Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup: The broth to end all broths!

That might be an extreme title but this seriously is a tasty broth!  Chicken Noodle soup has always had a big place in my heart ever since I first started cooking with Asian ingredients in my teens.  Assembling the soup was easy, using leftover chicken from the Sunday roast, noodles from the kitchen cupboard and homemade stock from the freezer.  The resulting soup always went down well but I always knew it was missing a certain something.  The true success of any authentic chicken noodle soup comes down one main factor… The broth!  For me it was always the broth, which while being rich and delicious and ultimately homely, it never quite had that extra zing to make the taste buds tingle the way a distinct Asian one would.

The solution, it seems, has two parts.  The first being the way you cook the chicken… It’s important to poach the chicken in the liquid which will go on to make the broth.  Choose a good quality bird and using a sharp knife or scissors expose and partially hack through the bones. While not the most glamorous of kitchen jobs this is an important step not to be skipped.  As the broth cooks, the bone marrow will give it a rich flavour.  The second part is the choice of spices and the preparation of the ginger and onions.  Slices of ginger and onion are charred under a hot grill or over a naked flame in order to give the broth a subtle caramelised sweetness.  Coriander seeds and star anise are toasted in a hot pan until they excitingly jump and pop and becoming wonderfully aromatic.  These two important steps ultimately result in a Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup or Pho Ga which tastes sweet, spicy, salty and with the addition of torn mint and fresh coriander leaves, truly refreshing.

Continue to the recipe for Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup…