Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel the onions and cut them in halves. Peel the ginger and cut it into quarter sized, thin slices. Put foil on a baking sheet, spray the baking sheet with oil, and put onion and ginger on it.
Put the baking sheet with onion and ginger into the over on 350 Degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes until the onion is yellow/golden in color. This baking process is important for the onion to have a sweet taste!
Fill a big pot with 3/4 water. Bring the pot of water to a boil, this will not be your Pho soup yet! Add the chicken into the pot (no giblets). Let it boil for 3-5 minutes. (If using beef with beef bone instead of chicken, let it boil 5-7 minutes.) This process cleans the meat of any impurities. Take the chicken out of the pot, discard the water in the pot and clean the pot. I use another, bigger, 16 quart pot to make the Pho.
Boil a big pot of water, as much water as you need for your Pho Soup (I did 32 cups water in a 16 quart pot). Add the whole chicken into the pot. Then add 5 Oz. Pho seasoning paste. I use half a jar of the Pho seasoning paste and 1 filter packet of spices. The spices stay in the packet (it’s like a tea bag) when you throw it into the soup! (The seasoning paste comes with 2 packets of spices included in the jar.) Add Salt to taste, I add 2 tsp. Add Sugar to taste, I add 4 tsp. Add in the baked onion and ginger.
Let it cook on a light boil (low-medium heat) for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. I had a 6 LB chicken and I cooked it for 45 minutes. If you are using beef, it will take 3-4 hrs to cook until the meat is tender.
In the last 15 minutes of cook time, soak the Pho noodles in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes. Boil a separate pot of water for the Pho rice noodles. When the water comes to a boil, throw in the rice noodles and a TBS of oil (this is my trick for the rice noodles not to stick together) and cook until just tender. Then run cooked noodles under cold water, mixing them, in a strainer to stop the cooking process and so the rice noodles don’t stick together. Be careful not to overcook your rice noodles or they will be too soft and fall apart in your Pho soup!
When the chicken is cooked through and soft, take the whole chicken out and turn off the burner. Discard the spice filter packet. Some people discard the onion and ginger but I like to keep it in the pot (for flavor only, but don’t serve it). Although some people like the onion, thinly cut, added to their bowl of Pho. Cut the chicken up into small strips.
To serve, put rice noodles and cut chicken pieces into bowls. Pour the Pho broth over the noodles/chicken.
Serve with sauces and a plate of the toppings (limes cut into quarters, finely chopped scallions and cilantro, sliced jalapeno pepper, washed bean sprouts and Thai basil leaves).
Everyone can add toppings of choice to their Pho soup according to their preferences!