My recipe is an easy break down of how to make Chicken Pho (Pho Ga). It's cheaper because for same price of a bowl at a restaurant, you can make 4-6 servings with no MSG and tastes better!
Begin by bringing a pot of water, filled all but 1/4 to the top, to boil on Medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, grill your aromatics. (I was lazy so I just used my burners on my stove) Be sure to turn every few seconds as it will burn easily. Just want to char the outside to brighten the flavors.
Do this with the onion as well.
And lastly, toast up the cinnamon stick. Smell how fragrant they are after a quick toast? Mmmmmmm...
Now peel ginger and cut into thirds.
Now cut both ends of the onion and peel away the top layers of the onion. Stud the onion with about 7-10 cloves. They just stick right in.
The other aromatics don't need to be toasted. The star anise and the cinnamon is what gives the broth that bonafide pho flavor. Daikon and Bay Leaves are optional.
Once your water is boiling, add your chicken.
I used 3 leg quarters(that's what I had on hand). A whole chicken works well too. Or even bone-in split chicken breasts. The bones add flavor so don't use only boneless chicken.
After a few minutes of the chicken boiling, a nasty scum/foam/fat will form. You will continue boiling hard for about 30 min.
Scoop this out from time to time.
Yuck! But I'm showing you so you don't freak out when you make your pho for the first time. Plus by removing this, you lower some fat content.
Another trick to making this broth lean and removing more fat is to put the finished broth in the fridge, and after a few hours, the fat will harden at the top. Just use a spoon and scoop it all out.
After a good 30 minutes then bring down to a slow boil, just above simmering for the next hour. This will draw the flavors of the aromatics out nicely. Keep skimming the foams/fats along the way.
Time to add seasonings when no more scums surface and broth is lightly bubbling. I love using mushroom seasoning. Add 3/4 cup to start...always taste then adjust. If too salty, add more water. Taste!!
This is the brand I like.(In the spice section of your local Asian market) It's a replacement to using bouillon cube, salt and msg. You won't need to add any salt to your broth.
I also add 1/4 cup fish sauce.
Add some sugar to sweeten and balance the savory flavors. Start by using 2/3 cup and taste and adjust.
Meanwhile, soak your pho noodles in water. This step makes it much quicker to get the right texture noodle. I prefer the kind in the refrigerated section instead of the dry packaged. Soak for 30 min.
Get the fresh herbs ready. Rinse and pat dry your herbs. You can add bean sprouts too...but I'm not a fan of them.
Prepare them how you like and place in containers for easy storage in fridge. Herbs always add that 'fresh' finish to your soup bowl.
After a total of about an hour and a half, your broth will be ready! I usually like to simmer a total of 2.5 hours on medium low. Remove all aromatics and discard. Remove chicken and let cool.
Once cooled, remove the chicken meat off the bones and set in a container.
Meanwhile, this is optional, sauté some shrimp with light sprinkle of salt and pepper (1-2 min). My guy loves Seafood pho at the restaurant so that's why I add shrimp. Surprisingly it goes quite well!
In a small pot, bring water (about 3cups) to boil and add the soaked noodles. Only let them cook for 30-45 seconds. Using a strainer, pull them out and into your big soup bowl.
Because they've been soaking, they are perfectly cooked! Slightly chewy but not mushy or undercooked...that's the worst!
Time to add everything in! Yep there's a thai pepper on the right. Be careful they are very spicy. (This is my bowl and I didn't have any chicken but this is when you will add the chicken meat).
Put a small mesh strainer over your bowl...(optional step if you want that clear broth)
Start ladling in your soupy goodness! (That's my guys hand...not mine! I don't have man hands ;) btw...tomorrow your pho will taste even better after the broth has really had time to become infused.
Voila! I also added fried garlic, fried shallots, sriracha. Some add hoisin for extra sweetness. Some add sugar, vinegar, fish sauce, chili oil. Etc. It's your bowl of Pho, you can add what you want.
Hope you enjoyed! Follow for future recipes and ideas :)