Chicken pho (or Pho Ga) is the perfect comfort food. This recipe was adapted from my mom’s so it is amazing! There are several steps but it’s all worth it and super healthy. The chicken that was shredded and eaten with the soup was cooked in the broth, with the carcass thrown back into the stock for added flavour.
Coriander and chicken go well together, and this recipe highlights these flavours. For the coriander stems, I normally cut them off of the coriander and freeze them until I need them.
1 fresh chicken (preferably free range chicken)
Salt for scrubbing the chicken
1 cup of green onions-chopped
1 cup of coriander – ripped into pieces
1 cup of nappa cabbage-shredded (optional)
1 package of rice noodles/vermicelli-soaked in water for a few hours
Chicken Stock (makes about 6 litres):
Chicken bones (sorry, I don’t remember how many pounds)
1 large chicken breast (about 1/2 pound) -large dice
2 onions- cut in half
2 carrots- large dice
1 large piece of ginger
1/2 cup of fish sauce
1/2 cup of coriander stems
1 tbsp of coriander seeds
1 tbsp of whole black pepper
Water to cover the bones (about 25 cups)
Preparation and Cooking steps:
Step 1-Prepare the chicken stock:
1. 1: Char the onions and the ginger on the stove top (I used a gas stove) with the skin on. Remove the burnt skin. This step is necessary for the soup base.
1.2 In a large pot with water, add in the charred onions and ginger. Blanch the chicken bones in a separate pot for a few minutes and add it to the stock. Add in the diced chicken breast.
1.3 Toast the coriander seeds in a pot for about 1-2 minutes. In a spice ball, add the toasted coriander seeds, whole black pepper and the coriander stems.
1.4 Boil and then simmer the stock for at least 4 hours. Add in the fish sauce.
Step 2– Prepare the whole chicken.
2.1 Cut the head off the chicken and the access fat. Keep the neck for stock.
2.2 Scrub the chicken with salt, rinse with water and pat dry. Pluck any remaining feathers. Keep the chicken in the fridge until the stock is ready.
2.3 Once the stock in ready, take the chicken out from the fridge. In a separate pot, blanch the chicken with the skin on for a few minutes to get rid of the impurities.
2.4 Make sure to turn the stock back up to a boil. Throw the chicken into the chicken stock and make sure there is enough liquid to cover the whole chicken.
2.5 Boil the chicken for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Leave the lid on and the chicken submerged for 25 minutes. The chicken will slowly cook and it will be tender when it is ready.
2.6 Take the whole chicken out at 25 minutes and then shock it with cold water. Once the chicken is comfortably cool, remove the breast, chicken legs and wings from the chicken. Shred the chicken breasts and leave aside. Put the chicken carcass back into the chicken stock.
Step 3. Serving the soup
3.1 Let the soup cook for about 20 minutes.
3.2 In a separate pot, boil the noodles. As they were pre-soaked, it should cook in a few minutes.
3.4 In a large bowl, add the cooked noodles, followed by the soup and topped with the chicken pieces. Add in green onions, coriander and nappa cabbage. The cabbage is not traditional, I just happen to have some at home.
Other items that will work well with the pho ga is fresh lime, bean sprouts, Thai basil and mint. I like adding extra freshly cracked pepper and a teaspoon of sriracha.
To speed up this dish next time, make the stock ahead of time and freeze.
The soup was absolutely amazing!
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