Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)
By Periplus Editors, Vietnamese Cooking Made Easy: Simple, Flavorful and Quick Meals
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group.
Traditionally, this meal-in-a-bowl noodle soup is made with beef, but the Vietnamese have also perfected a lighter version using chicken. This soup is popular at any time of day or night, and is often enjoyed for breakfast in Vietnam.
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
10 oz (300 g) dried rice stick noodles or rice vermicelli
4 cups (7 oz/200 g) bean sprouts, seed coats and tails removed, blanched until cooked
1 onion, thinly sliced
Ground white pepper
1 bunch coriander leaves (cilantro), sliced
1 bunch basil or mint leaves
1 lime, cut into sections, to serve
2 finger-length chilies, deseeded and sliced, placed in a dipping bowl with soy sauce
10 cups (21/2 liters) chicken stock or 4 to 5 stock cubes dissolved in 10 cups (21/2 liters) water
1/2 fresh chicken (about 1 lb/500 g)
1 cinnamon stick
4 spring onions, cut into lengths
1 in (21/2 cm) fresh ginger root, peeled and bruised
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 Prepare the Broth first by bringing the chicken stock, chicken, cinnamon, spring onions, ginger, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat in a stockpot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, skimming off the foam and fat that float to the surface. Stir in the fish sauce and remove from the heat. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Strain the solids from the Broth using a fine sieve and keep the clear Broth warm over very low heat.
2 Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the dried noodles and blanch until soft, about 5 minutes for rice stick noodles or 2 minutes for rice vermicelli. Remove and rinse with cold water, then drain.
3 When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat along the grain into thin strips.
4 Place the noodles in individual serving bowls and top with the bean sprouts, shredded chicken and onion slices. Pour the hot Broth into each bowl, sprinkle with pepper and garnish with coriander (cilantro) and basil leaves. Serve hot with the lime and bowls of chilies and soy sauce on the side.