Pho Ga (Chicken Soup)
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, and growing up this was a staple in our home. A traditional breakfast throughout Asia soup was the perfect way to start our day. I have always loved how this dish made me feel whole again. For me, this is the epitome of comfort food.
The following recipe was taught to me as a young adult by my mother. I am pretty proud that over time, my father (the biggest critic of them all) said that my Pho was better than mother's. I hope you enjoy this recipy as we have in our family.
1/2 - Whole chicken (I like roasting chickens) approximately 3 lbs
3tbsp Fish sauce
1 small hand of ginger, roasted and washed
1 whole onion, roasted and washed
3tsp whole cloves
2-3 florettes of star anise
4-5 sticks of dried galangal or licorice root (optional)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Bring pot of water to a boil (5 quarts), add all ingredients including chicken. It is important to allow the water to come to a boil before adding any ingredients. Simmer 40minutes – 1 hour. Skim the scum as it forms about every 15minutes. (TIP: If you are too lazy for this step, wait until after your remove all of the ingredients and allow to cool in the refridgerator before skimming. This will allow the fat to solidify.) Remove all ingredients once the chicken is cooked. Skim any remaining fat and strain the broth through a cheese cloth or mesh strainer.
While the broth is cooking soak flat rice noodles in water until the noodles are soft at least an hour. If you are short on time, soak in warm water.
For the toppings
Coarsely chop a handful of cilantro. Chop green onions, chopping the white bulb thinner than the green leaves. Slice onions paper thin. When cool, separate chicken meat from bones and slice.
Assemble your bowl
When ready to eat, bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the soft noodles 30 seconds to 1 minute until tender. Place cooked noodle on the bottom of your bowl, place sliced chicken on top of your noodle, garnish with cilantro, green onion and sliced white onions. Cover with boiling broth and serve.
Serve with, thai basil, bean sprouts and lime wedges. For a little spice, serve with Siracha.