Quick Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)

November 3, 2010

I have been sick as a dog the last few days. I ache. I can’t breathe. I try to talk and instead I sound like a garbage disposal. When I called out sick to work, I had to repeat my name 3 times to be understood. I haven’t slept. When I am sick, I want something hot (to soothe my achiness), spicy (to clear my sinuses), and nourishing (to prevent me from subsisting on simple carbohydrates). I want Pho Ga.

Pho Ga was introduced to me during my middle school years, when a Vietnamese restaurant came to my New Jersey hometown and brought with it this delicious soup. Pho Ga is something I found earth shattering. It is wonderfully fragrant, smelling of anise and cloves. It allows for a taco-bar-do-it-yourself approach, as you can add as much basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, or chiles as you want. Chewy rice noodles bathe in it. This is my kind of comfort food.

I would love to make Traditional Pho Ga someday, but not when I’m sick. Anything I make while sick must take less than an hour. This version is probably not how someone from Vietnam would make a quick Pho Ga. But it’s what I improvised and I really like it, so I thought I’d share.

My Favorite Chicken Recipe on this blog: Chicken, Green Bean, Corn, Cherry Tomato, and Quinoa Salad

More on Soup: Butternut Squash and Ginger Soup and Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup

What I’m Reading:

QUICK PHO GA (improvised very liberally from Pho Ga by Steamy Kitchen)

Serves 4 as a main course



2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 6-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

1 lb raw, deboned, skinned chicken part of your choice, cut into 1 inch strips or 1 inch cubes (I used thighs)

52 oz low sodium chicken broth

4 tablespoons fish sauce

1 lb very thin rice noodles


4 tablespoons julienned basil

4 tablespoons julienned cilantro

1.5 cups bean sprouts

1/2 c chopped roasted, salted peanuts

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced into rounds


2 limes, cut into halves


Heat large pot over medium heat. Melt butter, add onion. Cook onion until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic, stirring occasionally, cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Push the onion/garlic/ginger mixture to one side of the pot, then add sesame oil to the empty side. Place crushed red pepper flakes and chicken in oil. Brown for a few minutes in the oil, then stir everything together. Stir occasionally, cooking over medium heat for ten minutes.

Add chicken broth and fish sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While waiting for the soup to come to a boil, set out toppings and let noodles soak in very hot water (about 10 minutes).

Allow soup to boil for 10 or 15 minutes (however long is most convenient for you) with the lid on. Add the soup and noodles to a bowl, garnish as you like.


3 Responses to “Quick Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)”

  1. angela Says:

    this looks amazing! and once you have basic ingredients, also cheap! can’t wait to make it.

  2. […] soups and stews: Quick Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup), Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup, Butternut Squash and Ginger […]

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