Updated: Apr 22, 2021
This last week has been a lot of fun in our kitchen as we have turned some of our attention to our Saturday Brunch Café. We recently onboarded a new cohort of participants whose responsibility is to cook and run this operation. This provides ideal real-world training in how to work in a commercial kitchen as they are cook for and serving real customers! Not only that but they are also being tasked with creating their own dishes which will be featured each week along with all of our other brand new menu items. This last week, Jennifer, one of our newest participants who is originally from Vietnam created a wonderful chicken pho. She shared a story with me about how she learned to make it from her husband who had worked in restaurants. Many years ago, after moving to the U.S. she was craving pho but none of it here tasted as she remembered in Vietnam so her husband made it for her and showed her how he did it. She was so happy to have that taste of home once again and to this day she says she only makes it at home and never orders it because it just doesn’t taste the same to her!
Below is her recipe as she showed me how to make it. My wife loves pho too so now I can make it for her and pass it along! Jennifer also says that she makes both beef and chicken pho but prefers making the chicken as it is so much quicker and gives a lighter flavor. She also says a spice which we know as Chinese Black Cardamom (not the same as green cardamom) is key to chicken pho. It has a unique, light licorice flavor that pairs wonderfully with chicken. Check your local Asian market!
Jennifer’s Chicken Pho Broth 1 Whole Chicken 1 White or Yellow Onion 3 Shallots 2 Inch piece Ginger 1 Bunch Scallion, cut in 1 inch pieces 1 Tablespoon Fennel Seeds 1 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds 3 or 4 Whole Black Cardamom Pods 1 Star Anise Optional: 1 or 2 Tablespoons Chicken Powder (bullion)
Wash the chicken thoroughly inside and out. Jennifer uses some vinegar to was as well. This creates a clearer end broth.
Place the chicken in a large pot with enough water to just about, but not quite, cover.
Meanwhile, wrap the onion, shallots, and ginger separately in aluminum foil. Place directly over a hot flame on the stove and roast until the exterior skins begin to blacken, about 5-7 minutes. This can also be done in a very hot oven.
Once cooled, open the foil packets and peel the onion and shallots, removing any blackened skin. Add the onion, shallots and ginger to the pot with the chicken.
In a dry pan toast the black cardamom, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and star anise until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Place spices in a tea bag or wrap in cheesecloth and add to the pot with the chicken
Bring the pot to a very gentle simmer over a low flame. Cook approximately 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through. While cooking, skim the broth of any white foam or impurities.
Remove the chicken and strain the broth into a separate pot.
To the broth add the scallion pieces along with salt to taste and the optional chicken powder
Once the chicken cools, shred into pieces and set aside
Serve the broth with vermicelli rice noodles (cooked by package directions) along with the chicken. You can also add cilantro, lime juice, sriracha, and hoisin to your taste!