Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recipe: Pho Ga

I told you back in 2010 that I would post a recipe of my pho ga, so here it is! Over 3 years late! (I'm a horrible person, I know)

I make pho at least every other week.  It's my go-to dish for cool weather days.  It's also a great elixir after an inebriating weekend or for a case of the sniffles.  It's a richly flavorful soup without that stick-to-your-ribs soup belly fullness.  This soup will also perfume your entire home with the smells of Vietnam with the anise, coriander and fish sauce!  I've never been to Vietnam, but I imagine it smells like pho.

As a child, my parents took my brother and me to eat pho at our family friend's restaurant once a week for the 8 years we lived in New Orleans, so I'm seriously fueled on pho broth.  I'm also Vietnamese, so this broth literally runs through my veins.  Fun fact: when I donate blood, I actually donate a bag of pho broth. 

No joke, my husband told me I kind of smell like pho after a workout.

See.  In my veins. And sweat glands.  I do not lie.

Pho Ga 
Serves 4

whole chicken (organic is preferable)
ox tail (optional)
pho noodles 

5 whole star anise
2 Tbsp whole coriander
2 Tbsp whole peppercorn
4-5 whole cloves
1 Tbsp Rock Sugar (1 Tbsp white sugar also works)
4 inch knob ginger root, unpeeled
1 onion, first layer peeled off, reserve ~1/4 for garnish
1 bunch cilantro, stems only tied with cotton twine, reserve tops for garnish
Fish sauce (I don't know the exact amount, I use this to salt the soup, so taste as you add)

Onion, sliced thinly
Cilantro, leaves
Green onion, thinly sliced (optional)
Lime juice

In a large pot, fill with water and bring to boil.  Char ginger and onion either directly on fire of gas stove or broil in the oven, turning to char evenly (I use a toaster oven).  You can lightly peel off some of the char, then slice ginger into large pieces and add onion (whole) and ginger to pot. Add anise, coriander, peppercorn, cloves, sugar, cilantro and fish sauce.

Add oxtail, bring to boil and reduce to simmer on medium-low until tender (30-45 mins).  Remove oxtail.  I save this oxtail to snack on another time with sauteed bok choy, or I'll use it in my bun bo hue soup another day.

Add chicken (breast side down to prevent drying).  Bring back to boil, then reduce to medium-low and let simmer until chicken is cooked through (40-60 mins depending on size of chicken).  Remove and slice or peel into pieces.

** Throughout the cooking process, skim off the foam and fat that floats to the top.  It's important to keep the broth clear! **

Discard onion, ginger, cilantro and strain broth through sieve into container to get beautiful clear, yet flavorful broth! My MIL loves a little soft onion in her soup, so you can save this if you'd like.

While chicken is cooking, in a separate pot bring water to boil and cook pho noodles until done. Drain and rinse with cold water to remove starch and prevent the noodles from becoming a huge sticky mess. Set aside.
Combine sliced onion, cilantro leaves, green onion, some lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix and let sit and be merry. Set aside.

To serve, add noodles to the bottom of a large bowl, add sliced chicken and then the garnish.  Ladle on hot broth and serve!

Everyone you serve this to will love you forever.  At least until they're done with their bowl of pho and want seconds.


1 comment:

  1. So yum! You are making my mouth drool! I am a big fan of the chicken in my pho, too! I love how easy to make and inexpensive this dish is.

    Bon Bo Hue, I always hear a friend talk about this dish, but sadly, have yet to try it. I shall try this dish the next time I am at a Vietnamese restaurant.