Pho Ga is one of the culinary gems of Vietnamese cuisine, available within a mile radius of almost every person in the community of Little Saigon, a Vietnamese enclave located in Orange County, California. Although the flavors are complex, the technique is simple, and the result is delectable.
- "Pho" noodles*
- 1 small to medium chicken (whole)
- 12 cups chicken broth
- 3-4 slices of fresh ginger (whole)
- 1 medium brown onion, peeled (whole)
- 1 tbsp of salt or more (to taste)
- Fish sauce, to taste*
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- 3 whole star anise*
- 1-2 dried cardamom pods*
- 1/2 stick cinnamon
- 3 whole cloves
- Diced cilantro and green onion
- A few fresh basil leaves, torn
- Fresh bean sprouts
- Thinly sliced brown or white onion (several pieces per serving)
- Hoisin Sauce (1 tsp per serving, or to taste)*
- Lime (squeezed into broth before eating)
- Jalapeños, serranos, or other chilli peppers
- Sriracha or similar chilli sauce
- Additional fish sauce
Note: All ingredients, particularly those marked with asterisks, can be found in Asian markets and some large supermarkets
- Combine ingredients for seasoning pouch in a small strainer or a pouch made from cheesecloth and twine.
- In a large stock pot, boil broth ingredients together with seasoning pouch until the chicken is thoroughly cooked
- Remove the chicken and strain broth back into the pot for additional simmering. Once the chicken is cool, pull apart the meat into bite sized pieces and discard bones.
- In a separate pot, boil the "Pho" noodles in sufficient water. Stop when they're no longer chewy (basically the way you'd boil spaghetti). Make sure you don't overdo it or the noodles will fall apart and you'll end up with porridge. When done, pour the noodles into a colander and rinse them with lukewarm water. Then, leave them to drain.
- Once the noodles have drained, add them to a bowl. Combine the chicken, "finishing touches" (see above), and enough broth to cover the noodles. Enjoy with fork (chopsticks if you want the authentic experience) and a spoon.