Another rainy day. Regardless, I’m hitting the Taste of DC to chow on some of the best eats in the DC area with 70 restaurants like El Tamarindo, Crepe Love Truck, Ben’s Chili Bowl, the Burger Joint, and Pho Wheels offering their best dishes. Before I dive into a day that promises to be filled with grilled, fried, sizzled goodness, I wanted to post this for my friend Angela. Ange – if you make this, I’m coming over.
- 1 Bag thin rice noodles
- 1 Whole organic chicken, 3-4 pounds
- 4 Quarts water
- Ginger, 3-inch piece unpeeled
- 2 Whole onions, unpeeled and cut in half
- 2 Tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 4 Whole cloves
- 2 Whole star anise
- 2 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons rock sugar (You can also use plain sugar)
- 1/4 Cup fish sauce
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 Bunch cilantro, bundled and tied
If you want the traditional pho ga, don’t add the vegetables below. I like pho with veggies and usually add the following:
- 1 Zucchini, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1 Cup white mushrooms, cut in half
- 7 Ounces enoki mushrooms, roots cut and discarded
- 1 Cup tofu, cubed
- 1 Bunch cilantro
- 1 Red onion, thinly sliced
- 1-2 Jalapenos, sliced diagonally
- 2-3 Scallions, chopped
- 3 Cups mung bean sprouts, trimmed and rinsed
- 4 Sprigs fresh basil leaves
- 1 Lime, cut into four wedges
- Sriracha hot sauce to taste
- Hoisin sauce to taste
In a large bowl, add 3 cups of ice and enough water to submerge the ice. Set aside.
Place the onion and ginger on a baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes or until charred. I keep the oven door open and flip on the light to make sure they char evenly and don’t burn. Once the outside is charred, quickly dunk the onion and ginger in ice water. Scrape off the charred skin and cut the ginger into thick slices. Set aside.
Cut the chicken breast meat into big thick pieces. Cut the legs and wings and the rest of the chicken into 3-inch pieces. Rinse all pieces in cold water and place in a large stockpot. Add 4 quarts of cold water, onions, ginger, coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise. Turn heat to high and bring the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 40 minutes.
Using a fine mesh, drain the broth into another large pot. Discard everything except for the chicken meat. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it. Discard the bones and fatty pieces. Add the shredded chicken, sugar, fish sauce, salt and cilantro to the broth. Continue to simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
If using vegetables, add zucchini, mushrooms and tofu. Simmer covered or another 5 minutes.
While the broth is simmering, soak rice noodles in warm water for 5 minutes. When the broth is almost ready, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
Putting It All Together
Add the noodles in a large bowl. Sprinkle with scallions. Ladle enough broth to submerge the noodles. Serve immediately.
I arrange the toppings on a large platter for each person to garnish their own soup. My sisters and I heap on all of the toppings, add at least a tablespoon of sriracha sauce and another tablespoon of hoisin. We also use one lime wedge.
Some people like pho ga without all the garnishes and sriracha, but I say bring on the heat and the all the flavors that make my taste buds dance.