Recipe: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Pho Ga (Chicken Noodle Soup)

My mom LOVES to buy whole chickens for me. The only problem is that she is a bit excessive with it. She will out of nowhere call me up, tell me she is dropping off a chicken for me, and then all of a sudden, 3 whole chickens will show up at my door. But, it doesn't stop there. The next day, another chicken will show up. And the next day, another chicken is dropped off. And it won't stop until you firmly tell her that enough is enough.

As much as I should be grateful for all of the gifted chickens, I kind of get to a point where I just don't have enough space to store them.

Needless to say, my freezer is always full of whole chickens, which is perfect for making broth. This Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (pho ga) recipe is one that my mom gave me. While it seems complicated to make, it is in fact very easy. It does take some time to make, but you can pretty much go on auto-pilot once you have everything cooking in the pot.

Pho Ga

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)
- flat rice noodles, fresh or dried
- 1 whole free-range chicken (4-5 lbs), skin and excess fat removed
- water
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- 5-7 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3 star anise
- 4-5 large onions, peeled and cut in half
- 2-3 pieces of ginger, approx 2 inches long with skin peeled

Garnish (All optional)
- fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- fresh green onion, finely chopped
- white vinegar with chopped birds eye chilli
- fresh white onion, cut into thin slices
- birds eye chilli
- fresh lime, cut into small wedges
- white pepper

Charred Onion and Ginger

Garnish for Pho

1. Char the onions and ginger on a bbq grill or stove top (on high heat) until all sides are charred. Approximately 1-3 minutes per side. Use tongs to rotate.

2. In a large pot (5.6L), fill 3/4 of the pot with water. Add the chicken, salt, onions, ginger and star anise, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for an hour. Add the fish sauce and let it simmer for another 1-2 hours. Technically, you are done once the chicken is cooked but the longer the better. I like to simmer my broth for a total of 3 hours. Add water as needed (the broth tends to evaporate while simmering).

Chicken Soup

3. Now you are ready to construct the soup and noodles. In a separate pot, cook the rice vermicelli noodles according to package instructions. If you are using dried rice vermicelli, it is best to soak the noodles in a large bowl of luke warm water for a few hours before cooking. This shortens the cooking time significantly.

4. Drain the noodles and place in a large soup bowl. Add hot broth over top of the noodles. Add chicken pieces and your garnishes of choice. Serve hot with a large soup spoon and chopsticks.

Flower + Coffee at blumenstudio, Ottawa


I've been MIA for a few months because I have been getting ready for my move to LA! I am changing jobs and this new adventure is moving me from Ottawa to California. While I am very excited, the last few months were full of ups and downs. Change is not easy! It was a long 5 months for me, but I finally have everything worked out and I've decided on an end of May move date...which is coming fast, yikes!!

Now knowing that I'm not going to be in Ottawa for much longer, I want to post all of the yummy places I have eaten at lately so that I don't forget how great Ottawa is. I'm consciously trying not to stock up on food at home, so CK and I have been eating out a lot more lately.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a HUGE coffee lover. One of my favorite places in Ottawa for coffee is blumenstudio cafe on Parkdale.


What's really cool about blumenstudio is that it is a flower shop and coffee shop in one. When you enter, you are surrounded by beautiful plants, flowers and sculptures, making it a very warm and inviting atmosphere.

Kat Kosk and Nathan Turner are the owners of blumenstudio. Extremely talented, Kat was trained in Germany as a professional floral designer, spending most of her time in Dresden and Berlin. She moved to North America over 10 years ago and is now living her dream.

Coffee at Blumenstudio

Blumenstudio is a cozy little space with great coffee and sweets. I love their marzipan balls and their coffee is consistenly good.

I recently found out that blumenstudio is dog-friendly, so little Pepper (newest member of our family) was able to join us for coffee, which was a lot of fun.

Check this place out. It is definitely worth a visit or two, or more!

Pepper the Dog

Blumenstudio Cafe
465 Parkdale Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Blumenstudio on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Cucumber Garlic Yogurt Dip

Cucumber Yogurt Dip

A friend made this dip for me the other day, and I went straight home to re-create it so that I wouldn't forget the recipe. This is super easy to make, and is a refreshing dip for the hot summer weather.

This is very similar to the Persian Mast-o-Khiar dip, but with bigger cucumber chunks and added garlic.

The amount of fresh mint you put into this dip will depend on taste. This is best served with pita bread or flavored rice.

I would avoid eating this dip if you have a hot date...just sayin :)

This recipe yields 1 cup.

Cucumber Garlic Yogurt Dip
- 1 cup of plain yogurt
- 1 seedless English cucumber, peeled
- 2-3 springs of fresh mint, leaves only (approximately 15-20 leaves)
- 1 garlic, minced
- salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, garlic and mint.

2. Roughly chop the peeled cucumber into small cubes or slices. Add the cucumber to the yogurt mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and serve cold.