23 October 2009

Pho Ga - Daring Cook's Challenge

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge is from Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

There is a short version and a long version. Since I had only just touched down from my work trip to Melbourne, I opted for the shorter version. One of the rules of the challenge was that the longer version recipe was not to be reproduced on other sites. If you would like to try out the longer version, you can access the link to the recipe here - Pho Ga (long version)

The only grocery store that is within walking distance also did not have any limes, so I had to substitute with a lemon instead. I did also manage to pick up some mint leaves at the grocery store. I can't really imagine having Pho without mint leaves, so although the recipe doesn't call for them, I added them into my list of accompliments. I also used some fresh packaged rice noodles instead of buying the dried version.

Here is the recipe for the shorter version.
Pho Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Servings: Makes 4 servings


For the Chicken Pho Broth:
  • 2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
  • ½ onion
  • 1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
  • 1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


  • 2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
  • ½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
  • ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
To make the Chicken Pho Broth:

  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
  2. In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  3. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
  4. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  5. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
  6. Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
  7. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

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