1 Yellow Onion, unpeeled
4cm Knob old Ginger, unpeeled
1kg Chicken backs, necks, or other
boney chicken parts
2 tbsp Coriander seeds, toasted
6 whole Cloves, toasted
1 Cinnamon bark (10cm)
1 tbsp Fennel seeds, toasted
Sea salt, to taste
Fish sauce, to taste
30-50g Yellow rock sugar
- 600g Dried flat rice noodles (Banh Pho), soaked in cold water for 40 minutes.
- Drain 1 white onion, sliced paper-thin, soaked in ice water for 15 minutes, drain.
- 8 Spring onions, chopped.
- Handful sweet basil leaves.
- Handful sawtooth coriander, chopped.
- 6 kaffir lime leaves, cut into thin strips.
- 4 limes, cut into wedges.
- Black Pepper, freshly ground.
Prepare the pho broth
- Chargrill the onion and ginger over gas burner until fragrant.
- Halve the ginger lengthwise and bruise lightly. Set the onion and ginger aside.
- Put whole chicken and parts in a stockpot, add cold water and cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Use a ladle to skim off. Add the onions, ginger, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon and fennel seeds and cook at slow heat, uncovered, for 25 minutes. At this point, the chicken is cooked. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Meanwhile, keep the broth at a steady simmer.
- When chicken can be handled, remove each breast half and the whole legs. Shred the chicken meat. Set aside.
- Return the leftover carcass and bones to the stockpot and adjust the heat to simmer the broth gently for another 1 ½ hours.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard the solids. Bring the broth to boil. Taste and adjust the flavour with additional salt, fish sauce, and rock sugar.
Assemble the pho bowls
- Blanch the noodle in boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Divide the noodles among eight bowls.
- Top each bowl of noodles with chicken. Place a mound of white onion, spring onion, and chopped herbs. Top with kaffir lime.
- Ladle the broth into each bowl. Serve immediately with lime wedges and black pepper.
Excerpts from the Passport to Saigon: The essential guide to Saigon’s Street Food Secrets by NamNam