Note: All the ingredients for this recipe can be found at Asian grocers. If you do not have a herb bag, you can use muslin or chux cloth. Rock sugar can also be replaced with raw sugar, but using half the quantity.
For the pho stock – halve the ginger and onion lengthways and place on lined baking tray. Place under a hot grill for 15 minutes, turning occasionally to achieve an even black char. Fill a large stockpot two-thirds with water and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the chicken bones. Give them a good stir then strain, keeping the bones and discarding the water (this process removes the impurities from the chicken to give you a clear and clean broth).
Place the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and peppercorns into a herb bag and add to a pot along with the charred ginger, onion, salt, chicken bones and rock sugar. Fill with 4 litres of cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 hours, ensuring you skim off any fat or scum that develops on the surface. After 2 hours, bring the stock pot to a boil and add the chicken breast. Turn off the heat, cover the pot with a lid and steep the chicken for 30 minutes. Remove the breasts from the stock and set aside to rest. Strain the stock into new pot, discarding the used ingredients.
To serve – prepare the rice noodles as per packet instructions and divide into soup bowls. Slice the chicken thinly and divide between the bowls. Reheat the stock and garnish with bean shoots, coriander, spring onion, Thai basil, lime and crispy shallots. Serve with fish sauce and sriracha chilli sauce.
3kg chicken carcasses, cut into thirds
1kg free range chicken breast
3 brown onions, peeled
3 cinnamon quills
2 tablespoons star anise
3 Chinese cardamom pods
2 tablespoons white peppercorns
3 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons rock sugar
1 packet fresh pho noodles
1 bunch coriander leaves
½ bunch spring onions, julienned
250g bean shoots
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 bunch Thai basil leaves
4 tablespoons crispy fried shallots
fish sauce, to taste
sriracha chilli sauce