Pho Ga (Chicken noodle soup)

Updated: Jul 25

For 4-6 people


For the broth:

1 free range whole chicken

100g ginger

6 small red shallots

2 cinnamon sticks

6 star anise

1 whole onion

1 tbsp coriander seed

2 tbsp salt

3 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp fish sauce


1 pack of pho rice noodle

bunch spring onion

bunch of coriander

bunch of mint

birds eye chilli

white onion

chicken breast and thigh

lime wedges


1. Start this dish by butchering the chicken, the aim is to remove the legs and breast off the bone leaving as little meat on the bone as possible (This may be quite difficult so therefore if you prefer you can use chicken wings and chicken legs to make the broth).

When the chicken parts are off the bone separate the legs from the thigh then add the legs and the carcass to a pan of boiling water and boil until all of the scum has risen to the top, this usually takes around 20 - 25 minutes. Next remove the bones and clean with cold water then add to a fresh pan of cold water and bring to a simmer. This process is very important as this is how to achieve a clear broth.

2. Now for the spices as the chicken bones are simmering start by toasting the ginger and shallots on a naked flame or in a pan until charred then leave to cool down. Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise and coriander seeds to a dry pan then lightly toast until fragrant, when all the spices are ready scrape off the black char marks from the ginger and shallots then add all the spices to the chicken bones. Add sugar and salt then bring to a boil, as soon as it comes to a boil turn to a simmer and cook for at least 4 hours checking regulary to remove any scum that rises to the top.

3. After approximately 3 hours then add the rest of the raw chicken parts to the broth and leave to simmer for 45 minutes until cooked. While we are waiting for the chicken to finish cooking in the broth we can begin to prepare the rest of the garnishes. Slice and wash the spring onions then roughly chop and wash the coriander and mint, then finely chop half of a white onion and soak in cold water for a few minutes. For the noodles soak them in boiling water for around 5 mins, when nearly cooked drain and chill with cold water.

4. By now the chicken should be cooked we are ready to serve, start by checking the broth to see if it needs any more salt or sugar then add fish sauce. Remove the chicken thighs and breast and allow to cool as this makes it easier to carve them. Take the bone out of the thighs then slice, for the breast the wings should still be attached therefore remove the wings and slice the breast.

5. To serve, add the rice noodles to a bowl add the coriander, mint and spring onions then place the carved chicken on top (you can fight who gets the wings!). Finally add the hot broth on top and add chopped birds eye chilli and a squeeze of lime.

Cheap, easy, healthy, delicious enjoy!!!!

Additional notes:

Pho Ga is so cheap to make, I would be surprised if this whole dish sets you back more than 15 pounds yet still being able to feed a family! If you don't feel comfortable with carving a whole chicken you could add to the broth whole then pull the meat off the bone when the broth has cooked. Chicken wings also make a great broth along with pork bones.

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