Massively Bastardized Pho Ga

  It all started because I picked up ingredients to make chicken soup, and because I had some not-so-amazing pho from the lunch place downstairs from my work.  So I looked up how to make Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup) and it was pretty labor intensive, but also involved some cooking techniques I’d never encountered (like roasting the onion and ginger whole before adding it to the broth) so I decided to somewhat follow the complicated recipe and ended up with soup that was super delicious and, I think, totally worth it!  The recipe I Mainly followed was from Steamy Kitchen, and here’s how it went down:

– Broil a 3-inch piece of unpeeled ginger and a whole onion, skin on (just seeing right now that it’s supposed to be cut in half – mine was completely whole) for ~15 minutes until the skin is starting to char
– Scrape off the charred skin from each and cut the ginger into sticks (they don’t say what to do with the onion, but I cut it into quarters)

– Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil
– Add in your chicken – they say to add all the parts of a whole chicken aside from the breasts (which you add later).  I used some thighs and legs, and that worked out totally fine
– Boil on high for 5 minutes, and then discard the water (or, save it for future chicken stock needs, which is what I did) Rinse out the pot and rinse off the chicken – I guess this is what helps produce the super clear and flavorful broth typical of Pho

– Fill a pot with fresh water (and actually I used a thing I had of veggie stock, which I don’t recommend – the flavors didn’t work that well and for a moment there I was worried I had ruined it!)
– Add in all the chicken, onion, and ginger.
– Add in all of the following (items in parentheses I didn’t have and didn’t add) :
— (2 tbsp coriander seeds)
— 4 whole cloves – and actually I added in more than that which ended up being kind of intense, but also helped cover up the veggie stock flavor, so I think it worked out
— (2 whole star anise)
— 2 tbsp fish sauce
— (2 tbsp sugar – I did honey)
— (Stems of cilantro in a bunch – I didn’t have this, but when I was reheating the broth the next day to actually eat, I did have it, and I let the stems boil in the broth for a bit)

– Bring to boil and then turn down to low, covered mostly with a pot lid
– After 15 minutes (assuming it’s done) remove the chicken, shred it, and set it aside

– Here’s the long part: Continue to simmer the broth for another hour and a half! They say to skim the surface every once in a while to keep it pure, but with my veggie stock addition I wasn’t sure what good that would do so I skipped it
– Strain the broth and discard all the solids

– When you’re ready, serve with the following fixings:
— Shredded chicken
— Cooked rice noodles
— Bean sprouts (which they didn’t have at the store I went to so I used green beans which I think was great – they’re both crunchy sticks, and I love green beans!)
— Cilantro leaves
— Thinly sliced red onion
— Sliced jalapeño
— Lime wedges
— Chili sauce

Seriously super delicious!  And once I had the broth made, I was able to just heat up bowls of it and add in all the other stuff pretty quickly, so definitely a good “make ahead” option