Main Navigation Bar

Tag Archives | rice noodle

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.

Continue Reading

Lemongrass Tofu and Rice Noodles (Bun Dau Hu Xao)

Refreshing vegetarian cold noodle salad...Dig in!One of my all-time favorite dishes is Lemongrass Beef and Rice Noodles.  It is so refreshingly light and flavorful with the aromatic lemongrass, fresh greens and herbs and springy noodles.  When I decided to focus more on a vegetarian diet, this was one of the first dishes I revamped by substituting the beef for tofu.  Believe me, you won’t miss the meat.  Using firm tofu makes the dish really hearty and gives it that meaty texture.  The seasonings enhance the tofu without making it overly salty and you can still serve it with a dipping sauce.  This vegetarian version is just as flavorful as the original recipe.  So if you’re looking for a new go-to vegetarian dish, you must give this one a try.   Enjoy!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

14 oz firm tofu
1 small leek
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp minced lemongrass
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp vegetarian stir-fry sauce
4 oz bean sprouts
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts
20 oz cooked rice vermicelli/thin rice noodles

1 bunch mint, plucked and washed
1 bunch cilantro, washed
2 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup carrot and radish pickles
red chilies
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

Trim off the end of the leek and discard.  Cut off a 1/2-inch section of leek, white part, and finely mince.  Set aside on a small plate.  Cut off a 2-inch section of leek, green part, and then cut into thin strips.  Set aside on the same plate.

Remove the tofu from its packaging and gently rinse with cool water.  Pat the tofu dry using paper towels.  Cut the tofu into strips.

Heat a wok over Medium High heat and when hot add vegetable oil.  Add the minced leeks and lemongrass and stir-fry for 20 seconds.  Add the tofu and pan-fry for 5-6 minutes or until the pieces are golden brown.

Add the remaining leeks.  Drizzle the soy sauce and vegetarian stir-fry sauce over the tofu pieces.  Toss everything together and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add the bean sprouts.  Toss together and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add freshly ground black pepper.

To assemble the dish, put the chopped green leaf lettuce into a salad bowl.  Add a layer of rice noodles and then the stir-fried lemongrass tofu on top of the noodles.  Add fresh herbs and a generous amount of carrot and radish pickles.  Top with the crushed roasted peanuts.

Serve with Honey Soy Dipping Sauce, a vegetarian dipping sauce or salad dressing.

Yields:  4 servings

Continue Reading

Grilled Shrimp, Egg Rolls and Rice Vermicelli (Bun Cha Gio Tom Nuong)

Lemongrass Grilled Shrimp - A few simple ingredients makes this the easiest dish to make!Savory lemongrass grilled shrimp, crispy egg rolls on mounds of springy rice vermicelli and fresh greens–This is a favorite dish among those dining out mainly because it’s perceived as complicated with all of the different ingredients.  Yes, this dish requires a lot of ingredients and component recipes but it’s truly simple and consists of some very basic Viet recipes:  Rice Vermicelli, Carrot and Radish Pickles, Scallion Oil, and Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce  It’s the perfect dish to make at home for several reasons.  First, if you made egg rolls, chances are you have a lot leftover.  This is a great dish to make to get rid of the leftovers.  Nobody wants to waste food and I love repurposing leftovers to make other tasty meals.  The time-consuming part of making the egg rolls is already done.  This Grilled Shrimp recipe is the easiest ever and can be made in minutes.   If you don’t want to fuss with the skewers, just toss everything in a pan.  It doesn’t get simpler than that!  My final reason for wanting to make this dish at home is the restaurants never give you enough greens and herbs.  I typically double the veggies in this recipe and my bowl looks more like a big salad than a noodle bowl but this is how I enjoy it.  In fact, I highly recommend that you try this dish as a salad.   Cut the rice vermicelli into shorter strands.  Add everything into a large bowl and then toss together.  Serve the “dressing”, the fish sauce dipping sauce on the side so everyone can add as much as they like.

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients

for the Grilled Shrimp
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced lemongrass
2 tsp vegetable oil

for the Grilled Shrimp, Egg Rolls and Rice Vermicelli
2 cups shredded green leaf lettuce
4 cups cooked rice vermicelli
1 cup bean sprouts
1 bunch cilantro, washed and plucked
1/2 bunch mint, washed and plucked
1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
8 Egg Rolls/Spring Rolls
4 Grilled Shrimp skewers (see above)
1/4 cup Carrot and Radish Pickles
1/4 cup Scallion Oil
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce (to taste)

Directions

In a large bowl, add shrimp, salt, ground black pepper, garlic, and lemongrass and mix together.  Marinate shrimp for 15 minutes.

Place shrimp on bamboo skewers by piercing the head of the shrimp and then the tail so the body lays flat on the skewer.  Place approximately 4 shrimp per skewer.

Heat a grill pan over Medium High heat.  Brush the pan with a generous amount of vegetable oil.

Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 2 minutes.  Flip the shrimp over and cook and on the other side for another 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

To assemble the dish, take a large bowl or plate and add 1/2 cup of shredded green leaf lettuce.
Layer 1 cup of rice vermicelli on top of the lettuce.
Warm egg rolls in toaster oven.  Cut 2 egg rolls in half and add to the dish.
Add 4 pieces of grilled shrimp.  (You can remove the shrimp or serve on the skewer.  It’s up to you.)
Add a handful of bean sprouts
Add a few sprigs of cilantro and mint.
Add a generous amount of cucumber slices
Top the dish with the pickles.
Drizzle shrimp with Scallion Oil.
Sprinkle peanuts on top.

Serve with fish sauce dipping sauce on the side and allow each person to add as much as he/she prefers.

Yields: 4 servings

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Continue Reading

Grilled Pork with Rice Vermicelli (Bun Cha)

This dish is the perfect combination of smokey grilled meats, springy rice noodle, fresh herbs and tangy pickles.  Of course we can’t forget the essential dipping sauce which brings the whole dish together.  Serve it as a cold salad by mixing all the ingredients together.  Add the dipping sauce just before serving or serve on the side.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

8 each of Grilled Pork Patties and Skewers
6-8 cups cooked Rice Vermicelli
1 cup assorted fresh herbs: mint, spicy mint, Thai basil, perilla and Vietnamese balm
1 Persian cucumber
1/2 cup Carrot and Green Papaya Pickles – see below for the recipe
2 cups Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce

Directions 

Coarsely chop the fresh herbs.  Thinly slice the cucumber.

Layer rice vermicelli on the bottom of each bowl.  Sprinkle fresh herbs along the edge of the bowl and add the cucumber slices.

Add the grilled pork on top of the noodles.  Top with the pickles and garnish with more fresh herbs.  Serve with the dipping sauce.

Yields: 4 servings

Need a refresher on the different Asian herbs?  Check out my quick Guide to Vietnamese Herbs.

Carrot and Green Papaya Pickles

Ingredients
1/2 lb carrots
1/2 lb green papaya
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

Directions

Peel the carrots.  Cut along the length of the carrot and remove a small v-shaped section.  Repeat this step, cutting around the carrot and make a total of 3 v-shaped cuts.  Now cut the carrot into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick.

Peel the green papaya.  Cut into wedges and remove the seeds. Slice the papaya into thin slices about 1/4-inch thick.

In a large bowl, whisk together water, vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved.  Add the carrots and papaya and marinate for at least one hour.  Drain the vegetables of the pickle juice before serving.

Yields: 4 cups

Continue Reading

Vermicelli Soup with Chicken, Steamed Pork Roll and Egg (Bun Thang)

When I moved away for college, this was the dish I made regularly.  With its hearty broth, rice vermicelli, shredded chicken, steamed pork roll, fried eggs and fresh greens, this soup was (and still is) the perfect combination of Viet flavors.  It’s a dish that was pretty simple to make and I felt good about cooking some authentic Vietnamese food for myself.  My recipe hasn’t changed much over the years, except back then I varied the greens depending on what I could find.  I’ve been known to throw in bean sprouts, mint, spinach–whatever was convenient and inexpensive.  One ingredient I could never forgo when enjoying this soup was the shrimp paste.  (You simply take a dab or more of the shrimp paste and mix it in the soup.)  For those not familiar with shrimp paste, it is fermented ground shrimp with salt.  “Yikes!” you say?  Yes, it’s a pungent, potent condiment that is extremely salty.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t over-salt the broth.  It’s quite common to add salt or fish sauce to your bowl depending upon individual tastes.  And if you’re like me, you’ll load up on the shrimp paste.  If you’ve never had shrimp paste, I encourage you to give it a try and let me know if you’re a fan!

Watch the video below for instructions.

Ingredients
1.5 lbs chicken breast with ribs
1 medium sweet onion
1/2 tsp salt
10 cups water
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 lb steamed pork roll (cha lua)
4 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
olive oil or non-stick cooking spray

8-10 cups cooked rice vermicelli

1 cup Vietnamese coriander, washed and trimmed
2 red chilies, finely chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 cup cilantro, washed and finely chopped
3 green onion tops, finely diced

Directions

Peel onion and cut into large wedges.  Add onions, salt, chicken breast and water into a medium stock pot.  Make sure the water covers the chicken completely.  Heat over high heat.  As the liquid starts to boil, skim the foam from the top.  (This helps to keep the broth clear.)  Continue skimming as the broth comes to a rapid boil.  Turn heat to low.  Cover pot leaving a slight opening and simmer for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of chicken breast.  To check to see if the chicken is done, cut into the thickest part of the breast meat using a sharp knife.  If the juices in the meat run clear, the chicken is cooked.  If the juices are pink, cook for another 5 minutes and then recheck.  Remove chicken from stockpot and place on a plate.  Allow to cool until it can be handled.

Remove the onions from the broth and discard.  Season the broth by adding fish sauce and black pepper.

Remove steamed pork roll from its wrapping.  Cut into thin slices, approximately 1/8-inch thick and then cut into thin strips.

Add eggs, milk, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Whisk together until well blended.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Spritz a bit of olive oil or non-stick cooking spray into the pan.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan.  Swirl the pan so the egg is evenly distributed in the pan.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the egg is no longer runny.  Gently flip the egg over and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly.  Slice into thin strips similar to the steamed pork roll.

Use your fingers to shred the chicken into thin strips.  Remove any fat or cartilage as you’re doing this.

To assemble the soup, add a generous amount of the Vietnamese coriander to the bottom of the bowl.  Add the rice noodles on top.  Layer the shredded chicken, steamed pork roll and fried egg.  Ladle the broth covering the noodles.  Garnish with the green onions, cilantro and red chilies.

Serve with fresh limes and shrimp paste.

Yields:  4-6 servings

Continue Reading