This Vietnamese soup is easy to make, tasty, enticing, light, healthy, fun and addictive.
And for many years, if we felt like we were fighting off a cold or a flu, this is ALWAYS the soup we craved… hot, spicy Pho with tons of herbs, lime and Jalapeño peppers. It works every time.
And it’s okay if you don’t have ALL the herbs, like Thai basil (just use basil from the store or garden) or Ngo Gai, or cilantro, or mint, or bean sprouts, or dried shrimp… life is like that. Life is like a bowl of Pho soup. 🙂
1/2 cooked chicken, de-boned, meat cut into roughly one inch chunks
40 oz chicken stock, (we boil down bones from a whole roasted bird or a rotisserie chicken, which becomes bone broth)
6 oz. rice noodles, 1 or 2 large bunches, sometimes called rice sticks or vermicelli (we use Three Ladies Brand and buy it in 2 pound packages on Amazon)
1 inch ginger, grated
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons fish sauce, (we use Red Boat)
1 tablespoon mirin (or 1 teaspoon sugar)
1 small package of tiny dried shrimp, usually 25 (at most supermarkets)
1 cup Thai basil leaves (or local basil)
1/2 cup cilantro, leaves only
1 cup Ngo Gai leaves, (sometimes called Mexican coriander or culantro)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2-4 limes, depending on size, squeezed
2 jalapeños peppers cut into coins
4 star anise
2 lemon grass, bruised and cut into two inch sections
Boil two quarts of water, add the rice noodles and simmer for eight minutes. Strain, rinse with cold water, shake to loosen and set aside.
Add the star anise, ginger, garlic, dried shrimp, fish sauce, mirin, and lemongrass to the chicken stock and simmer in a medium pan for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and star anise.
Place some rice noodles in the bottom of large soup bowls. Ladle the broth with chicken into the bowls evenly. Place the basil, cilantro, mint, bean sprouts and Ngo Gai on top, along with the sliced up hot peppers and mix together. Squeeze in the limes and your Pho Ga is ready to serve.
The whole room should smell evocative and aromatic. Some folks add Sriracha sauce or hoisin sauce. Enjoy!