Oh My Pho Ga – Chicken Pho Noodle Soup Recipe

21 Jan

If you’re like us, snow days are pho days. Except today, I had zero interest in going out in to sub-arctic temperatures and a swirling snow storm. So after waking up to find out OPM graciously closed the government I ran out to the grocery store to pick up a few things.

The last time didn’t go so well, and I heard somewhere (or just made it up) that Pho Ga, Chicken Pho, is easier. A language lesson for you today – my husband corrected me this morning on my pronunciation of ga.

Me: Anh, I’m going to make Pho Ga (fuh gah) today for lunch!

Him: Great! But it’s not Ga like Lady Gaga. You have to drag and drop the “g”. 

Me: Oh, ok. But I like the sound of Pho Gaga

I have no idea how to type that “g” pronunciation except to explain it as if you’re taking a big theatrical “gulp” in the back of your thought. Know what I mean? Do that on the front, but not like you’re on stage.

Ok, now that we’ve cleared that up. Here’s the recipe, which thankfully turned out really really nom. After lunch, Anh said, “Maybe you should just make Pho Ga and then add beef at the end, would you even notice the difference?” Resounding endorsement!

Bowl of Pho Ga chicken noodle soup with fresh Thai Basil, bean sprouts, onions and lime

I took some shortcuts, because none of my soups using just the bones have ever turned out particularly flavorful. If you want to be super chef, go for it! The liquid amounts will be the same, but just dial back the seasoning a bit and taste/adjust as you go.

Pho Ga – Chicken Pho Recipe

  • Whole Chicken
  • 2 onions + 1 more for garnish
  • 4″ piece ginger
  • 48 oz chicken broth + 3 qts water (you need a total 4 qts of liquid, so feel free to go all chicken broth or any ratio, this is just what I had)
  • 4 tbl fish sauce
  • 3″ chunk rock sugar + more sugar to taste
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbl coriander powder (or 2 tbl coriander seeds toasted)
  • 3 tbl mushroom seasoning (to taste)
  • 1″ bundle (stems) cilantro
  • 3 cubes Pho Ga seasoning

To assemble the bowls:

  • Thai Basil, Lime quartered, Bean Sprouts, Jalapeno
  • Hanh Dam (nahn yahm) – Vinegared Onions
  • Sriracha + Hoisin Sauces
  • Green onions and cilantro chopped
  • Banh Pho noodles

Ginger, rock sugar, fish sauce, star anise, cloves, and cilantro ingredients for chicken soup

You probably have most of this stuff in your pantry and refrigerator, which makes this feel good soup awesome for any day. Especially if you’re taking short cuts like me.

Char the ginger and two onions directly on your gas or electric stove. Be careful as the onion skin starts to burn and make sure it doesn’t actually start a fire anywhere. Keep the heat on medium low and keep an eye on them, turning fairly often. Once your kitchen starts to smell good enough to eat, they’re probably finished.

Charred onions and ginger

While you’re charring these guys, work on the chicken.

Rinse the chicken carcass and rub down with salt, and rinse again thoroughly. Cut off the wings and legs and remove any extra skin that pulls away. I removed the breast meet, leaving the carcass exposed and cut in to the major bones of all the pieces to allow the marrow to seep out into the broth.

Parboil the chicken meat and bones for a couple of minutes to release the gunk. Rinse thoroughly and clean the pot.

Set aside to cool, and then run the onions under water removing most of the skin. I like to leave a little of the charred bits for depth of flavor. Peel the ginger with the back of a spoon and cut in half, bruising the fibrous meat to release more of the flavor.

Now you’re ready to make the broth.

Add the chicken broth and water to the cleaned stockpot and return the chicken parts and pieces. Add the charred onion, ginger, and all other ingredients but start with less than the full amounts of extra sugar, mushroom seasoning, and Pho Ga seasoning cubes listed above. Everyone likes different flavors, so let them develop and taste.

Here are those cubes, btw:

Pho Ga Chicken soup seasoning cubes

Bring to a good simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken meat parts to a shallow bowl or plate and cover with plastic wrap to cool. Leave the bones in the broth to continue cooking as they’ll release more flavor.

Continue cooking the broth for another hour or so. You may not even need this if you’re using chicken broth as you may not have any flavor to release if you’re not using bones.

Make the vinegared onions if you like the tangy bite. I use 2 parts white vinegar to 1 part water + teaspoon increments of white sugar. Soak thinly sliced onions in the mixture for at least 30 minutes.

About 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, soak the pho noodles in water until they’re flexible and opaque. Wash your herbs, sprouts, and other items you like to eat with your pho and get them on the table.

Bring a pot of water to boil, and get everything set to assemble the bowls. Shred the chicken and set out the chopped green onions and cilantro to make up the bowls.

Chopped onions and cilantro, shredded chicken, and pho noodles.

Dunk a handful of the softened noodles into the boiling water for 15ish seconds – a wire or mesh spoon/ladle works well here – and put in an empty bowl like so:

Rice noodles topped with shredded chicken, cilantro, and green onions

Ladle steaming spoonfuls of piping hot broth and savor every last slurp. I can’t tell you how nice it is to really crank up the heat on the broth and eat this soup piping hot. Warm pho doesn’t do it for me. It’s gotta be hot.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! If you’re a small household like us, you’ll have broth to spare. This kind of thing freezes well, so we’re looking forward to easy dinners in the future!

A bowl of Pho Ga chicken noodle soup



4 Responses to “Oh My Pho Ga – Chicken Pho Noodle Soup Recipe”

  1. Linda April 4, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    Hi there!!

    I randomly stumbled upon your blog when I was googling a recipe for bun rieu cua. I really like your blog, and you have become my inspiration to cook more Vietnamese food!! I feel kinda ashamed since I am Vietnamese and only have started to learn how to cook Vietnamese dishes till a few years ago. (I knew I should have paid attention to my mom while she was cooking when I was younger!)


    • amandare June 2, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      Hi Linda – You are too kind! Especially since I’ve been in a bit of a blogging drought. What have you been preparing since you got started (again)? It’s never too late to learn, I suppose 🙂

  2. Chi October 6, 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Instead of those pho ga cubes, have you come across the Quoc Viet containers?! They are wayyyyyyyyyyyy better than those! Give it a try!

    • amandare October 6, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Not that I know of, but I will definitely look next time I’m at the store! Thanks for the tip – will keep you posted 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Nuôi Dạy Con là trách nhiệm và niềm vui của cha me

Portico PR

Present Better

Patrons of the Pit

Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

The High Heel Gourmet

Authentic Thai Dishes Reimagined for the American Palate

%d bloggers like this: