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cups chicken broth/stock
Heat the canola oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic, ginger and star anise and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
Add the broth/stock, soy sauce and sugar/honey.
Stir well, cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
More About This Recipe
- Among noodle-soup lovers, pho, the classic Vietnamese soup, is hailed as a cure for whatever ails you.
Its deeply flavored, rich broth typically simmers for hours, but that’s a tough job in the summer. I’ve figured out a way to make it quickly—and just as deliciously!
Pho is really a soup for all seasons. Although it features hot broth, which we typically think of in winter and fall, it also calls for lots of crunchy vegetable and herb toppers, which are refreshing and cool for spring and summer. The traditional flavors in the broth are star anise, ginger and garlic. Common broth bases are chicken, fish or beef. In this recipe, I use a chicken base, which is mild enough to accommodate any protein addition. If you’re a vegetarian, use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.
Pho also happens to be great for entertaining because guests can have fun customizing their bowls of pho. The basics for pho are broth and cooked rice vermicelli noodles (don’t be tempted to cook the noodles in the broth! It creates a starchy mess). But it’s the array of toppings that puts the whole concoction it over the top.
First, make the broth.
In a large soup pot, heat a tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil and add four cloves of garlic, chopped up, and a couple tablespoons of peeled, chopped fresh ginger. Cook this over medium heat, stirring a bit for just a minute, until very fragrant. Stir in six cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth, an eighth of a cup of soy sauce and a couple tablespoons of sugar. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Strain the broth, discard the solids and return the broth to the pot.
Make the noodles.
In a separate pot, cook one pound of thin rice vermicelli according to the directions on the package. These noodles are available in Asian specialty stores or in the Asian foods section of most grocery stores. Rinse the noodles, drain them and, when you’re ready to sit down and eat, add them to the prepared broth.
If you like, add cooked meats, seafood or tofu to the noodle soup. Then layer on the standard pho toppings - any or all of the following: cilantro, Thai basil, fresh mung-bean sprouts, sliced jalapeño or other green chili, lime or lemon wedges and chili paste or Sriracha sauce.
Dig in and slurp up—even this quickie pho is great-tasting and good for you!
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Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious homemade pho recipe is inspired by the Vietnamese soup we all know and love, yet made with a few time-saving shortcuts.
Have you ever tried making homemade phở? ♡
This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup has been a favorite of mine for decades. I have yet to travel to Vietnam to officially try pho in its country of origin (hopefully someday soon!), but I have ordered it countless times in Vietnamese restaurants in the States and here in Barcelona. And this cozy, fresh, and deeply flavorful soup has a way of hitting the spot every single time. It will always be one of my favorite soups to order out. But recently, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make pho at home, and as it turns out, it’s easier than I expected!
For me, a winning pho recipe all boils down (quite literally) to the quality of its broth. In traditional Vietnamese cooking, pho broth is typically simmered for many hours in order to create that rich, layered, cozy blend of flavors that we all know and love. But while the beef stock base is traditionally made 100% from scratch — a method that is incomparably delicious, yet requires bringing home lots of beef bones and extra veggies plus an extra 2-3 hours of simmering — I’ve tested out a shortcut method using store-bought beef stock as the base for this broth instead. And while it wouldn’t be considered authentic, it turns out that this shortcut method still tastes wonderfully rich and delicious and it can be ready to go in as little as 45 minutes. Once simmered together with charred onion and ginger, a generous handful of warming spices, a hint of sweetener, plus a heaping pile of fresh herbs as garnish, I’m telling you, this homemade pho recipe is one that you are going to want to make again and again.
So if you have been wanting to try making your own homemade pho, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try!
How to Make Awesome Pho in 1-Hour | The Food Lab
There are times in life when devoting six hours to a single project seems like a good idea. Watching a Walking Dead marathon to procrastinate on the book you're supposed to be writing. Looking at funny pictures of cats and reading comments from irate atheists when you should be sleeping. Making Vietnamese beef noodle soup the traditional way on a chilly Sunday in the fall.
If it happens to be one of those times, I offer you links to Netflix, Reddit, and the perfectly functional traditional pho recipe I published last month for you.
Then there are those times when you're not in it for the long haul. Times when you'd rather just watch a 4-minute Youtube video, play the world's stupidest and shortest video game, or have dinner on the table in about an hour.
One solution for the dinner problem is to just make large batches of the traditional broth, freezing the extra in flat-laying cryo-back bags to quick and easy defrosting at moment's notice.
Another solution is to just figure out a way to make the darn stuff in record time from start to finish. My goal: full-flavored pho in 1 hour or less. I knew it was an exercise in futility to try and come up with something that tastes as rich and complex as the real deal, but I'd settle for 90% as good in 20% of the time.
Start your stopwatches, because here we go.
Traditional pho is made by simmering beef bones and meat along with a few aromatics for around 6 hours, straining the broth, then serving it with the cooked meat, some sliced raw meat, hydrated rice noodles and other garnishes.
Outside of the meat, the basic flavors of pho are pretty simple: charred onions and ginger (or a bit of sweetness, smoky depth, and pungency), star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and occasionally other spices (for aroma), fish sauce (for salt and its savory umami qualities), sugar (for sweetness, duh), and a slew of stir-in herbs and such at the finish.
There's no need to streamline the stir-ins, as they take no time at all to cook. Likewise the fish sauce and sugar.
Spices, too, have their flavors extracted in under an hour, so we can leave them alone as-is. I like to put mine in a cheese-cloth pouch, making them fast and easy to remove and discard.
Normall, I'd broil my ginger and onions or roast them directly over the open flame of a gas burner. This requires about 25 minutes of time and a couple extra pans or racks to clean. For my fast pho, I skip the oven or burner and cook my onions and ginger directly in the pot I'm going to make the soup in.
The char is not quite as even or deep, but you can get some great caramelized flavors and just enough smoky char in just about ten minutes. This gives us plenty of time to think about the meat.
Before we can devise a new method, we first have to figure out exactly what our goals are. What happens when you simmer meat in water to make a broth?
Locked in this piece of beef chuck are various aromatic molecules and texture-altering proteins.
When you simmer it, there are actually two distinct things going on. First off, we're extracting and altering flavor. As muscle fibers heat up, they contracts, expelling proteins, fats, and aromatic molecules, like toothpaste coming out of a tube. These molecules get dissolved in the liquid, adding flavor.
Simultaneously, we're altering texture. This occurs when certain proteins present in the connective tissue that runs through meat—mainly collagen—break down and are converted into gelatin, a protein with the ability to form a microscopic, loose connective matrix within the broth, making it feel thicker and more unctuous on our palate.
I decided to first focus on faster flavor extraction, then come back to work on texture. First off, starting with a good quality canned broth and doctoring it up is a pain-free way to get a quick flavor boost. Though pho is traditionally made with beef, canned beef broths are universally pretty awful, consisting mostly of flavor enhancers and tasting tinny and thin. Canned chicken broth tastes much more like homemade, and provides a relatively neutral background to build a broth upon.
My next thought was to use more cuts of beef, or to try and find a more flavorful one, but I quickly shot that one down. From my previous explorations in pho, I knew that even with the most flavorful cuts of beef, flavor extraction still takes several hours at least.
But here's the thing: that flavor resides within long muscle fibers that slowly heat and squeeze out their contents into the water. So why not just make those long fibers shorter?
Cutting the meat into small cubes speeds things up considerably, but even better is to do this:
Gross? Maybe. But fast and flavorful? You bet. I found that by grinding the meat before adding it to my simmering liquid, I could decrease the time it takes to extract flavor by a good 3 or 4 hours, getting the job done in record time.
The only downside is that after cooking, the meat becomes un-servably dry and flavorless. But since we're getting all the good stuff out of it anyway, I was perfectly content to discard the spent beef and serve my soup with some freshly sliced cooked and raw flank steak in place of the selection of long-simmered cuts.
Using ground beef poses one other problem: It clouds up the broth as bits of extracted protein and gunk dissolve too finely to be strained out. To solve that problem, I turned to a classic French technique used to make a consommé. By combining the ground meat with a bit of egg white before simmering it, the entire mass forms a single, fragile raft of proteins that float on the surface of the stock.
As the broth slowly simmers, it rises up through that raft in little geysers, falling back down its net-like structure. The raft ends up performing double duty, both adding flavor, and acting as a super-fine filter to entrap all kinds of impurities. By then carefully skimming off the raft and discarding it, you're left with a crystal-clear, brightly flavored broth underneath.
Chopping meat finely helps you extract flavor much faster, but unfortunately it does nothing for hastening the creation of gelatin.
The issue is that the conversion of collagen to gelatin is a time-dependent operation. Higher temperatures can speed the process a little bit, but with a normal pot, your temperature range is restricted to under 212°F, the boiling point of water at standard atmospheric pressure. For this reason, making a broth in a pressure cooker that can get hotter than the normal temperature of boiling water makes for a very fast broth with plenty of body. Unfortunately, pressure cookers are expensive and not everyone owns one. I wanted a way to do it without the pressure cooker.
One way to do this is to simply start with more collagen. Beef connective tissue contains some, but there are other, much more concentrated sources.
Younger animals who don't have fully developed bones or muscles have a far greater proportion of collagen in their bodies. This is the reason why veal and pork roasts have such a crazy sticky and unctuous mouthfeel. The cheapest and easiest source of young animal meat by far is chicken backs. Most commercial chickens are slaughtered at under 2 months of age. Most of their bones are not even fully hardened by this age, making them prime candidates for easy gelatin extraction.
Take a look at this broth, made with just ground beef and chilled overnight:
. versus this broth, made with beef and chicken (you can ignore the difference in color - this was due to testing different charring methods on the aromatics):
The difference is huge. A plain beef broth is watery and runny, while a chicken and beef broth is thick enough to scoop up until distinct solid pieces.
Tasted side by side, the chicken-based broth was universally favored by tasters, and none of them picked up any overtly chicken-y aromas. The beef and aromatics are strong enough that they override and underlying chicken flavor.
The broth was close, but not quite as rich as I'd like it. The solution? Just add pre-extracted gelatin. Commercial gelatin is made by processing animal bones with acidified solutions that makes gelatin extraction fast and economical.
A few packets of gelatin bloomed in the chicken broth before simmering took my broth from pretty tasty to sticky, rich, lip-smackingly delicious. The kind of broth you don't just want to lick off your own lips, but from the lips of everyone dining with you as well.
Please show some restraint when serving.
With the broth done, the rest comes together in a snap. Soaked rice noodles, a bunch of herbs and bean sprouts, come lime wedges and condiments, a few thin slices of raw flank steak that cook gently in the hot broth, as well as a few slices of flank steak that was simmered along with the rest of the broth.
Is it as great as a full-blown pho? Nope. But it's almost as good, and I guarantee it'll be on the table, ready to eat in less time than it takes you to hit 50 meters in QWOP.
Rich and Flavorful Chicken Soup
Maybe you don't feel like noodles, but you still want tender chunks of chicken and a deeply flavored chicken broth. Well, this soup's for you. The success of this recipe depends on paying attention to the little details: controlling the temperature of the chicken stock ensures perfectly cooked chicken adding the vegetables near the end of the cooking process ensures they won't get mushy and a sprinkling of minced fresh herbs right before serving gives the soup a little aromatic lift.
Pho Ga Recipe
Seems that there aren't many Pho Ga recipes here so goes:
-The quality of your chicken makes a difference here. Poultry factory chickens have the least flavor. All natural organic, real free range chickens are the best. I skip the bouillon when using higher quality chicken.
-If you have lots of save bones the better. You won't need the bouillon, or at least not as much. If you are a trained chef, you can use your chef magic to avoid the bouillon, but don't hate. It isn't cheating if my mother in law uses it.
-Some people don't use ginger or star anise. Depends where you are from. Remember, different regions have different pho. Some like aromatics some don't. Just dont start adding weird stuff like broccoli or corn or bamboo shoots etc. as garnish.
-Pho Ga is lighter than Pho Bo so dont compare them against each other. Two different dishes. There are different variations of chicken based broths you get get into. Bun Gio (if you cant find this. i can submit another recipe, which is basically the same broth, different meats and noodles)
-Most Pho Ga all have chicken bouillon in it. I've experimented with using other umami creators like kombu and shitake and the work, but change the color of the broth. if you know how to use this stuff you can mess around and figure out what works for you. if not, dont mess around with it, cuz you'll probably end up with a weird bitterness to your soup.
-Seasoning your soup is the hard part. It will take a few tries to get it right. the first time you make it, it will taste perfect as you cook the broth, then you will assemble the bowl and it will taste bland. The noodles and the veggies hold a lot of water and will dilute the soup. the soup will need to taste more potent and salty that you think. Fish sauce is your friend. Trial and error until you get the right level of seasoning. This can vary depending on the type of chicken you use as well.
-Save all your chicken carcasses from roasted chickens in the freezer. I've made this only from chicken carcasses and saved bones and it comes out good. i just used a couple of chicken breast that i had laying around. If you are an experienced cook, you'll figure out how to tweak the recipe for this.(It is hard to replace the flavor you get from the natural juices from a whole chicken though.)
One whole chicken plus any bones you may have in the freezer(an extra chicken carcass is ideal)
1 tsp whole black peppercorn
(1 Tablespoon of chicken bouillon)
Pho noodles (only buy the fresh ones. dry ones are never very good.)
Vietnamese mint (if you can find it)
Diced cilantro and scallion
Fried shallots (You can buy this at the store) This is important for flavor. Wont be the same without it.
The shitake mushroom add some umami to the soup. if you use them the soup will have a darker color. if you want a lighter soup, you can skip the shrooms and add touch more bouillon.
-Cut onion in half, cut ginger is half lengthwise. Leave skin on both. Roast over open flame to char or put in broiler to char.
-Boil 4-6 quarts of water add onion, ginger, star anise and peppercorn. ( Put anise and pepper in a ball strainer for easy removal.)
-Add chicken and additional bones if you want. Simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked. Use a meat thermometer to read 150 in the breast. Remove the chicken and let it cool enough to handle. The chicken will cook more while it rests. Around 30 min. If you skim the fat now it will be nice and clear, there will be more to be skimmed later. you can use the clear fat in bowl when you serve if you want.
-Pick the chicken. Keep the thigh meat and breast meat separate, as the thigh meat may not be totally cooked yet. Make sure you pick the breast into strips along the grain of the muscle. Store the thigh meat for whatever else you want.
-Put carcass and ALL other bones and skin, fish sauce, mushrooms (Take them out after 45 min), bullion (optional)into pot and boil for 2-3 hours. Don't go too long or else you'l get a stickier soup. Pho ga should be light in texture.
-Remove star anise and peppercorn after an hour. You wont really taste it much, it is there to add fragrance to the soup. Some people skip the anise all together.
-Strain all the bones and junk out of the soup and skim most of the fat. You can save the fat if you want to add some back to the soup when you serve.
-At this point the soup needs to be more potent than you think. If it tastes perfect at this point it will be bland once you add noodles and veggies.
-Add some fish sauce until it tastes more salty and potent than you think you need.
Blanch your fresh pho noodles and shake excess water. (fresh pho noodles will actually absorb most of the excess water while the sit in the bowl waiting for the broth while you add the rest of the garnish.) the more water from the noodles the more diluted the broth will be.
Put sprouts in bottom of the bowl, this cooks the sprouts better. Add some noodles then chicken then scallion and cilantro and fried shallot. Cover with soup. Add other veg/hot sauce and enjoy.
If it is still bland add a tbsp of fish sauce to your bowl. it sounds like it will be gross, but fish sauce is the best soup seasoning EVER. it works in nearly all soups. it add that missing component. amazing stuff, really.
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ½ cup water
- 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
- ½ cup sliced bamboo shoots, drained
- 3 slices fresh ginger root
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (Optional)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg, beaten
In a saucepan, combine the chicken broth, water, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Place the chicken slices into a bowl and toss with the sesame oil to coat. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and vinegar, and set aside.
Increase the heat under the broth to medium-high, and return to a rolling boil. Add the chicken slices. Return to a boil, and then drizzle in the egg while stirring slowly to create long strands of egg. Stir in the vinegar and cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and the broth has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Serve garnished with green onions and cilantro.
Easy Chicken Pho: Recipe
RECIPES | Pho is one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes, the complex broth and fresh herbs creating a wonderfully tasty soup that delights every time we eat it. One of the downsides of making pho at home is that to do it properly it takes a lot of time. On our most recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City we visited Ho Chi Minh Cooking Class and discovered a recipe for a quicker, chicken based pho that provides much of what we love about a traditionally prepared bowl of pho in a much shorter time. Chef Tan, owner of the cooking school was kind enough to allow us to share his recipe on The City Lane, a recipe we’ve used several times at home since.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 1.5 hours / Serves 6
- 50g whole fresh ginger
- 3 star anise
- 10 cloves
- 3 cinnamon quills
- 3 cardamom pods
- 100g shallots
- 2kg chicken bones
- 200g chicken thighs
- 10 black peppercorns
- 3tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
- 1tbsp table salt
- 3tbsp white sugar
- 1tsp ground black pepper
- 1kg rice noodles (banh pho)
- 1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 long red chillies, finely sliced
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch fresh Vietnamese mint
- 1 bunch fresh Vietnamese coriander
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- chilli sauce and hoisin sauce to taste
- Place the chicken bones into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil for 3 minutes, then remove and rinse the bones with cold water.
- Cut the shallot in half and, along with the ginger, roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.
- Heat a fry pan or wok and add the star anise, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns. Toss them for a minute then put them into a small, sealed fabric bag with small holes (like a tea bag, or muslin cloth).
- Place the chicken bones, bag of spices, ginger and shallot into a large saucepan. Cover with
You can use beef bones and beef brisket for a more traditional pho, but this will increase the bone simmering time in step four to four hours, and the brisket will need to go in for the final hour.
Mentsuyu (Japanese Noodle Soup Base)
Before I get into the process of making Mentsuyu, let me take a moment to explain the difference between Kansai and Kantō-style noodle soup broths. Technically speaking, Kansai refers to an region of Japan that includes Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Nara and Wakayama prefectures, while Kantō is comprised of Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures. But Kansai vs Kanto isn’t just about regional designations, it’s an epic rivalry akin to Pepsi vs Coke, Red Sox vs. Yankees, or Tupac vs. Biggie.
Despite being separated by a scant 150 miles, Kansai and Kantō have two distinct culinary cultures. Perhaps the most obvious difference is in the type of soy sauce that’s used for making broths. In Kansai, usukuchi(薄口) soy sauce, which literally means “light taste”, is the norm. True to its name, usukuchi soy sauce has a light caramel hue and mild soy flavor. Kantō on the other hand uses koikuchi (濃い口) soy sauce, which has the typical coffee brown color that comes to mind when you think “soy sauce”.
Although I live in Kantō, I prefer using Usukuchi soy sauce for my Mentsuyu because it has a lighter color and mild flavor that keeps the soy sauce from overpowering the delicate dashi broth. Also, because usukuchi has about 10% more salt than regular soy sauce, you can use less of it in your soup, giving it a golden amber hue that accents the colors of the ingredients rather than concealing them in a murky brown broth. Usukuchi soy sauce from brands such as Kikkoman should be available in any Japanese grocery store, and you can also find it online on Amazon.
The other key ingredient you’re going to need are dashi packs. These are essentially tea bags filled with the ingredients for making Japanese soup stock, including katsuobushi (smoked skipjack tuna), and konbu(kelp). If you get a good brand of dashi pack, the resulting stock is indistinguishable from a dashi made from scratch. In fact unless you’re using the very best konbu and freshly shaving your katsuobushi, it’s probably going to taste better. My favorite brand of dashi pack by far is Kayanoya. They’re not cheap, but are worth the price, taking into consideration their convenience and taste.
Finally, a few of you are probably going to ask, so I generally don’t like to use mirin in my Mentsuyu, because most mirin found in grocery stores is just corn syrup, grain alcohol, salt, MSG and preservatives. That’s why i’d rather just increase the amount of sake and add a bit of sugar for sweetness. If you can find real brewed mirin and would rather use it, you can substitute out some of the sake for mirin and ditch the sugar.
As for how to use it, the easiest way to think about Mentsuyu is as a more flavorful soy sauce. Whisk it together with some lemon juice, oil and minced shallots for a flavorful salad dressing. Use it as a sauce for steamed fish. Add it to western soups and stews to pile on the umami and add a subtle smoky note. And of course you can use it for its intended purpose: as a soup or dipping sauce for noodles. To make a dipping sauce for cold noodles you’ll want to dilute it with 3-4 parts water for every 1 part of Mentsuyu. For noodle soups such as udon and soba, you’ll want to thin it out with a ratio of around 10-11 parts water for 1 part Mentsuyu.
- 3 stalks scallions
- 10 g cilantro
- Thai basil (for serving)
- red onion (for serving)
- soy sprout (for serving)
- lime (for serving)
- Sriracha (for serving)
- hoisin sauce (for serving)
- cutting board
Finely chop scallions and cilantro. Add noodles, chicken, cilantro, and scallions to a bowl and cover with hot broth. Serve with Thai basil, thinly sliced red onion, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. Season to taste with Sriracha and hoisin sauce. Enjoy!
Broth-Based and Delicious
As you can see, brothy soups aren’t just limited to the kind of tasteless, single-ingredient soups that they serve in the hospital.
Broth-based soups can be made up of pretty much anything, from seafood to veggies, or even hearty beef.
Try incorporating one or two of these tasty soups into your dinner rotation and taste the deliciousness for yourself.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.