Andrea Nguyen cracks the code of making pho for the home cook
/*-->*/There’s something instantly soothing about a steaming bowl of pho. But the traditional Vietnamese dish doesn’t have to be relegated to take-out and restaurants. This pho soup recipe uses a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking time and save you hours of simmering. Even better, the broth is made with big chunks of onion and ginger–no fussy knife skills necessary.
Andrea Nguyen, the author of several books about Asian food including The Pho Cookbook (Ten Speed Press; $20), loves her 6-qt. Fagor Duo pressure cooker to make pho, but you can also use a 6-qt. Instant Pot. That said, you can also go low-tech and make this recipe in a stockpot; just allow more time.
Start by toasting coriander seeds and whole cloves in your pot or Instant Pot until you can smell the spices, about 2-3 minutes. Next, toss in large pieces of onion and ginger and stir them around until they are browned on the edges. Add half of the water and the chicken, breast side up, before filling with the rest of the water, apple, cilantro, and salt. Lock the lid in place and bring the cooker to a low pressure (8 psi) over high heat. Cook for 15 minutes before moving the cooker to a cool burner (or turning it off) and letting the pressure decrease until it’s safe to remove the lid, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, soak the thin rice noodles in hot tap water until they are opaque and pliable, about 10 minutes. Rinse and drain the noodles well before dividing them among your bowls.
Carefully strain your broth before seasoning with fish sauce, salt, and sugar to taste. If you're serving more than four people, you’ll want to set everything up assembly-line style and have everyone quickly fill their bowl to make sure the soup doesn’t get cold.