In episode three of season 1, I talked with Andrea Nguyen, author of several books, including the classic Into The Vietnamese Kitchen. We talked for more than an hour and a half on a wide variety of subjects. In the edited version, we discussed the origin of pho (plus how to pronounce it), the state of home cooking in America and Andrea’s dramatic exit from her native homeland in the late days of Vietnam War.
Andrea has been a finalist in or won pretty much of all the awards there are for food writing, including a well-deserved James Beard Award for The Pho Cookbook. She’s such a big deal, she was a clue on the TV game show, “Jeopardy!”
All of Andrea’s books are deeply researched, and her recipes clear, detailed and easy to follow whether you’re trying to make your first batch of tofu or Chinese dumplings. In The Pho Cookbook, she delves into the history of fascinating history of pho, its place in Vietnamese culture and all the nuts and bolts on how to make it yourself, from seasonings to mesh strainers.
For her visit, I made her version of Rotisserie Chicken Pho (p. 82). I chose this as it struck me as the most accessible option for novice cooks. (Also, to be honest, I’m always looking for ways to leverage leftover chicken carcasses.) My adapted recipe below doesn’t come anywhere near giving you the pho education you’ll get in her book. Learn more about Andrea and her work (plus get some more fabulous recipes) at her site VietWorldKitchen.com
Rotisserie Chicken Pho
- 8 ounces 225g napa cabbage leaves
- Medium yellow onion
- Fuji apple
- Leftover chicken carcass
- Medium celery stalk
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Small carrot
- 2- inch 5 cm section ginger root
- 2 star anise 16 points total
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 ½ inches 3.75 cm cinnamon stick
- 10 cups water 2.5L
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine seat salt
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar or 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
- 10 ounces 300g dried narrow flat rice noodles or 1 pound (450g) fresh pho noodles
- 2 to 4 large eggs
- About 8 ounces 225g chicken meat, torn into pieces
- ½ small yellow or red onion thinly sliced and soaked in water for 10 minutes
- 2 thinly sliced green onions green parts only
- Chopped fresh cilantro mint and/or Thai basil
- Sliced Fresno serrano or Thai chili
- Lime quartered
- Fresh bean sprouts
- Chili sauce and/or hoisin sauce
Prep the vegetables
- Halve napa cabbage lengthwise then cut crosswise into large pieces. Halve, then thickly slice onion. Peel, core and cut apple into small chunks. Coarsely chop celery, cilantro and carrot. Scrape skin of ginger with a spoon, then cut into thick slices.
Make the broth
- Break or cut the chicken carcass into chunky pieces. Put into a large bowl with cabbage, onion, apple, celery, cilantro and carrot near the stove.
- Put an 8-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add star anise, cloves, coriander seeds and cinnamon and toast for 5 minutes. Add ginger and onions and stir for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add 4 cups water and stir, then add contents of the carcass bowl, salt and 6 cups of water. Partially cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, and simmer for about an hour. Let rest for 15 minutes, then strain in a colander lined with muslin or coffee filters. Press on the solids to extract all the broth, then discard solids.
- At this point broth can be cooled, then stored for up to 3 days in a fridge or up to 3 months in a freezer. Keep warm or reheat well if using later. When you’re ready to use, add the fish sauce, sugar and extra salt if needed.
Prep the noodles and eggs
- Bring a pot of water to a bowl. Add the eggs and cook at a bowl for 7 to 9 minutes. Use tongs to remove to a bowl filled with ice water to cool. Peel, then halve.
- Put dried noodles in a large bowl, then pour the hot water from the eggs on top. Soak until pliable. Put a strainer over the pot, drain the water back into it, then rinse the noodles well with cold water.
- Prep selected garnishes. Bring pot of water back to a boil, add noodles to reheat and soften (up to 60 seconds), then drain well. Using tongs, divide into 4 bowls. Top with chicken, place eggs to one side and ladle in broth. Serve immediately with garnishes.
Pho photo by Vforma. This page contains affiliate links.
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