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Vietnamese Pho Ga (Northern-Style) - Whole Chicken Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Pho Ga (Northern-Style) - Whole Chicken Noodle Soup

5-6 Servings

0:30 Prep

3:00 Cook

Advanced - you’re brave

This recipe was created in partnership with Aurum Poultry Co.

In Australia, the majority of pho restaurants serve southern-style pho bo (beef noodle soup) or pho ga (chicken noodle soup) while northern or Ha Noi pho remains a lesser-known variation. Northern-style pho broth typically contains less pho spices and sugar but retains much of the flavours that make it such a popular dish. In this recipe, the clean chicken broth is flavoured with traditional Vietnamese pho spices and served with an unctuous braise of chicken giblets, shiitake mushrooms and pho noodles.

I first discovered Northern-style pho ga on the streets of Ha Noi. It was a typical overcast but cool day – perfect for a pho crawl. A chicken noodle soup diet for the day was quite welcoming to the body, with each bowl stimulating my palate. However, there was one bowl of pho ga that stood out from the rest.

On the streetside bordering a popular wet market was a small pho ga vendor with approximately 15 seats, mainly servicing those working at the market and locals passing by. What separated her pho ga from others was the addition of shiitake mushrooms and chicken offal braised in rendered chicken fat.

If you ever find yourself in Ha Noi and are keen to try this for yourself, here are the vendors details:
Phở gà nấm Minh Liễu,
📍 17 Hàng Khoai, Đồng Xuân, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

I’ve recreated this recipe at home using Aurum Poultry Co’s pullet chicken. Its delicate and sweet gamey flavour makes it ideal for poaching but you could also use cockerel or your favourite whole chicken.

The key to this recipe is to render chicken fat for the braised shiitake mushrooms and chicken giblets. Start the chicken fat in a cold pan and slowly bring up the heat, then simmer on low-medium until the chicken fat has rendered. I like to use chicken giblets and chicken hearts but the choice is yours on what to include. For another layer of texture, you could also add duck blood jelly to the braise.

If you’ve never had the chance to taste a bowl of Northern-style pho, or you simply want to level-up your pho game, this is the recipe for you. Grab yourself a pullet and some chicken offal to nourish your family with a traditional bowl of pho ga inspired by a delectable bowl from the streets of Ha Noi.

Vietnamese Pho Ga (Northern-Style) - Whole Chicken Noodle Soup
Vietnamese Pho Ga (Northern-Style) - Whole Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

Pho broth:


* Do not include if using Duncan Lu's pho spice sachet
** 8g coriander seeds, 8g fennel seeds, 3g star anise, 5g cassia bark, 3g black peppercorns, 3g licorice root, 4g black cardamom, 1g cloves and 25g rock sugar

Poaching chicken:

  • 1 pullet chicken with head, neck and feet removed

  • ½ bunch spring onions

  • 25g ginger slightly crushed 

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • ½ teaspoon anchovy salt

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce


Braised chicken giblets:

  • 200g chicken fat

  • 1 small knob ginger, crushed

  • 2 thai shallots, crushed

  • 50g shiitake mushroom, soaked overnight and sliced into 1 cm rounds

  • ½ teaspoon anchovy salt

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1.5L poached chicken liquid

  • 300g chicken giblets or mixed chicken offal


Garnish:

  • ½ bunch spring onions

  • 1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • 2 chillies, sliced 

  • White pepper


Other:

Method:

How to make pho broth:
1. Clean cockerel crowns and the pullet head, neck and feet with hot water to remove impurities, then split in two and place into a large stock pot along with remaining pho broth ingredients. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 hrs.
2. Once the pho broth is well-simmered, strain it into a large pot, bring to the boil again, then simmer on low until ready to serve.
3. Before serving, taste the broth and if it’s to your liking proceed to assembling. If not, season with fish sauce, anchovy salt or sea salt to your taste. It’s always best to slightly over season, as once rice noodles and garnishes are added to the bowl, the broth will balance out.

Duncan’s tip: Skim off any impurities and foam throughout the simmering process for a clear broth. Add the pho spices sachet at the 90 minute mark for a more aromatic pho.

How to cook rice noodles:
1. While waiting for the broth, cover the dried rice noodles in water, soak for an hour, then strain and set aside.

How to poach chicken:
1. Wash the chicken, trim off any excess fat.
2. Place in a pot with enough cold water to cover the chicken then remaining poaching chicken ingredients. Bring to the boil then simmer on low for 12 minutes then remove pot from heat and cover for 35 mins to allow the residual heat to cook the chicken through.
3. Remove chicken and place into a large bowl of cold water for 5-7 mins to stop the cooking process occasionally turning then shred the chicken and set aside. Feel free to add 500ml-1L of the chicken poaching liquid to the broth for extra flavour.

Duncan’s tip: Refrain from adding all the poaching liquid as this will dilute the ‘pho flavour’ in your broth. Strain and reserve poaching liquid for another recipe or store in freezer.

How to cook chicken giblets:
1. In a cold medium saucepan, add chicken fat and cook on low-medium for 10 minutes or until fat is rendered. Remove crispy chicken skin and set aside.
2. Add ginger and shallots, saute until fragrant, then add shiitake mushrooms, anchovy salt, sea salt, fish sauce and 1.5 L of the poached chicken liquid. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
3. Add chicken giblets and continue to simmer uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
4. Season with additional anchovy salt, fish sauce and anchovy salt as required then set aside.

How to make a bowl of pho:
1. In small batches, place rice noodles in boiling water for 45–60 seconds,strain well then place in a serving bowl.
2. Place some shredded chicken in the bowl, a ladle of giblets, shiitake mushrooms and braising liquid then pour pho broth in to cover well.

Duncan’s tip
: Ensure braised giblets and pho broth is at the boil when serving.

3. Garnish with spring onions, coriander, squeeze of lime, chilli and white pepper.

Duncan’s tip: Unlike Southern-style pho, refrain from adding hoisin sauce as it will take over the aromatic pho flavour and sweeten the broth.

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