Few things warm you up the way a bowl of chicken noodle soup does on a winter’s night. So, with leftover chicken, time and a craving for the sense of being in hot, sticky Ho Chi Minh City (instead of cold, clammy Vancouver) on my side, pho ga it would be. Yes, while not as popular or ubiquitous as the bovine-centric pho bo, pho with chicken (ga) does exist and can serve as a nice deviation from your everyday chicken noodle soup.
I do know that a good pho relies heavily on a good broth. And it’s with my broth that I must insert the “faux.” For ease and quickness, I passed over the grilling (or broiling) of bones and vegetables and simply infused some of the chicken broth I had made with necessary aromatics. Missing out on some rich smokiness wasn’t so bad when faced with a bowl that smells heavily of cinnamon, cardamom and star anise. I took cues from both Mark Bittman’s Hanoi Noodle Soup in How to Cook Everything and the pho recipe I learned at the Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Dining companion: Misfits
Easy Pho Ga
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 star anise
1/2-inch chunk of ginger, peeled
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
1 clove of garlic, sliced lengthwise in half
salt and pepper
rice noodles (the ones that look like linguine, not rice vermicelli), enough for one
shredded, cooked chicken, about 1/2 a cup
pickled onions and chilies (same recipe as here, just with a chopped Thai chili added)
Add spices, garlic and ginger to broth in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to low and simmer for an hour.
Cook noodles according to package directions. The most common method is to soak noodles for 20 minutes in hot water, then drain. Place in soup bowl.
Once broth is ready, strain out aromatics and then add salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to broth to warm up.
Pour broth (there may be extra) and chicken over noodles in bowl. Top with onions, chilies and fresh cilantro. Serve lime wedges and chili sauce on the side.