Chicken noodle soup

Chicken noodle soup

Pho Gà

Real Vietnamese Cooking
Michael Fountoulakis

Pho ga was invented during the Japanese occupation in the 1940s, when beef was very hard to come by - which might explain why this dish is sometimes considered the poor cousin of the more famous and glamorous beef noodle soup, pho bo.

We like it as a lighter, more summery variation of pho, and it has the added advantage of taking less time to prepare in a home kitchen.


Quantity Ingredient
8 red asian shallots, unpeeled
4cm fresh ginger, unpeeled and cut in half
1 x 1.6kg chicken
1 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce, plus extra to serve
600g fresh pho noodles
1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
6 spring onions, 3 sliced, the other 3 cut into strips
coriander leaves
4 kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin strips
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 long red chilli, sliced


  1. Chargrill the whole unpeeled shallots and ginger on a barbecue or gas burner over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until they are fragrant and the skin is lightly charred. Remove and cool slightly. Using your fingers, flake off the outer thin layer of skin.
  2. Wash the chicken under cold running water. Place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and add the salt. Slowly bring to the boil, skimming off any froth that rises to the surface. Immediately reduce the heat, then add the shallots, ginger, cinnamon stick and star anise. Gently simmer for 1 hour, skimming the surface regularly. To ensure a clear broth and moist, tender meat, it is important not to boil the chicken.
  3. Remove the chicken from the broth. Test that it is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thigh - the juices should run clear. Set aside to rest while you finish preparing the broth.
  4. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and discard the aromatics. Return the broth to the saucepan and add the sugar and fish sauce. Now keep the broth at a gentle simmer over low heat.
  5. Cut the breasts and legs from the chicken. Remove all the meat from the bones and slice it into strips.
  6. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Drop the noodles into the boiling water and stir with a chopstick for about 20 seconds to separate the noodles. Drain thoroughly and divide among six deep bowls.
  7. Place the chicken on top of the noodles, then top with the onion, spring onion, coriander and lime leaves. Ladle in the hot broth.
  8. Serve with the lime wedges, chilli and some extra fish sauce for diners to adjust the flavour, if desired.
Real Vietnamese Cooking
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