A shortcut twist on one of the most popular Vietnamese dishes: pho ga. Rice noodles in a warm, rich chicken broth flavored with fragrant aromatics, warm spices, and fresh herbs. This recipe comes together in about 40 minutes or less and makes 4 generous bowls.
It all started last night when I made a quick dinner out of the kimchi gyoza we had stored in the freezer. We spooned a little too much chili oil on each dumpling. Deliciously spicy in the moment, but even spicier in our tummies the next morning (and not in a delicious way). Enter the idea for pho ga. The perfect remedy for a bellyache.
Look, I'm a lazy cook. If there's a way to MacGyver a recipe without compromising flavor, I'll find it. And this pho ga recipe is a perfect example. No cutting up a whole chicken. No simmering for 3 hours. No fuss. Is it the most traditional and authentic pho recipe? No. Is it delicious? YES.
1 onion, halved
1 knob ginger (about 2 inches long), cut in half lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, smashed
8 cups chicken stock* (I had homemade stock from rotisserie chicken)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 whole cloves
4 star anise pods
1 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 tsp granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/2 lb chicken breast or chicken thigh, cut into 1 inch strips. Raw or leftover chicken is fine!
8 oz rice noodles, prepared to package instructions
Cilantro, stems cut and discarded
Scallions (green and whites), chopped
Sriracha, to taste
Hoisin, to taste
*At the risk of sounding boujie: use high quality chicken stock if possible. This is a case where homemade vs. store-bought makes a difference. Believe me, I've tried it both ways. And if you use chicken broth vs. chicken stock, cut back on the salt. Chicken broth has significantly more salt than stock does, so you will need to adjust accordingly.
Char the onion and the ginger. In a heavy bottomed pot, heat about a tablespoon of oil on high heat. Place the onion and ginger (flat side down) and don't disturb them for about 2 minutes, or until the bottoms are blackened. Flip them over and char the other side for an additional two minutes.
Start the broth. Pour in the stock, garlic, fish sauce, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, and sugar. Bring to a boil, then lower to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 25 minutes partially covered to meld the spices into the broth. Taste, and add salt as needed. Keep in mind the broth should be on the salty side; the noodles will mellow it out in the end.
While the broth is simmering, prepare the rice noodles to package instructions.
Strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer and return to the pot. Bring back to a simmer.
Add in the chicken. If using uncooked chicken, gently simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through. If using chicken leftovers, simmer for a couple minutes until heated through. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Bring the broth back to a boil.
Place the cooked rice noodles, chicken, green onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Ladle in the broth and serve immediately. Serve with limes, hoisin, and sriracha.
Slurps and sincerities,