Pho Ga is a Vietnamese soup made with chicken. The beef version is called Pho Bo.
One of our favourite lunches especially when travelling is a bowl of Oriental soup. You get a hot broth, some noodle a bit of protein and some green vegetables. To make your meal healthier you could order a side of a Chinese steam vegetables like Kailan or Bok Choy or Choy Sum. This is nourishing, filling enough to keep you going till dinner and light enough for you to have dinner.
After some trial and error we have started making the Pho Ga at home. You don't really get stewing beef in India so making the Pho Bo is not really much fun. Its really quite easy. And to make life even simple for you I am giving you the recipe.
When assembling remember that the heavier vegetables go on the bottom of the bowl and the lighter on top.
For upto 3 large bowls
For the stock
1 Large onion peeled and halved
1 thumb sized piece of ginger unpeeled
3-4 star anise lightly crushed
1 3 inch piece of cinnamon
3-4 whole cloves lightly crushed
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns lightly crushed
Fish sauce to taste about 2 tablespoon
Light Soy sauce to taste
Salt to taste
For the Soup
Boneless skinless chicken breast [about ½ breast per person]
Chinese egg noodles cooked in accordance with maker’s instructions and drained
Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage or Lettuce
A few leaves of Basil
A few leaves of Coriander
Onion very thinly sliced or spring onion sliced [green or white part]
Red chilli thinly sliced
Roast onions and ginger directly on rack of a gas burner over high heat, turning with tongs, until blistered and blackened, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool. When cool enough to handle, rinse and rub under cold running water to remove any blackened pieces (some areas will remain browned). Don't be too fussy about this.
While onions and ginger roast, add water to pot [about 500 mls per bowl of soup] and add star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns, onions, and ginger. Add normal chicken stock/bullion powder in accordance with water in the ratio as per manufacturer’s instructions. Simmer, uncovered, about 20 mins.
Now add the chicken breast whole and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Do not boil or stock will get cloudy. Turn off heat and let the stock cool with the chicken in the stock.
When cool remove breast and place on cutting board.
Sieve/strain soup and put into clean pot. The more you strain it, preferably thru a muslin the clearer the broth will get. Bring to boil and add the Fish Sauce, Soy and salt if necessary and check seasoning. Keep on heat till service.
Slice chicken breast thinly.
In a deep bowl line bottom with the Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage or Lettuce. Place the cooked noodles on top. Place the sliced chicken breast on top of the noodles.
Pour hot soup into bowl. The soup will cook the vegetables.
Place the various garnish on top. Squeeze the lime and eat.