25 July 2011

Pho ga (or lazy woman's noodle soup)

I had one happy family at home today. Although the chicken version of pho was not their first preference they figured that any pho would be better then no pho at all. I normally make pho bo, with is the noodle soup with a beef broth, but this dish is very time consuming and takes twice a much work as noodle soup with a chicken broth. I made pho ga once before and it tasted so good, I decided to share the recipe.

Because I think the broth tasted better when you make it one day ahead this is a dish that needs some planning. I actually started to cook this dish on Saturday and we didn’t get to eat it till today because we had dinner at my mom’s yesterday.

Let me give you a list of ingredients to make things easier. Feel free to adapt the quantity because the list of ingredients is what I used for my hug pot of pho ga. Since the family love it so much I always make a big pot so we can eat it for 2 days and if they are lucky for another 3rd day.

For the broth:
-          one handful star anise
-          1 cinnamon stick
-          half an onion
-          about 4 cm of ginger
-          3 fresh bay leaves
-          almost 2 kilo of chicken legs and thighs
-          salt and pepper

The broth is the deal maker or breaker. It needs to be clear and have a slightly star anise and cinnamon flavor.

I started with toasting the star anise, the cinnamon, the onion and the ginger. This will bring out all the nice flavors. Then I put the star anise in a coffee filter and tied it with a string. The rest of the ingredients went straight into the pan. You don’t want to put the star anise straight in the pan otherwise it will fall apart after you boil it for a long time and it will take you lots of time to remove them.

I cleaned the chicken and removed the skin. You can leave it on and take it out later, but I figured as I didn’t going to eat it, I might as well remove it now.
You’ll have to make sure you scoop the foam out frequently so you end up with a clear broth. Make sure you season the broth before the chicken goes in and after when the chicken is cooked. Since the water reduces while cooking you can add more and then season it to your taste.

Cook it for at least one hour and then set it aside. I had my pan outside the fridge and therefore I had to bring it back to a boil every day so it didn’t turn bad. Of course it would be better to store it in the fridge, but mine was totally packed.

The next day soak your dried noodles till they are soft. I soaked mine before I went to work. After I got home I got the chicken out and shredded the meat in big pieces. Then I brought my broth to a boil.

To finish this dish off you’ll need:
-          bean spouts
-          coriander
-          spring onion
-          sweet Thai basil

I chopped the coriander and spring onion and mixed them together with some slices of raw onion.

I boiled some water in a pan for my noodles. Instead of boiling all the noodles at one time I boiled every portion separate in a kitchen sieve.
I started with cooking some bean sprouts. They only take a couple of seconds.
Same goes for the noodles. If you are not sure if they are cooked just try one.
Since the chicken was cold I put them in a big spoon and held it in the broth for a little.
This all is topped with the coriander/spring onion mixture.
Make sure the broth is boiling when you poor it into your bowl.
Sprinkle some drops of lemon, one dollop of hoi sin sauce and some chili sauce and you are ready to go.
I love my pho with some sweet Thai basil. Here you go, my lazy woman’s pho recipe.


  1. I absolutely love this kind of light soup .. a little bit of everything and there comes a bowl of gorgeous meal.

  2. Even though its a "lazy woman" version this is still a lot of work! LOL i guess I am lazier than you =) This looks great, I might have to try this when the cold weather rolls around.

  3. flavourful noodles love the flavours looks filling yummy

  4. Oh my goodness, this looks fantastic! I love the flavor and ingredients that you used! Thank you for sharing the recipe..will have to try it soon!

  5. My whole family love Pho! We're actually going to eat Pho Ga tomorrow at this famous restaurant that serves best Pho Ga in San Francisco. Your post made me super ready for tomorrow night! YUM!!!

  6. Ohmigosh...we haven't had Pho since we moved to Cayman. It's not lazy woman's pho, its pho everyone can make! Bookmarked :)

  7. We just ate it again for dinner today and it was still as jummie as it was yesterdays. Basically if you can make chicken soup you can make this pho. All you need is the right spices. Hope you all give it a try.

  8. Oh, this looks great, especially all the herbs in it :)

  9. Looking at this list of ingredients, pho ga is definitely NOT a lazy woman's noodle soup. Yours looks hearty and delicious, and I could do with a bowl right now :-).

  10. If you ever tried to make my pho http://fuzzfreefood.blogspot.com/2010/12/best-pho-in-town.html you will agree that this version is much faster!

  11. AnonymousJuly 29, 2011

    Wow - that's not just soup...that's art! Beautiful! I love the idea of the soup - chicken or beef! I would have to omit the cinnamon, due to allergies, but I think it can work! Buzzed!

  12. Ann: as long as you use the star anise you'll be fine. And I would've add one stalk of lemon grass as well. Just to get the nice lemony flavour.

  13. It isn't very "lazy" but it is delicious. Great flavours from the ginger and star anise and loads of different textures. This is my kind of soup.

  14. I love Pho, best noodle soup on the planet. Thanks for making it look so simple.


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