How to make phở gà

Patrick Patrick

David commented:

post the recipe for Pho Ga.. Making me hungry too.

I really don’t have a recipe per se, but I can give you a rundown on how I put the meal together. Just keep in mind that this is an Irishman’s interpretation of a Vietnamese recipe.

Also, if you have never had phở gà in a restaurant it is almost impossible to explain the taste. It’s chicken soup, but it’s chicken soup laced with anise and cloves and fish sauce and . . . well, it’s just good.

phở gà

  • 1 small whole fresh chicken
  • 1 yellow onion:
  • ground cloves
  • Star anise
  • Anise seed
  • Ground cardamom
  • Ground cumin
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ground black pepper
  • Chicken stock or bullion
  • Fennel seed
  • Fish sauce
  • Fresh Basil
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Rice noodles
  • Lime wedges

Start out by dropping the whole chicken in a pot of water on the stove. Make sure to add in the contents of the giblet package (trust me). Add in a couple of chunks of yellow onion and some chicken stock or a couple of teaspoons of bullion – and now we get to the tricky part where we add in the spices. Every batch of phở is different so you need to be ready to adjust the amounts of the spices to your own taste. Start with just a pinch of each and pair of star anise pods and keep everything on hand so you can add more after the chicken is cooked.

Let the chicken boil until it is thoroughly cooked. I like to leave it on the stove until it starts to fall off the bone.

Once the chicken is cooked, pull it out of the water and put it aside to cool. Now we come to my favorite part of the process. Keep the cooking water on the burner and start adding spices until you get the desired taste.

Pick the meat from the cooled chicken and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  You can add the bones back into the pot.

Let the pot of broth simmer for a few hours. Adjust the spices until you are happy with the taste (when you think about it, making phở gà is a lot like making music) then strain the broth into a clean pot and put back on the stove. You want the broth piping hot. Discard the bones, seeds, bits of onion and whatever else is left in the sieve.

Serve the broth in a good sized bowl with cooked rice noodles. Give each guest a plate with slices of the cold chicken (it will warm up once you add it to the hot broth) along with fresh basil, chopped green onion, bean sprouts and lime wedges. Some folks like to add hot peppers into the mix.

You can substitute ingredients to suit your taste – or fit whatever is in the kitchen. For example, the batch of phở gà I made this morning only used a pair of chicken breasts instead of a whole bird, and we were out of limes so I used lemon wedges instead.