Easy Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) + Halloween FINGER food!

Pho Ga. Ever hear of it? It’s Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. This is NOT your Bubbies’ Chicken Noodle Soup, but it’s just as soothing and just as delicious, albeit a lot more spiced and exotic.

I like to call it Vietnamese Penicillin.

That said, one cool aspect of food blogging is that someone in the publishing world might see your blog and think you’ve got the skill, creativity, talent and chops to write and maybe even photograph your own cookbook.  There have been several bloggers who are working on, or have cookbooks published, and one of them just so happens to be this month’s Daring Cooks host, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen.  This gal’s got mad talent, and her blog is a joy to ogle, drool over and read, so I can completely understand why she’s now the author of a cookbook that’ll most definitely sell like hotcakes.  Congrats, Jaden!

Easy, 30 minute Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.  If you’re a lover of Asian food, this book is right up your alley.  If you’re not, it’ll make you one!  *Not so subliminal message*  Buy this phoking book!  Thanks for sharing these recipes with us, Jaden!

Easy, 30 minute Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

As you’ve probably figured out by the title of this entry, we’re making soup, but not just any soup, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle soup (Pho Ga).  Pho is pronounced ‘fuh’, so you just know I’m going to have a field day with this one.  To say this soup is fanphokingtastic is an understatement.  This soup is fanphokingtastic and fanphokingtabulous.

We were given the option of making the chicken aka Pho Ga soup (Ga is Vietnamese for chicken), Jaden’s beef version, or seafood, pork  or vegetarian/vegan, if desired.  I decided to stick with the chicken, but I’ll most definitely be trying her beef version, especially after smelling, tasting, almost wanting to bathe in the chicken version.

Easy, 30 minute Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Straight from the mouth of Jaden: So what is Vietnamese Pho? Well, it’s like the most insanely delicious noodle soup that’s popular in Vietnam. The broth is simmered for hours and hours with either beef knuckle/leg bone or with a whole chicken. Other accompaniments include ribbons of rice noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, a wedge of lime or lemon, fresh bean sprouts and fresh sliced chilies if desired.

What makes this Pho Ga so different than any other type of chicken noodle soup is the spices that go into the simmering broth. Warm spices like coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger transform an ordinary broth into a very authentic Vietnamese Pho.

Easy, 30 minute Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Jaden also gave us a choice of making her quick version of Pho Ga or making her long simmering pot of homemade stock ‘version’ of Pho Ga.  Since I had several quarts of homemade chicken stock in my freezer, I decided to make the quick version of Pho Ga.  This frozen stock is the bee’s knees (first time I ever used that phrase), and most definitely Bubbies’ version, so I suppose you could call my Pho Ga Jewishnamese Penicillin.

What makes Pho Ga unique, as mentioned above, whether it be the long, simmering version or the quick version of Pho Ga, is the spices and aromatics.  OMG, the smell of the Pho Ga broth simmering will you bring you to your knees .You char an onion and a knob of ginger, scraping off the charred skins, and toast some star anise, coriander seeds and cloves, then dump them into a pot along with sugar, fish sauce, a whole chicken and water (long, simmering version) or chicken stock and one whole chicken breast (short version).  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and voila, phoking Pho Ga heaven with lots of accouterments and a damn good cure for my cold (on its last legs, but still annoying).

Finally, Jaden also has a great recipe for chocolate wontons which we were asked to make along with the soup.  The fun part is, whoever comes up with the most unique, creative sweet wonton filling, will win a copy of her new cookbook.


I took a Snickers bar, chopped it into pieces, and that’s my filling.  I have to admit, it was really phoking good!  Naturally, I couldn’t just sit with that, so I also made some unique PB & J (My spiced plum chutney from the Dosa challenge, hot chili peanuts, and coconut) mini eggroll wontons at the last minute (try 10 minutes ago).  Now I feel better.  Disturbing, huh?  The truth is, they sucked, but I tried.


As always, please check out the Daring Cooks Blogroll for all the cool Pho’s and super creative sweet wontons.  I saw some in the Daring Kitchen forum, and I know one thing for sure..Phogeddaboutit, I ‘ain’t’ winning squat!

Easy 30 minute Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

30 Minute Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Chicken Pho Broth
  • 2 tablespoons.whole coriander seeds
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
  • 1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
  • ½ of one onion
  • 1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons.sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons.fish sauce
  • 1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide):
  • 2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off *
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
  • ½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
  • ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
  1. To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
  2. In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  4. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers or slice it like I did, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
  5. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  6. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
  7. Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded or sliced chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
  8. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.
* I like the tails on the bean sprouts, so I leave them on. A matter of choice.

Chocolate Wontons
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 12 chocolate wontons
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon.water
  • 12 wonton wrappers, defrosted (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
  • 12 pieces or nuggets of chocolate (use any type of chocolate you like)
  • High-heat oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
  • Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.
  2. On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down witha point toward you, like a diamond.
  3. Place 1 piece of chocolate near the top end of the wrapper. Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper.
  4. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up to create a triangle and gently press to remove all air from the middle. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.
  5. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and chocolate pieces. Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying.
  6. In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil. Heat the oil to 350º F (180º C) and gently slide a few of the chocolate wontons into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the chocolate wontons.
  7. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp.

Halloween FINGER food!

OK, now I need to inject a little Halloween into this post, since Halloween just so happens to be my favorite holiday of all time.  I made you all a lovely, little spread of finger foods, but not just any finger food, actual FINGER food!

Witch's Finger Breadsticks

 Hairy Witchy Finger Breadsticks From Scratch

Hairy Witchy Finger Breadsticks from a Can

Witch's Finger BreadsticksCrispy Cheddar Cracker Witch's Fingers

Crispy Cheddar Cracker Witch’s Fingers (Like Cheez-Itz, but better!)`

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies
(I used red tinted melted white chocolate for the blood, instead of jam, and colored the witch’s finger dough green)

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies

Head on over to my spooky story and MORE about these fabulous FINGER foods over at The Daring Kitchen!

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Leave a Reply

  1. Unique PB & J (spiced plum chutney, hot chili peanuts and coconut) wontons sound like a winner to me Lisa. And the pictures of the chicken phở look fabulous love that line of chillies in the stock this is one wonderful soup so fresh and light yet so full of flavour. Well done on this challenge good to hear the cold is slmost gone.

  2. I love pho noodle soup! Your bowl of soup is picture perfect. Love the chocolate wontons too. I would love to try your PB&J version. All those flavors together sound wonderful!

  3. You got to be kidding right? I am the one going to win the LEAST CREATIVE wonton filling… I just did a little piece of chocolate in the wonton… haha.. still delicious though but well.. not so creative I guess… Your pho looks awsome! O and by the way; I love the idea of putting snickers in the wontons! I think that IS actually very creative!

  4. You are too pho-nny!
    And darn it all, I don’t even like Asian food, but this looks and sounds SO good. (I used to love it, then 11+ years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest, I couldn’t stand the smell or even mention of Asian food. Kind of annoying.) BUT, when I do “give in” and have some or even cook it, I like it, so–weird!
    Love all your yummy looking food here and for the record, I’d totally go for the Snickers wonton!

  5. Pho is my favorite soup. Since leaving Seattle (a hot bed of Asian food and where I worked with some awesome Vietnamese chefs) 6 years ago…I have missed it so very much. I can’t wait to try this version!

  6. Wonderful job, both your pho and your wontons are so appetizing. I love that you said phoking, I laughed out loud!

  7. Oh, great job! I loved all your phoking comments (I so wanted to ladle my blog with them, but I tried to restrain myself…it was hard). I think your egg rolls rock my socks off. I want one.

  8. Awwwesome as always!! I agree, this was phoking amazing and you’re right, it’s the penicillin for people who are allergic. I always have pho or something similar when I am not feeling well.

    PS, the wontons look great too!

  9. Great job, as usual! And at least your wontons didn’t explode in the pan (like half of mine did). You should totally try the beef version though, you’ll love it!

  10. Don’t count yourself out. You put out another top notch blog with absolutely delicious looking pho. I think I had the H1N1 and should have made the chicken. Would rather inject myself with your pho than the government innoculation.

    I also am having charred onion envy. Great work.

  11. Gorgeous photos. Who wouldn’t want to make this soup with all of that beautiful produce? I haven’t made the leap from Daring Bakers to Daring Cooks yet, but this challenge really makes me want to.

  12. This is a very healthy and delicious looking soup…
    and what not to like with all the flavours you used I bet you
    you was hungry from the aroma filling your kitchen.
    I like all kind of chicken soups they are healhty and comforting .

    like Your chocolate Wontons too.

  13. It was an amazing soup. I have not had it before at a restaurant. I liked the flavors.

    Yours of course looks amazing. You always have such great photos!

  14. Wow, what an amazing post! I don’t even know where to begin … the laughs, the soup, the wantons?! All spectacular. I want a bowl of this for lunch and one of your snickers wantons for dessert … for phoking real! 😉

  15. The pho looks really good… but those wontons… I can’t get the chocolate ones out of my head! Brilliant idea to fry some snickers – they are already bad for your waistline anyway – why not just throw everything out of the door! I definitely would for this!

  16. These photos are amazing and I love your fried wontons – too delicious for a Friday morning – makes me want to go and skip the rest of the day and just cook something tasty! 🙂

  17. Wow I’m so behind on my blog stalking! Loved this post! I especially LOVED the dessert aspect-both wonton desserts looked and sounded amazing! You are so creative and you never disappoint! 🙂

  18. Lisa… Your pho and wontons look terrific! I’m sitting her and my stomach is growling just looking at the photos. Also, a wonderful write up with a lot of humor intertwined. I think the carnival food concessioners will steal your idea of snickers wontons and pbj wontons with chutney. Both sound decadent and delicious.

  19. I have a serious weakness for Vietnamese soups. This one looks spectacular. Just perfect really any time of year – even summer with that refreshing lime.

    Are you doing the DB challenge this month?

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