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Pho Ga Recipe

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Summer is here and it’s finally NOT cold in the Bay Area… Still, after being away and overseas for 7 months, you could say I’ve been missing “home cooking”, so irregardless of the weather cooperating (or not), I’m in the mood for some HOT SOUP!

For starters, here’s what an order of pho might look like overseas… The following pic was taken at a pho restaurant out in Manila…

It was “aite” but left me craving/wanting/desiring something… more…

Luckily, this time around I’ve got access to a kitchen, so it’s time to indulge in a time-tested/old school favorite of mine:

Chicken Pho (Pho Ga).

I wouldn’t necessarily call pho a “health food” but if you make it yourself at home, you can make it infinitely healthier (and way less salty) than what you’ll typically find at restaurants…

With that said, I’m NOT a cook… and I ain’t a foodie either… So chill out guys, this isn’t a “holy grail” pho recipe I’m gonna be presenting to you… It’s nothing more than Amateur Hour… but it works for me.

Anyway…

Here we go!

The ingredients list (makes 5-6 medium bowl servings):

For Stock:

  • 3-4 pieces Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 3-4 pieces Pork Bones/Ribs
  • 2 Onions (white and/or yellow)
  • 1 piece Ginger
  • Fish Sauce (2-3 tablespoons; for “body”, this ingredient is essential to pho soup and cannot be omitted in my own humble opinion)
  • Rock Sugar (for sweetness; up to you)
  • Salt (for saltiness; up to you)
  • Cooking Oil (optional)

For the bowl (eating):

  • 3-4 pieces Chicken Leg Quarters
  • 1 Onion (white)
  • 1 package Pho Noodles (1 lb/16 oz)
  • Basil
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Black Pepper
  • Chili Sauce (e.g., Sriracha or “Rooster Sauce”; optional; I just used what I had available)
  • Hoisin Sauce (very popular dipping sauce; I tend to NOT use it for Pho Ga)

I’m NOT into MSG and all that artificial jazz, so I just try and keep things as “simple” as possible…

Traditionally, you’re supposed to “char” the onions and ginger to release the aroma…

But I’m trying my best to limit the amount of “char” in my diet, so I typically elect to use a toaster oven, instead… for about 30 minutes.

And then scrape off/remove any burnt pieces… before adding the onion and ginger pieces into the pot.

For the stock, you can experiment and figure out what meat you prefer most to use… For Pho Ga, I used the following pork bones this time around… Spare ribs work well.

Instead of using just chicken bones, I toss in the entire leg quarter pieces into the pot (I don’t eat the meat along with the pho, but I save it for later use; for example, you can make chicken/pork floss out of it)… You can keep on the skin for added flavor, or remove it if you want a “cleaner” soup… It’s all up to you, really…

First pass, just boil with tap water to “clean” all the meat pieces…

Empty the pot and rinse off each individual piece, one-by-one, by hand… to try and remove any “scum”…

Something like that…

Back into the pot, now using filtered (drinking) water… Once the water reaches a boil, add in the “aromatic” onions and ginger pieces…

Next, add the pork and chicken pieces… Cook for about 2 hours (adjusting from “high” heat to “medium/low” heat)…

Add the: fish sauce + salt + rock sugar together about 1.5 hours later (in other words, when there’s only 30 minutes of cooking time remaining)…

Next, cook the other chicken leg quarter pieces (for eating, not stock) in a separate pot… Takes about 30 minutes to fully cook through (might need to experiment with heat levels to find the right mix)…

Once cooked, remove from pot, and prepare to place the chicken pieces into an “ice bath” (cold water will also do the trick, but room temperature water is NOT cold enough to neutralize the heat)…

Let it cool down for a few minutes… This “technique” is a most useful step that will help prevent the meat pieces from “aging”… The “ice bath” makes sure that everything will be super moist and tasty once the soup is ready to go…

Use hands and separate into smaller meat pieces. Set aside… You can also dice up a green onion and prepare the basil at this time…

Time to ready the rice noodles… Many brands you can use, here’s another one that’s pretty good…

Into a new pot, high heat…

Add some salt + oil (optional) and stir a few times… I like HARD/FIRM noodles, so I only stir things for about 30 seconds before I’m done…

Cool off the noodles, by rinsing away the heat…

Chop up some cilantro and a white onion as well… Start preparing the bowls…

Now, add in alongside the rice noodles: green onions, white onions (or you can cook this, if preferred; personally, I like the flavor of “raw” onions), cilantro, bean sprouts, basil, chili sauce…

And finally the soup (once it’s ready)!

Top off with black pepper (if desired)…

 

Bon Appétit!

 

 

Again and again!

 

Thanks for reading! If you get a chance to try out this recipe, I really hope you enjoy it! Pho Ga has been my go-to dish/meal for many years now… I finally learned how to make it on my own, so that’s a pretty cool feeling, for sure.

 

Fight On!

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