Saturday, January 7, 2012

Vietnamese Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

This month, I'm taking part in my very first Crazy Cooking Challenge over at Mom's Crazy Cooking!  The first time I saw this challenge on another blog, I got super excited and couldn't wait to join in the fun.  But I can't lie, when I received my first email with this month's theme, I was more than a little disappointed.  Chicken Noodle Soup.  I've never been a fan, not even when I'm sick.  Every time I get a cold, my mama emails me her chicken noodle soup recipe and tells me to make up a batch and I'll feel better super quickly, but I just can't bring myself to do it.  I thought that this month would be the push I needed.  But then I read the rules and found out that the recipe I tried had to come from another blog, and, sadly, Mama doesn't have one.  I was off the hook.  I really just didn't want to try a dish I'm still not convinced I'll ever like.  I was all set to email Tina and tell her I couldn't participate this month.  But...  Then I was craving my favorite noodle bowl from a little Vietnamese take-out place near our home.  My husband went to get us some food, and they were closed!  And that set the wheels in motion.  I could Google the dish and try that!  It's not traditional chicken noodle soup, but it has chicken, it has noodles, and it's soup.  I found this recipe (with a few of my own tweaks, as written below) over at My Food Geek and was set.  I was following all of Tina's rules.  Now just to make the dish...

1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons ground coriander
4 whole cloves
1 tablespoon anise seed
2 quarts chicken stock
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion
1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 pound dried rice noodles

Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Spicy garlic-chili sauce
Sweet red chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
You might also incorporate bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, or other ingredients of your choosing.

Combine all the pho ingredients, except rice noodles, in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer 20 minutes, skimming the surface every five minutes. 

Remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with two forks, set aside. 

Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Add the dried noodles to the broth, raise the heat, and cook until noodles are done. 

Using tongs, divide the noodles between four shallow bowls (pasta "plates" work well). Divide the chicken over the noodles. Finally, ladle the broth over the noodles and chicken.

Top the pho with the accompaniments of your choice. I drizzled each of our pho bowls with garlic-chili, red chili, and hoisin sauces, topped with sliced fresh red onion, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges, which we squeezed at the table. Of course, I placed small bowls of the accompaniments on the table so we could season to our own tastes as well!

This was a fabulously light meal, yet comforting on a winter night!  My husband loved it and asked for a repeat performance!  And the bonus?  This pho conforms to the South Beach Diet, which we loosely follow!!



  1. I thought there would be a ton of phos in this line up, but yours is one of only a couple. And it looks amazing. Glad you were able to participate after all.

  2. This looks absolutely gorgeous - I love all the fresh accompaniments you've got with it.

  3. I WILL be making this soup, it looks and sounds amazing!

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Crazy Cooking Challenge entry: Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

    Cook Lisa Cook

  4. Wow, huge flavors in your ingredient list!! I hope you'll stop by to visit my CCC post for Southwestern Chicken Noodle Soup. Take care!


  5. I am looking forward to trying this. It looks and sounds delicious!

  6. So glad you stuck with us! (and I hope you enjoy next months challenge Chocolate Cake) :-)

    I made Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup! #1 in the linky party, come by and visit if you get the chance!

    Thanks again for participating in my challenge!

  7. This is brilliant! My husband and I love Vietnamese soups, and a pho is on my list of soups to make. This looks so good, can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing with Sunday Night Soup Night!

  8. Love this....I'm not a fan of regular chicken soup either family does like it so I make it upon occasion. We'll definitely try this one!