5cm/2" diameter around base, 20cm/8" tall (you can chop most leaves off to use for topping, and use stems plus some leaves for broth)3. Bean sprouts - tend to be a bit floppy and smelly from non Asian stores. To perk them up, put in container, cover in water, refrigerate 12 hours. Drain, let dry then use per recipe. If you change water daily, beansprouts will keep for a week using this storage method.4. Herbs - these 3 herbs are a classic combination for pho. If you have 2 of three, it's still going to seem like an authentic eating experience. If I really had to only pick one, I'd choose either coriander or Thai Basil. Thai Basil can be substituted with normal basil (but not if it's the only herb you're using).5. Pot - don't use a cast iron pot as the base will be charred and you may need to scrub. Pot should be at least 6 litres/quarts big. If it's smaller, you can hold back some water and add it as the chicken shrinks/water evaporates (been there, done that!)6. Clear broth - gentle simmer and scooping off scum is the path to a lovely clear broth!7. Leftover chicken - you won't even use half the chicken for the Pho. Chicken nicely infused with Asian flavours, so use it for things like: fried rice, Chinese Chicken Salad, Vietnamese Noodle Salad, Peanut Noodle Salad, Chinese Corn Soup, or toss it into a Chicken Stir Fry or Stir Fried Noodles.8. QUICK Pho using store bought chicken stock - follow recipe but make following changes:
Do not use thighs, use 500g/1lb chicken breast instead
Use 6 cups low sodium chicken stock + 1 cup water (instead of just water)
Reduce fish sauce to 3 tsp, use NO salt
Char onion & ginger per recipe
Put all spices, stock and water in pot with breast. Simmer 10 min until breast cooked, remove and shred
Simmer remaining liquid for 30 min with lid open ajar, reduce to 1.5L/1.5Qt. Strain, proceed with recipe (except NO extra salt in broth).
9. Servings - this will make 4 generous size servings (1.5 cups broth per person, makes a dinner size serving for a person with a very good appetite), 5 sensible servings, or 6 lighter servings (good for a light lunch).10. Storage - make the broth and freeze for 3 months, or refrigerate up to 5 days. Reheat until piping hot. Do not be tempted to scoop off chicken fat that firms up in fridge - it's essential for flavour in broth and mouthfeel!All toppings and noodles must be made fresh.11. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 4 generous servings. I've had to make an educated estimate of the calories from the chicken, noting that while we extract the flavour and some of the fat into the broth, most of the chicken recipe is not used in the recipe.