When talking about Vietnamese Pho, you may have tried Pho bo – the beef version of the noodle soup. However, whenever there was a war, beef was scarce – giving life to chicken noodle soup, and we call it Pho ga. So how to cook pho ga is a question we recently received from a family touring the Heart & Soul of Hanoi Old Quarter with us, here goes the recipe that will help you cook Pho ga at home.
INGREDIENTS FOR FOUR
- 3 lb (1,5kg) chicken legs
- 4 in ginger pieces
- 1 cilantro bunch
- 2 shallots
- 1 scallion bunch
- 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
- 2 star anises
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 lb (1kg) dried or fresh pho noodles
- 1 white onion
- 2 chili peppers
- 2 limes, quartered
- Thinly sliced lime leaves
Short cut: use chicken broth to save about 30 minutes. Simply roast the shallots, coriander seeds, star anise, and garlic cloves before adding to the broth. Char the ginger, smash it, and add to the broth.
- Add the chicken legs in a large stock pot and cover with water. Boil over high heat for 5 minutes. Drain and wash the chicken legs. Clean the pot. Place the chicken legs back in the pot and add 6 quarts of water. Turn to medium heat.
- Slice the ginger into large thick pieces and smash the ginger before adding to the pot. Add cilantro stems but keep the leaves and some stems aside for garnish later. Add some stems to the broth. Slice the 2 shallots in half lengthwise. Add to the broth.
- Add the 2 star anises, 1 tbsp of coriander seeds, and 2 peeled garlic cloves. Continue to let the broth stew for 1 hour on medium heat.
- Chop the scallions. Thinly slice the with onion and fresh chili. Chop the remaining cilantro. Mix these three together evenly and set aside as a garnishing plate.
- After 1 hour, remove the chicken legs from the pot. Remove the meat from the bone. Wash under ice cold water. Add the chicken bones back to the pot and continue to simmer for another hour.
- Cook the pho noodles according to package if you bought the dry version from the shop, but if you got the fresh noodle is better. Set aside.
- After 1 hour, strain the broth to discard the solids. Taste and add fish sauce if needed. Continue to simmer the broth while you prepare the serving bowls.
- Arrange the noodles, sliced chicken meat, cilantro/scallions/onions and mix in your bowls.
- Add the sliced chili, thinly slice lime leaves, limes, and remaining herbs on a platter. Add more broth.
Read also where to eat the best pho ga in Hanoi.