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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).


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


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!

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Sweet Fillings for Desserts and Pastries: Mung Bean and Coconut, Pumpkin Spice

Mung Bean and Pumpkin Filling Balls | recipe from runawayrice.comThis recipe is a two-parter.  In Part 1, below, I share the recipe for making a sweet mung bean and coconut filling–a more traditional recipe.  If you’re looking for a different fusion of flavors, check out my second filling recipe where I use pumpkin.  In Part 2 (to be released next week), I use these fillings to make scrumptious Sesame Balls.  The mung bean balls are familiar and delicious but my favorite is the pumpkin filling.  I love the combination of pumpkin and spice and the flavors go so well with the fried sweet dough.  It is decadent and I hope you’ll give it a try!

Notes on the Recipe, Tips and Tricks

The key to making a good filling is cooking it just right so it’s not too dry or too wet   If it’s too dry you won’t be able to roll it into a ball.  If it’s too wet, it becomes difficult to encase with a layer of dough as it will stick to your fingers and the dough.  Also keep in mind, moisture content is different when using freshly mashed mung bean versus previously frozen and thawed mung bean.  I always have to add more water to the previously frozen mung bean to get the balls to form nicely.  If you want a creamy, richer taste, you can always add more vegetable oil as I only use a minimal amount in my recipe.  The pumpkin filling has more moisture and the cooking time is longer.  Please note these balls tend to be wetter than the mung bean balls.  For the pumpkin filling, if I have the time, I’ll refrigerate overnight.  This helps to dry them out further.

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Mooncakes with Sweet Red Bean Filling (Banh Trung Thu / Banh Nuong Nhan Dau Do), Snowskin Mooncakes Part 1: Making the Syrup and Taro Root Filling (Banh Deo: Cach Nau Nuoc Duong, Lam Nhan Khoai Mon) and Salted Egg Yolks.

Mung Bean and Coconut Filling

9 oz mashed mung bean
3 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut flakes


Combine water and sugar over Low heat until sugar is dissolved.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the mashed mung bean, simple syrup, oil and vanilla extract.

Mix together forming a thick paste.  Continue stirring the filling as it cooks.  After 3-4 minutes the filling dries and has the consistency of a thick dough.  Turn off the heat and add in the coconut flakes.  Combine well.

When filling is cool enough to handle, roll into even-sized balls.  (It’s easier to roll into balls when the filling is still warm.)  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields:  1 dozen balls

Pumpkin Spice Filling


15 oz can pureed pumpkin
2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp vegetable oil


Combine water and brown sugar over Low heat until sugar is dissolved.

In a large skillet over Medium Low heat, add the pureed pumpkin, all spices, vanilla extract, oil and melted sugar.  Mix together.

Stirring frequently, cook the filling for 10-12 minutes or until it has the consistency of a thick dough.

When the filling is cool enough to handle, roll into even-sized balls.  (It’s easier to roll into balls when the filling is still warm.)  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yields:  1 dozen balls

Delicous and easy recipe for Mung Bean Filling Balls | recipe from

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Vodka 5-Spice Marinade (Ruou Thom)

Vodka 5-Spice Marinade | recipe from runawayrice.comThis 5-spice marinade is an easy to make, must-have seasoning.  It works wonderfully with all types of meats and seafood.  Add a splash to noodles and veggie stir-frys to perk up the flavors.  I love the fragrant yet subtle taste.  Go ahead and make a few extra bottles and give them to your family and friends.  They will love it!

Check out these yummy recipes using the Vodka 5-Spice Marinade:

Asian-Style Beef Short Ribs (Suon Nuong)

Roast Duck (Vit Quay)
Grilled Pork Patties and Skewers (Thit Nuong)
Grilled Pork Sandwich (Banh Mi Thit Nuong)
Sizzling Shaken Beef (Bo Luc Lac)
Savory and Sweet Sautéed Chicken
Crispy Noodle and Beef Stir-Fry (Mi Xao Gion/Don)

Watch the video below for instructions.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like: Vietnamese Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (Traditional Recipe) (Nuoc Mam Cham) and Caramel Sauce (Nuoc Mau).


2 cups vodka
1 tangerine
1 cinnamon stick
5 star anise
10 cloves
20 peppercorns


Peel the skin from the tangerine and place by a sunny window.  Allow the skin to dry for a day.

Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add all spices and toast in pan for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Take a 3×3 inch section of the tangerine skin and cut into thin strips. Pour vodka into a glass bottle filling it almost to the top.  Drop in the tangerine strips and toasted spices. Fill the bottle to the top with vodka and securely seal with a cap.

Allow the spices to infuse in the vodka for at least 30 days.

Store the marinade in your cupboard for no longer than 1 year.

Yields:  2 cups

The Essential Asian Five Spices | recipe from






Vodka 5-Spices Marinade | recipe from
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