Phở Gà - Chicken Noodle Soup

By Helen Le Published: April 27, 2013

  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 1 hr 10 mins
  • Ready In: 1 hr 20 mins

It is common to see many home cooks use both beef and chicken in the same pot of Pho. However, to the belief of many Northern Vietnamese, Pho Bo and Pho Ga should be two different variations of the dish. In beef version, we use more spices like star anise, black cardamom and cinnamon to counteract the strong beef smell. In chicken version, on the other hand, we use more bulbs and roots like shallots ginger and coriander roots to bring extra fresh and sweet aroma to the soup. This chicken version of Pho takes a lot less time to cook than the beef version, but it still tastes amazing.

  • Sprinkle some salt over the chicken and rub on the skin to remove some bad poultry smell. Rinse well under running water and stuff 1 spring onion and 2 slices of ginger into its cavity. This will enhance the flavor of the meat as it cooks.
  • Add the chicken into a pot filled with 4 liters of water together with 1 tbsp of salt, 1 tsp chicken stock and 1 peeled onion (optional: plus 1 tsp sugar/rock sugar)
  • Bring to a boil and constantly skim off the foam as soon as it rises to the top. When it boils, lower the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is tender. It might take 30-60 minutes depending on the kind of chicken you use.
  • To create the PHO aroma, grill all ingredients for PHO aroma directly on the stove (openflame) rinse under warm water and scrape of the charred bits. (If you use coriander seeds, toast them quickly in a pan to bring out the aroma). Insert these items into large tea bags (or wrap securely in a piece of cheese cloth) and add to the soup pot. To achieve best aroma in your Pho bowl, only add these aroma elements to the soup pot 30 minutes before serving, and not right from the beginning. Season to your taste with salt, sugar, chicken stock.
  • Cook noodle following package instructions. Then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and remove the outside starch. AND rinse again under hot water. This helps the noodles to get dried faster (hot water evaporates quicker) and become more fluffy (rather than stick to each other and turn lumpy).
  • When piercing through the chicken with a chopstick and seeing no pink water coming out, it's cooked. Remove from the soup pot and rinse well under cold water to prevent the skin from darkening. Let cool and debone. Slice the meat into bite-sized pieces or shred roughly with your fingers. Return the bones to the soup pot. (Try not to leave any meat on the bones as it may make the soup less clear.)
  • In a large serving bowl, place a handful of noodle to fill one third of the bowl. (You can quickly blanch the noodle before serving to make it warm). Top up with chicken, lime leaves threads, thinly sliced onion, and chopped spring onion. Blanch the onion stem in the soup pot and ladle the hot soup over the noodle. Garnish with more chopped spring onion/coriander to your wish.
  • Served with a lime wedge, some sawtooth herbs and sweet basils. Optional: fish sauce, blanched bean sprouts, Sriracha or hoisin sauce, pickled garlic chili etc.

Currently, you can order Helen’s cookbook on amazon or you can order items that Helen often uses in the kitchen.