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.
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
- 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
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).
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.