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Pressure Cooker Pho Ga/Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Made this awesome popular noodle soup in a pressure cooker and it was super-easy. Shortcut cooking method but not a shortcut in flavor--Check out this authentic recipe!Pho Ga has become so mainsteam that most folks refer to the dish by its Vietnamese name rather than the translated name “Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup”. What is it about this unassuming soup that has captured everyone’s hearts and tummies? The answer:  simple ingredients–rice noodle and chicken served in an intoxicating broth layered with earthy, aromatic spices. The dish is then enjoyed with abundant fresh herbs and garnishes which further enhance the gastronomic journey! In a word, it’s AMAZING! 🙂

Now that your mouths are watering, let’s get to the recipe. In this post, I share a non-conventional approach for making Pho Ga in a pressure cooker. It’s easy, convenient and allows you to enjoy authentic, homemade pho with minimal fuss. I love this recipe because it’s so easy. I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The pressure cooker I am using is the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W. This electric appliance takes the guesswork out of using a pressure cooker.  It’s super easy to use and to clean.

Make the chicken stock from scratch if you have time. (Check out the recipe I shared earlier.) If you’re pressed for time, a store-bought organic chicken broth works great too.

When charring the onion and ginger, it can get fairly smoky so turn on the exhaust fan. The onion and ginger get pretty black but don’t worry as the skin will be removed. If you’re not comfortable with roasting over an open-flame, use a cast-iron pan.

Washing the chicken is a very important step. It rinses away any residual blood and bits that often make the soup cloudy. I use a big bowl to catch the rinse water and this way I can tell the chicken is clean when the water is clear.

If your pressure cooker has a tendency to burn the food touching the bottom of the pot, put down a layer of celery or carrots and then place the chicken on top. The vegetables will buffer the chicken and serve as a natural sweetener for the soup.

After the cooking time elapses, the pressure cooker switches over to a Keep Warm function.  This will keep the soup perfectly hot until you’re ready to serve.

Pho noodles come in different thicknesses and are sized as small, medium and large.  There are no hard and fast rules so choose what you like.  I prefer the medium-sized noodles and cook them for 4 minutes.  The noodles are tender but not mushy.

1 lb of dry rice noodles makes about 2 1/2 lbs cooked rice noodles.  This is a lot but some people like lots of noodles while others love lots of broth.  Most likely, you’ll have some noodles leftover.

Note that I do not season the broth with salt or fish sauce. Each person should salt his or her bowl to taste. When serving this soup, always make sure you provide a generous side of fish sauce. Avoid adding fish sauce directly to the entire soup pot because when the soup is refrigerated, it has a tendency to turn sour.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Vermicelli Soup with Chicken, Steamed Pork Roll and Egg (Bun Thang) and Crab Noodle Soup (Bun Rieu).

Ingredients

1 small yellow onion
2-inch section ginger
2 whole star anise
2 cardamom pods
5 cloves
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
3/4 oz rock sugar
1 Saigon cinnamon stick

5 lb whole organic chicken
2 Tbsp salt
9 cups chicken stock
1 lb rice stick/pho noodles, size medium

Garnishes and Accompaniments
2 green onions, chopped
ground black pepper
2 cups bean sprouts, washed and trimmed
Thai basil, sawtooth herb, cilantro, washed
red chilies
jalapenos, thinly sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
fish sauce
hoisin sauce
sriracha sauce

Directions

Cut the onion in half. Remove the skin from one onion half and then thinly slice. Place into a small bowl and set aside for now.

Set the heat to Medium Low.  Place the remaining onion half and ginger directly over the flame. Cook each side for 5 minutes until charred. Rinse with cool water to wash off the loose char. Remove the outer layer of skin from the onion and ginger. Using a small knife, scrape off the char. Rinse again with cool water.  Use a pestle or meat hammer to slightly smash the ginger.

In a skillet over Low heat, add the star anise, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cinnamon. Stirring occasionally, toast for 7-8 minutes until fragrant. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Place the spices into a tea filter and tie shut with twine.

Sprinkle salt on the outside and inside of the chicken. Gently rub the salt into the skin. Wash the chicken thoroughly using a steady stream of cold water.

Trim off any visible fat and discard.

Put the chicken into the pressure cooker.  Add the onion, ginger, rock sugar and spices bag.  Pour in the chicken stock.

Cover with the lid and seal.  Set the cooker to High pressure, the timer to 30 minutes and let everything cook.

After the timer goes off, turn the valve to release the pressure.

Uncover the cooker.  Remove the onion, spices bag and ginger if visible.

Using a large slotted spoon, carefully transfer the entire chicken into a large bowl.  Cover the chicken with ice water and allow to soak for 2 minutes.  Drain the water.  Cover the bowl and allow the chicken to cool further.

Skim the broth and remove any bits floating at the top.

Soak the rice noodle in hot water for 10 minutes until limp.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil over High heat.  Add the drained noodles and swirl in the hot water.  Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.  Drain the noodles and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and rinse again with cold water.  Toss the noodles to shake off the water.  Use a salad spinner to spin the noodles dry.  Cover until ready to serve.

When the chicken is cooled, remove the breast pieces and cut into thin slices.  Remove the remaining meat from the thighs and body and shred by hand or cut into thin strips.

To serve, add some rice noodles into a large bowl.  Add some sliced onions and chicken.  Ladle in a generous amount of the broth.  Top with green onions and freshly ground black pepper.  Enjoy the soup with the fresh herbs (Thai basil, sawtooth herb and cilantro), bean sprouts, and assorted chili peppers.  Add fish sauce, hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce and lime juice to taste.  Enjoy!

Yields:  5-7 servings

Tools I Love and Use in My Kitchen

    

Delicious homemade pho fast-tracked using a pressure cooker. Check out my recipe!

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup/Pho Ga would not be completed without a refreshing plate of herbs, lime wedges and chilies!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Stir-Fried Seafood Noodles (Hu Tieu Xao Do Bien)

Thick rice noodles stir-fried with abundant vegetables and tasty seafood–every time I see this scrumptious dish on a menu I have to resist ordering it because I know it’s so much better and healthier when made at home.  One of my biggest hesitations about eating out is that a lot of dishes are prepared with so much oil and then covered in a thick salty sauce.  Yes, the food tastes great but then I am left with that icky that-wasn’t-so-good-for-me feeling.  Cooking at home means I can control what goes into my food and nothing makes me happier than preparing and enjoying a healthy meal with family and friends.

This recipe is fairly simple to make and there’s no wrong ingredient to use.  Pick the type and quantity of vegetables you enjoy.  Just keep in mind the key to a perfect stir fry is cutting the vegetables to approximately the same size and then cooking the vegetables in the order of their density.  The trio of seafood: shrimp, scallops and squid is really delicious.  Learn how to add a neat texture to the squid by scoring it with a “pineapple cut”.  Don’t skip the step where we blanch the squid.  This is the trick for preventing rubbery squid and makes it super tender and succulent.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

1-14 oz package large width flat rice noodle
2 garlic cloves
1/2 small sweet onion
1 large or 2 small carrots
1 red bell pepper
3 stalks bok choy
6 large fresh shiitake mushrooms
1-7 oz can baby corn
1 squid body, approximately 1/2 lb
16 size 31/40 shrimp peeled and deveined, approximately  1/2 lb
4 extra large pound scallops, approximately 3/4  lb
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp sugar

Directions

Fill a large bowl with hot tap water and soak the rice noodle for approximately 20 minutes.  Drain in a colander and shake off excess water.

Peel and slice garlic into fine strips.  Cut carrots and peppers into thin strips approximately 1/4 inch thick.  Separate bok choy leaves and stems.  Cut the leaves into 1 inch thick strips.  Cut the onions, bok choy stems and mushrooms into strips approximately 1/2 inch thick.  Slice the baby corn in half lengthwise.

Cut along one side of the squid body using scissors and then lay the squid flat on a cutting board.  Position a knife at the lower left corner of the squid body.  Using just the tip of the knife, score the squid body with diagonal lines about 1/4 inch apart.  Don’t cut through the squid.  We are just marking it with lines.   Move to the lower right side of the squid body and  repeat the same diagonal scoring.  (This is known as the pineapple cut and makes a really nice pattern on the squid body.)  Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.  Blanch the squid for 20 seconds.  Drain and set aside.

Cut scallops so they are approximately the same size as the shrimp, first into thirds and then each section in half lengthwise.

Heat a large wok over high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add half of the sliced garlic and stir fry for 5 seconds.  Add the squid and stir fry for 30 seconds.  Add the scallops and shrimp.  Season with black pepper.  Partially cook the seafood by stir frying for just 2 minutes.  Remove from wok and set aside in a small bowl.

Heat the same wok over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add the remaining garlic and stir fry for 5 seconds.  Add carrots along with 2 Tbsp of water.  Stir fry for 2 minutes until the carrots start to soften.   Add onions, bok choy stems, 1 Tbsp water and stir fry for another minute.  Next add the peppers and stir fry for another minute.  Now add corn, bok choy leaves and mushrooms.  Combine everything well, cooking for another minute.  Add 1 Tbsp oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp soy sauce and black pepper.  Stir fry for 1 more minute.  Scoop out vegetables and put in a separate bowl.

Heat the same work over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add the rice noodle and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the chicken broth.  Turn the heat to low and cook the noodles until they are soft and all the broth is absorbed, approximately 4-5 minutes.  As the noodles are cooking, stir every minute to prevent them from sticking together.   Add the vegetables and seafood into the wok and toss everything together.  Add 2 Tbsp oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 2 Tbsp fish sauce, black pepper and sugar.  Combine everything well.  Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp is pink.  Serve while hot!

Yields:  6-8 servings

 

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