Pho Ga Recipe

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vietnamese soup pho ga with chicken and noodles on dark stone table

Pho Ga is a traditional Vietnamese chicken noodle soup that is perfect for warming up on a cold day or as a light and healthy meal. The dish is made with a flavorful broth that is infused with spices, herbs, and aromatics, and is typically served with rice noodles, chicken, and fresh herbs.

To make Pho Ga, the first step is to prepare the broth. This involves simmering chicken bones, onion, ginger, and spices for several hours to create a rich and flavorful base. Once the broth is ready, it is strained and served with rice noodles, sliced chicken, and an assortment of herbs and condiments.

While Pho Ga may seem intimidating to make at home, it is actually a relatively simple dish that can be customized to suit individual tastes. Whether you prefer a spicy broth or a milder one, there are endless variations of this classic Vietnamese soup that can be adapted to suit your preferences. So why not try making Pho Ga at home and experience the delicious flavors and aromas of this beloved dish?

History of Pho Ga

Pho Ga is a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup that has been enjoyed for many generations. Its origins can be traced back to the early 20th century in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.

During this time, pho was primarily made with beef, but chicken pho, or pho ga, emerged as a popular alternative. It is believed that pho ga was created as a more affordable and accessible option for people who couldn’t afford the more expensive beef.

Over time, pho ga became a staple dish in Northern Vietnam, where it is still very popular today. However, as pho ga spread throughout the country, different regions began to develop their own unique variations of the dish.

In the north, pho ga is typically made with a clear, light broth that is flavored with ginger and scallions. The noodles are usually thin and delicate, and the chicken is often poached and sliced thinly.

In the south, pho ga is often made with a heartier, more flavorful broth that is simmered with a variety of spices and aromatics. The noodles are thicker and chewier, and the chicken is often grilled or roasted before being added to the soup.

Today, pho ga is enjoyed all over the world, and has become a beloved comfort food for many. Its rich history and cultural significance make it an important part of Vietnamese cuisine, and a dish that is sure to continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.

Essential Ingredients


The key ingredient in Pho Ga is, of course, chicken. For the best results, it is recommended to use a whole chicken, which can be cut into pieces or left whole. The chicken should be of good quality and preferably free-range. It is important to remove any excess fat and skin before cooking to ensure a clear broth.

Rice Noodles

Rice noodles are an essential ingredient in Pho Ga. They are thin, translucent noodles made from rice flour and water. They are available in different widths, but for Pho Ga, it is recommended to use the thin ones. The noodles should be soaked in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking to soften them.

Herbs and Spices

The herbs and spices used in Pho Ga give the dish its unique flavor and aroma. The most important herbs are Thai basil, cilantro, and mint. Other herbs that can be used include sawtooth herb and culantro. Spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are also used to flavor the broth.

Broth Essentials

The broth is the heart of Pho Ga, and it is essential to get it right. The broth should be clear and flavorful, with a delicate balance of sweet, salty, and savory flavors. The broth is made by simmering chicken bones, onion, ginger, and spices for several hours. It is important to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface to keep the broth clear. Fish sauce is also added to the broth for extra umami flavor.

In summary, Pho Ga is a delicious and comforting Vietnamese noodle soup that requires a few essential ingredients to make it authentic. By using good quality chicken, rice noodles, herbs, and spices, and paying attention to the broth, anyone can make a delicious bowl of Pho Ga at home.

Preparation Overview

Broth Preparation

To make a flavorful broth for the Pho Ga recipe, it is essential to use high-quality chicken and fresh ingredients. The broth can be prepared by boiling the chicken with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cloves, coriander, and star anise. The charred onion and ginger give the broth a distinct smoky flavor.

To make the broth, start by boiling the chicken in a large pot of water. Add the charred onion, ginger, and spices to the pot and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.

Chicken Cooking Techniques

The chicken for Pho Ga can be cooked in various ways, such as poaching, grilling, or roasting. Poaching the chicken in the broth is the most common method used in Vietnam. This method infuses the chicken with the flavors of the broth and keeps it moist.

To poach the chicken, add it to the simmering broth and let it cook for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the broth and let it cool before shredding it into bite-sized pieces.

Noodle Preparation

The noodles used in Pho Ga are made from rice flour and are available in different sizes. The noodles should be cooked separately and added to the broth just before serving to prevent them from becoming too soft.

To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they are tender but still firm. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water to prevent them from sticking together.

By following these simple steps, anyone can prepare a delicious bowl of Pho Ga at home. The key to a great Pho Ga is to use fresh ingredients, take your time to prepare the broth, and cook the chicken to perfection.

Assembling the Dish

Layering Ingredients

To assemble the Pho Ga, start by placing a handful of cooked noodles in the bottom of a bowl. Next, add a few slices of cooked chicken breast on top of the noodles. Then, ladle the hot broth over the chicken and noodles. The broth should be hot enough to cook the chicken slices and warm up the noodles.

After the broth is added, top the dish with a handful of bean sprouts, a few slices of raw onion, and a few sprigs of fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, or mint. The herbs should be added at the end to retain their fresh flavor and aroma.


To garnish the Pho Ga, add a squeeze of lime, a few dashes of fish sauce, and a sprinkle of chili flakes or sliced fresh chili peppers. The lime adds acidity and brightness to the dish, while the fish sauce adds saltiness and umami. The chili flakes or peppers add heat and a spicy kick.

To finish, serve the dish with a side plate of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. These can be added to the dish as desired, allowing each person to customize their bowl to their taste.

Overall, the Pho Ga is a delicious and satisfying dish that is easy to assemble and customize. With a few simple ingredients and some basic cooking skills, anyone can enjoy this classic Vietnamese soup at home.

Serving Suggestions


Pho Ga is traditionally served with a variety of accompaniments that add flavor and texture to the dish. These can include:

  • Fresh herbs such as Thai basil, cilantro, and mint
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced chili peppers
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce

These accompaniments can be added to the soup according to personal preference. For example, some people prefer to add a lot of herbs and lime juice to their pho, while others prefer a spicier flavor with more chili peppers and sriracha sauce.

Presentation Tips

In addition to the accompaniments, presentation is also an important part of serving pho ga. Here are some tips for presenting the dish:

  • Serve the soup in large bowls with plenty of broth and noodles.
  • Arrange the accompaniments in small bowls or plates so that diners can add them to their soup as desired.
  • For a more authentic presentation, consider serving the soup with chopsticks and a soup spoon.
  • Garnish the soup with fresh herbs and sliced chili peppers for added color and flavor.

By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and flavorful presentation for your pho ga that will impress your guests and make for a delicious meal.

Variations of Pho Ga

Regional Variations

Pho Ga is a traditional Vietnamese dish that has gained popularity all over the world. As with any dish, there are regional variations of Pho Ga that are worth exploring. In the northern part of Vietnam, Pho Ga is typically served with a clear broth and thin rice noodles. The broth is made with chicken bones, while the meat is served on the side. In the southern part of Vietnam, Pho Ga is typically served with a darker broth that has a sweeter taste. The broth is made with chicken meat and bones, and the meat is served in the soup.

In addition to regional variations within Vietnam, there are also variations of Pho Ga in other countries. In Thailand, for example, Pho Ga is often served with a spicy broth and additional herbs and spices. In the United States, Pho Ga is often served with additional toppings such as bean sprouts, lime wedges, and jalapeños.

Dietary Adaptations

For those who have dietary restrictions, there are several adaptations that can be made to Pho Ga. For example, those who are vegetarian can substitute the chicken with tofu or mushrooms. Those who are gluten-free can substitute the rice noodles with zucchini noodles or rice paper. Those who are watching their sodium intake can use low-sodium chicken broth and reduce the amount of fish sauce used in the recipe.

It is important to note that while these adaptations can be made, they may alter the traditional taste and texture of Pho Ga. However, with a little experimentation, it is possible to create a delicious and satisfying version of Pho Ga that suits individual dietary needs.

Tips for the Perfect Pho Ga

Pho Ga is a Vietnamese chicken noodle soup that is flavorful, comforting, and easy to make. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect Pho Ga:

1. Use High-Quality Ingredients

To make a delicious Pho Ga, it is important to use high-quality ingredients. Use fresh chicken, vegetables, and herbs to get the best flavor. You can also use homemade chicken stock instead of store-bought to give your soup a richer flavor.

2. Toast Your Spices

Toasting your spices before adding them to the soup can help to bring out their flavor. Simply toast the star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and peppercorns in a dry pan until fragrant, then add them to the soup.

3. Don’t Overcook the Chicken

Overcooking the chicken can make it tough and dry. To prevent this, cook the chicken just until it is cooked through, then remove it from the broth and shred it. Add the shredded chicken back to the broth just before serving.

4. Add the Right Garnishes

Garnishes are an important part of Pho Ga. The traditional garnishes include bean sprouts, basil, lime, and jalapeno. These garnishes add freshness and texture to the soup. You can also add hoisin sauce and Sriracha for some extra flavor.

5. Serve Hot

Pho Ga is best served hot. Make sure to heat the bowls before serving to keep the soup hot for longer. Serve with chopsticks and a spoon, and enjoy!

Storage and Reheating

Once you have made your delicious Pho Ga, you may want to store it for later consumption. Proper storage and reheating methods can help preserve the flavor and texture of the dish.


To store Pho Ga, it is important to separate the broth, noodles, and meat. Store the broth in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. The noodles and meat should also be stored separately in airtight containers and refrigerated.


When reheating Pho Ga, it is important to reheat the broth separately from the noodles and meat. This will prevent the noodles from becoming soggy and the meat from overcooking. The broth can be reheated in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. The noodles and meat can be reheated in the microwave or in a pot of boiling water.

It is important to note that the broth may become thicker when refrigerated. If this occurs, add a small amount of water or chicken broth when reheating to thin it out.

Overall, proper storage and reheating methods can help maintain the quality of Pho Ga and ensure that you can enjoy it for days to come.

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