I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
The weather here in MN is turning chillier already, and that has me craving something warm and comforting. One of my very favorite soups is Pho Ga.
Pho Ga is a Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s a staple in Vietnam. This is truly a comfort food. I got my first taste of Pho at a local Vietnamese restaurant. I have seen restaurants that specialize in Pho popping up in major cities. That’s because this soup really is that good.
After pronouncing it wrong for years, I was politely corrected. It is pronounced ‘fuh’. The secret to this soup is in the rich, flavorful broth and in the toppings.
Once I had my first taste I was hooked. I set out to find a recipe that was just as good as the pho I tasted in the restaurant. The search is over…
This recipe even uses the Instant Pot which speeds up the process of making the broth.
Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot. Just make it on the stove and let it simmer for a couple of hours.
Here’s what I do to make the broth ahead of time and have it ready for a quick lunch:
(Let’s just clear one thing up……it does not taste the same if you use boxed broth).
I follow the instructions in the recipe below for making the broth and shredding the chicken. Don’t prepare the toppings until you’re ready to eat it.
I add the chicken back into the broth and I freeze it in 1-2 serving sizes. This way when there’s a cold day and I’m craving this amazing comfort food-I can have it ready quickly.
When I’m ready for a delicious bowl, I thaw the frozen broth in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a short time. Then I heat it up in my toaster oven.
While the broth is heating I cook the brown rice noodles or buckwheat soba noodles according to package instructions.
Then I place the noodles in a bowl. Top with thinly sliced onion and scallions and pour the hot broth over. Serve with fresh cilantro, basil and mint, bean sprouts and lime wedges. Just throw these in your soup right before eating and squeeze on some lime.
Condiments usually served with this are hoisin sauce and sriracha.
Note that most hoisin sauces are made with modified corn starch, soybeans, preservatives and artificial colors. I love Premier Japan Organic Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce. It has none of these questionable ingredients. I found it at Whole Foods.
We also love this Ninja Squirrel Sriracha-no questionable ingredients here either. Found at Whole Foods and Amazon.
Sometimes I make the soup with chicken, sometimes I just want a veggie version. In that case, I add sliced mushrooms, broccoli florets and/or zucchini noodles made with my spiralizer.
I’ll add the raw veggies to the bowl with the noodles ( you could skip the brown rice noodles and just use zucchini noodles) and pour the boiling broth over and let that cook the veggies for a couple of minutes. Then garnish as usual.
30-minute Pressure Cooker Pho Ga
- 2 T. coconut oil
- 2 medium yellow onions quartered
- 1 3- inch piece of ginger sliced into coins
- stems from 1 bunch cilantro
- 3 star anise pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 1 t. fennel seeds
- 1 t. coriander seeds
- 2 pounds bone-in skin-on chicken pieces
- 1/4 Cup fish sauce more to taste
- 2 T. grated palm sugar plus more to taste
- 8 oz. dried rice noodles
- 1 small white onion thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 1/2 Cup thinly sliced green onions scallions
- 2 Cups mixed fresh herbs cilantro, basil, and mint
- 2 Cups bean sprouts
- 1 limes cut into wedges
- chile oil
- Hoisin Sauce
Heat oil in a skillet or right in your Instant Pot using the sauté mode. When oil is shimmering, add onions and ginger. Cook until onion and ginger are charred on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the charred onion and ginger to Instant Pot or pressure cooker if you used a skillet. Add remaining ingredients and about 8 Cups of water (never fill pressure cooker above specified fill line). Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
Using tongs, carefully transfer chicken to a plate. Pour broth through a fine mesh sieve into a clean pot and discard solids. Using a ladle, skim any scum off the surface of the broth. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional fish sauce and sugar.
When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken, discard bones and skin, set aside.
To prepare toppings
Bring about 6 Cups of water to a boil. Place rice noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Soak noodles until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and toss noodles with a small amount of oil to keep from sticking.
Prepare the garnishes on a platter (fresh herbs, bean sprouts and lime wedges).
Reheat broth to a boil. Divide noodles between large warm bowls. Top noodles with onion, chicken and scallions and pour hot broth over. Serve immediately with garnishes and condiments on side.
Adapted from Sur la table
Couple more notes:
Let’s talk about Red Boat Fish Sauce. Yes, it is made with anchovy’s, and yes, it is stinky, but I promise you if you skip it you are missing out! It adds huge depth of flavor to the broth.
Some of the spices are more obscure like the star anise pods, but again, this is what makes the flavor so amazing. Just buy the jar, because you will be making this again, and again…..
With love + gratitude,