Vietnamese dish: Pho Ga

March 3, 2008 5:13:33 PM PST
Pho is a traditional dish of Vietnam. Our own Nick Smith had the chance to try the rich, seasoned soup and meet a Bay Area chef who is adding a twist to the "Pho craze."

Web info:

Vietnamese Pho: Pho is the traditional and national soup of Vietnam. Our Vietnamese soup is made from a rich broth simmered for hours and hours. We simmer our pho with Kobe beef bone or free-range chicken in alkalinized water, garnished with slices of meat, fresh herbs, served with our own house-made rice noodles. We even have a vegan pho! All by itself, a well balanced, nourishing, and satisfying meal.

Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Makes 6-8 servings

    1 3-pound organic chicken, cleaned
    1 burnt onion
    1 burnt ginger (medium-sized whole root)
    1 oz. star anise
    1 oz. cinnamon
    1 teaspoon whole white peppercorn
    1 tablespoon salt
    2 package of fresh rice noodles (about 1 lb. per package)
    8 qt. water

    Garnish Accompaniments:
    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    ¼ julienne rau ram , optional
    1 bunch coriander sprigs sliced
    1 bunch scallions sliced
    2 cup bean sprouts
    2 red chili peppers, sliced
    6 lime or lemon wedges
    Fish sauce

    Rau ram and fresh rice noodles can be found in Asian specialty stores and many high-end grocery stores. The fresh rice noodles come in 1 to 1 ½ pound packages and must be refrigerated.


    1. Put both of the ginger and onion directly over a high electric burner or low gas burner and, using tongs, turn them every minute or so to char them on all sides. Rinse under water to remove the ash.

    2. In a large soup pot, with 8 qt. water, bring to a boil over the high heat and add the salt and whole chicken, burned onion, burned ginger, star anise, cinnamon, and peppercorn, when it boils again, skimming the surface, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low and simmer until to 1 hour.

    3. After about 1 hr., check the chicken for doneness. When it is cooked through and the juices run clear from the thigh, remove it to a bowl and run over the cold water, let cool slightly, then remove the skin and discard. Remove all the meat from the bones and put the bone back to the broth and simmer again about another ½ hr. For the meat cut into strips about 2 inch pieces.

    4. Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and skim thoroughly. Drain the rice noodles. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat.

    5. To serve, take a handful of rice noodles and small amount of bean sprouts put them in a strainer that will fit into the saucepan of boiling water. Dip the strainer with the noodles in it into the boiling water and with chopsticks swirl them around; cook until opaque and slightly done, about 20 seconds. Shake the noodles dry and turn them into the soup bowl.

    Arrange the chicken on top. With a ladle, fill the bowls full with broth. Garnish with coriander and scallion, rau ram (optional). Bring the accompaniments to the table on a small plate, and a small bowl of fish sauce. Allow each person to garnish the soup as desired.