Vietnamese Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup)

Since I tried this fresh, fragrant and healthy chicken noodle soup in a Vietnamese restaurant a couple of years ago it has been one of my favourites! Here is my version:

In this recipe I am using a basic chicken stock as base. If you do not have your own stock standing about in the fridge, you can find my recipe here or, if you do not feel like making it from scratch, you can buy the ready-made version from your local supermarket!

This is what you need:

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 5 cm fresh ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • Half a stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorn
  • 500 ml Chicken stock
  • 400 ml water
  • 2-3 skinless chicken legs on the bone (breasts will also work here but the legs gives more variation in meat and by keeping them on the bone you will get extra intense flavour! Also, as a bonus, legs seem to be way cheaper… )
  • Salt (about 1 teaspoon or to taste)
  • I tablespoon fish sauce
  • The juice of one lime (you will also need one more lime, cut in wedges, for later)
  • Flat rice noodles
  • Red Chili pepper
  • a couple of salad/spring onions
  • A bunch of fresh cilantro
  • Bean sprouts

And here is what you do:

  1. To get a clear broth, the first thing you want to do is to parboil your chicken. Cover the chicken in water and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 min and strain under cool water. What this will do is to remove the impurities from the chicken.
  2. In a big pot, heat up oil and toss in your peeled and thinly sliced ginger, your peppercorns and your star anise. Turn the spices around in the oil for a couple of minutes for fragrance but do not let them get any colour.
  3. Add the chicken stock and the water to the spices and let the chicken simmer gently in the stock for about 20 min.
  4. Remove your chicken from the broth and make sure that it is cooked all the way thru before you put it aside to cool down.
  5. Pour your stock thru a fine mesh strainer and discard the spices, they have done their job!
  6. Put the stock back on the heat and add the fish sauce, the juice from ONE of the limes and the salt.
  7. Shred your chicken from the bone and put it back into the stock.
  8. At this point you will want to taste your almost-ready-soup and see if you need some more salt or lime.
  9. Slice the spring onion and the chilli peppers in thin slices (here it is optional to keep the seeds, it all depends on how spicy you like it). Add half of your chopped chili and onion to the soup together with a handful of cilantro leaves and two handfuls of beansprouts.
  10. Put the rest of the chopped chili, salad onion, cilantro leaves and beansprouts plus the second lime cut in wedges on a plate. These are going to work as condiments to the soup so that each person can adjust the flavour perfectly to their liking.
  11. Add the noodles to the soup and let it simmer until your noodles are cooked but not overcooked. If you use fresh rice noodles this will only take a minute or so and if you use dried ones, it will take a few extra minutes.
  12. The soup is ready to serve! Do not hold back on the condiments and enjoy!

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