This pho recipe is one of our favourites in these chilly winter months (actually, any time of the year really!). It’s a great way to give your body the comforting benefits of a chicken broth spiked with healing ginger and garlic, together with the energising benefits of warming spices and vibrant fresh herbs. The ingredient list might look a little long, but you probably already have many of the ingredients in your pantry, and the rest you’ll be able to pick up from a quick visit to your local Asian grocer. A rich and complex, yet light and energising meal. Enjoy!
Chicken pho (serves 4)
For the broth
2 medium brown onions – cut in half
1/8 cup sliced ginger
1 head garlic – cut in half lengthways
1 bunch coriander (washed) – roots (reserve rest for garnish, see below)
1 stick cinnamon
6 star anise
6 cardamom pods - crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
4 chicken legs - we prefer organic and free range
50g rock sugar – shaved
50ml fish sauce
Juice of 2-3 limes
2 balls flat rice noodles
Garnishes (you can use one, two, or all of these)
Leaves of the bunch of coriander
Spring onion - sliced on an angle
Birds eye chillies - sliced
Chilli sauce – our favourite is Christine Manfield’s chilli jam
1 shallot - sliced paper thin
Lime - cut in wedges
- Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, ginger and garlic
- Cook over a high heat until quite charred, whilst waving a magazine or tea towel around furiously to fan off the smoke. (At this stage, you might need to get the broom out and turn off your smoke alarm. Don’t worry, it’s all worth it for the amazing flavour it gives the broth).
- Add spices, coriander root, chicken, rock sugar, fish sauce and two litres of water.
- Bring to a boil and allow to gently simmer uncovered for two hours.
- Remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve; reserving the chicken legs. If your sieve isn’t really fine or you are using a colander, line it with muslin or a chux cloth.
- Season broth with lime juice to taste and more fish sauce if needed. You should have just over one litre of broth at this point.
- The best way to remove all the fat at this point is to put this broth in the fridge overnight; that way, the fat will separate out and settle on the top. In the morning scrape it all off with a spoon and discard.
- Soak rice noodles in hot water or as directed.
- Heat broth with chicken legs, you can leave them whole or remove the skin & roughly shred the meat,
- Place noodles in serving bowls and pour hot broth over.
- Serve with garnishes on the side.