Although I was born in Vietnam and lived there for 9 1/2 years, I did not know about Pho until I came over to America in 2001! I know what you might say, is Pho not a well-known Vietnamese dish?! How could you not know about it?! Well, to be honest, my family is from Da Nang. And I don't know if it is because my mum just did not like pho or Da Nang did not have a lot of pho stalls at the time, but the only hot vermicelli noodle dishes that I had ever tried back in the motherland were Bún bò Huế (Hue Spicy Beef and Pork Noodle Soup) and Bún Chả Cá (Fish Cake Noodle Soup). Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I had a mega-sized bowl of pho for the 1st time. Guys, it was a magical moment. I seriously asked myself, how come I have never had this before?!?! The broth was deep, rich, and flavorful. It was a truly food-gasmic experience. Below is basically my rendition of what I think makes a great bowl of pho. If you have any suggestions, please comment down below and I will love to hear what you think about this recipe!
As always, everyone has preferences when it comes to spices. Always rely on your sense of smell and adjust the ingredients to your liking! Hope you enjoy this recipe!
Garnishes (never optional in my case):
1. Place the chopped onions and ginger directly on the cooking grate of a gas stove with a medium flame or in the oven lined with some foil. During the 15-20 minutes period, rotate the onions and ginger using some tongs so the skins on both sides will have the chance to char evenly. After they have softened and became fragrant, remove the onions and ginger from the stove top or oven and discard any flyaway onion skin.
2. Once the onions and ginger have cooled down, run the onion under warm water and rub off the charred skin. under warm running water, rubbing off the charred skin. Use a paring knife or vegetable peeler and remove the ginger skin. Cut the ginger in half and set the onions and ginger aside.
3. Take the chicken and salt it liberally. After 15 minutes, rinse it under cool water and cut off the wings. Remove any of the loose fat that is hanging from the chicken and chop the chicken in half or quarters. The reason why we do this is because we want the juices from the marrow to make the broth richer and more flavorful.
5. In order to get the nice and clear broth that you see in pho restaurants, the chicken parts (wings, neck, any bony parts that you could find from your butcher) must be rinsed and parboiled. Put them in a large stock pot and add just enough cold water to cover everything. Bring the stock pot to a boil over high heat and wait for it to boil for about afew minutes release the impurities. Once you see a lot of grey/brown bubbles foaming up at the top, carefully dump the water from the stock pot into the sink and put the chicken parts aside.
6. Clean the stock pot and return the chicken parts to the pot. Put the whole chicken that has been salted and rinsed into the pot and pour in enough water so that all of the poultry is completely covered. Bring the entire thing to a boil over high heat. Once it has started bubbling, lower the heat so that the stock gently simmers. Use a ladle or any sorts of spoons you have lying around to skim off any sort of scum that rises to the top.
7. Add the cooled onions, ginger, salt, pepper, rock sugar, coriander seeds, cloves, and cilantro into the stockpot and cook uncovered until the broth has come to a gentle boil. Lower the heat and gently simmers until the chicken is cooked.
8. Remove the chicken from the stockpot. Rinse it with cold water and set it aside. 9. In the mean time, keep the stockpot on low heat so that it can simmer for about 1 or so more hours. Adjust the spices to however you want at this point.
9. Use a sieve and strain the broth over another pot. Discard any of the carcases, bones, or solids that are in the pot. At this point, you can either make yourself a bowl of pho and eat it at this point or refrigerate it overnight.
1. You have 2 options when it comes to pho: Fresh or dried noodles. If you are using the dried version, cover them with hot water and let the entire thing soak for 20 minutes (until the noodles are pliable but not completely soggy) and drain them. If you are using fresh version, untangle the strands and run them under cold water.
2. Cut the cooked chicken into 1/4 (or whatever size you want really) and set the chicken aside. Cut a yellow until fine slices, slice the scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro, as well as the peppers of your choice for garnishes.
3. Place the noodles into a strainer or mesh sieve and dunk it into the gently boiling soup. Let the water drain back into the stockpot and put the noodles into the bowl. For those of you who don't like raw onions, you can also bring the broth to a simmer as you are preparing the bowls, ladle a spoonful of the hot soup into the bowl with the garnishes and the noodles, let it sit for 15-20 seconds, and drain the broth back into the pot.
4. Top each bowl of noodles with chicken, thinly sliced yellow onions, scallions, bean sprouts, cilantro, and peppers on top.
5. Bring the pot to a rolling boil and ladle the soup into each bowl. There you have it! Hope y'all enjoy!
I'm Linh - a science geek who loves experimenting and tinkering with recipes! I hope that this blog brings more ideas into your kitchens! Happy eating folks! XOXO