Lighter in flavor than the more popular beef version, chicken pho is easier to get right at home. It takes less time to prepare and fewer steps (no parboiling bones–yee!).
Alternatives to the Pressure Cooker: The key to the speediness of my pho is the pressure cooker, for which there is no substitute. However, if you don’t have a pressure cooker you might be wondering if you can still enjoy a bowl of homemade chicken pho of your own. Luckily if you find yourself in possession of a slow cooker, you can follow all of the same steps for the most part, except you will want to cook the pho for 8 hours on the low setting. Phew!
As seen in: My Favorite Season & Pressure Cooker Pho Ga
Pressure Cooker Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Rice Noodle Soup)
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Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add halved onions and ginger, cut side down. Allow the onion and ginger to char without moving them. Add star anise to roast a bit.
Add cilantro, cloves, coriander, and chicken to the pot, then cover with 2 quarts of water, fish sauce, and the sugar. Seal the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure over high heat. Cook for 20 minutes, then shock pot under cold running water in the sink to rapidly release the pressure.
Open pressure cooker. Transfer chicken to a plate and remove flesh from bones. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot and discard solids. Skim any scum off the surface of the broth, leaving any small bubbles of fat intact. Season broth with more fish sauce and sugar, as needed and to suit your individual taste.
To serve, place cooked pho noodles into bowls. Top with chicken meat, sliced onions, and cilantro. Pour hot broth over chicken and noodles. Serve immediately.