By Freedom Nguyen
o Pho Noodles
o 1 bag of Bo Vien (Frozen Beef Meatballs)
o Star Anise
o One Whole Chicken (Pre Cut is better)
o Fish Sauce (Squid Brand is best)
o Soy Sauce (Golden Mountain)
o One Large Whole Onion (White or Yellow)
o Chinese Mint
o Fresh Thai Basil
o Fresh Bean Sprouts (headless)
o Hoisin Sauce
o Sriracha Sauce (Rooster Brand da best!)
Note that when cooking Pho at home, make sure you have adequate ventilation! Pho is cooked in large portions so that you can serve large groups of friends and family. You start by using a 20 Quart pot, and fill it 2/3 of the way. Adjust the proportions of the ingredients if using smaller pot.
1.) Bring pot water to a boil. Take your whole onion, cut the ends off and peel off outer layer. Drop it in your pot and boil on high heat. When boiling, add 3 tablespoons of salt.
2.) Add your whole chicken (BE CAREFUL! Slowly place your chicken in the pot, watch for overflow). If your chicken came with a chicken neck & livers, add those too! They will add to the flavor of your broth. Boil your chicken for about 1 hour and 15 min. Occasionally skim off the foamy layer on the top. Careful not to skim off all the chicken fat–leave some to flavor your broth.
3.) Wash your herb condiments: Thai Basil, Bean Sprouts, and Chinese Mint leaves. Cut your lime into squeezable slices and place along with herbs on the dinner table. After an hour, taste the broth. It should taste like a very lovely chicken soup.
4.) Once you have your broth, add 1/2 cup of fish sauce, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and slowly mix. Reduce to low-heat and use something sturdy like a metal ladle to remove your chicken from the pot, and place into a bowl to cool. Chicken may break apart, this is okay.
5.) At this point, you can start on your Pho noodles. Find a separate regular size pot, fill 2/3rd the way with water and boil. Add your noodles and let them cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, or when they are soft; no al dente! Strain over the sink and wash your noodles in cold water. Use a pair of chopsticks to rinse all your noodles in your strainer as noodles have high starch content.
6.) Back to your broth. You can add an additional 1 to 2 cups of water if your broth is too salty. Raise heat to medium and add a handful of star anise. Cut frozen meatballs in half, add to pot and cover.
7.) Let’s go back to your cooling chicken. Use a fork or chopsticks to tear off hunks of bite size meat. Check your meatballs in the broth to see if they have expanded, and lower your heat to simmer.
Your Pho journey is complete! Grab a handful of pho noodles, add chunks of chicken, into an individual soup bowl. Fill your soup bowl with broth with a couple of meatballs. Avoid any star anise, they’re extremely hard and a choking hazard. Your family and friends can add herbs and sprouts as they like, just make sure that they mix in a teaspoon of hoisin, a couple squirts of Sriracha, and a squeeze of lime into each bowl! Enjoy!