In cold weather, I often crave pho, ramen, hot pot, and other soups, but I always regret purchasing it at restaurants. Per @jennalyner's request, here's a Pho Ga recipe that won't cause hypertension...
The thing about restaurant soup is - it's deceivingly unhealthy. If they put a whole stick of butter in your bowl, you wouldn't even know. You have NO clue how much sodium is in your soup until after your meal (when you feel extremely bloated).
Reasons I don't like Restaurant Pho
- Secretly super salty
- The chicken tastes like foam paper
- Too many noodles
- These pho restaurants look very similar so it's hard to decide which one to venture to next.
- Containers for chili oil used by the mass public gross me out.
- Chicken + noodles + broth + herbs - is that all I'm supposed to eat - can't you give me more vegetables?
If you make Vietnamese Pho Ga (chicken pho) at home, you can add as many vegetables as you want, cook the chicken to moist perfection, and monitor your sodium intake. It actually becomes a healthy meal. This recipe is adapted from Steamy Kitchen and Wandering Chopsticks. Disclaimer: Pho Ga takes for pho-ever, but it's easier to make than Pho Bo (made with beef).
- 1 Package Rice noodles
- Basil - get the Thai basil. It's not as smooth as basil at regular supermarkets.
- 1 Package Bean Sprouts (probably wouldn't buy a 12 pack of this, but I like that it's in a can. They tend to go bad so quickly)
- 2 Green Onion
- 2 Shallots
- 2 Onions
- Whole Chicken
- 10 Star Anise (ignore the mega order that's in the link. I just wanted to show you that you need to get the actual star anise, not the powder)
- 10 Cardamom Pods
- 2 Sticks of Cinnamon
- 3 Cloves of Garlic
- Soy Sauce
- Thai chili paste
- Plum Sauce
- Any other veggies you want: carrots, green beans, mushrooms, etc.
For your ingredients, go to an Asian supermarket for your herbs and a regular grocery store for your whole chicken and additional veggies.
- Place chicken in crock pot overnight on low for 7 hours.
- Cut onion in half.
- Char both halves of the onion and a 4 inch piece of ginger that is cut in half lengthwise.
- Cock you chicken in the crock pot with 2 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 cardamom pod for 8 hours on low.
- Remove the meat from your chicken and shred it.
- Char the second onion and another 4 inch piece of ginger like step 1 & 2.
- Add bones to a stock pot with 6 cups of water and the ginger + onion. (Add in any strained broth made in the crock pot.)
- Add in 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 0.5 tablespoon of salt.
- Boil bones in a stock pot for 1.5 hours. with star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 clove of minced garlic, 2 cardamom pods, 5 cloves, and 1 tbsp of Thai chili paste.
*Keep in mind, the broth won't be what you're used to. It's a very low sodium broth. In the cooking process, taste the broth and add more salt / soy sauce to your broth to achieve the desired taste.
- If a fatty layer develops on the top of your broth- and you don't want it, scoop it out.
- Strain bones & excess spices out of broth.
- Saute 2 chopped up shallots.
- When you're ready to eat, bring the amount of broth you want to eat to a rolling boil and add in chicken, sauted shallots, and your extra vegetables.
- Add noodles and cook to desired consistency. Only add as much as you want.
- Garnish with lime, sriracha, basil, soy sauce, sliced jalapenos, plum sauce, green onions, and cilantro.