“Light and fragrant, chicken pho is the little sister of the more complex beef pho, but in no way inferior. Delicately spiced, the tender chicken and hot aromatic broth serves as a hearty breakfast meal to many Vietnamese every day. Taking less than half the cooking time of beef pho, this is my go- to option for a quick pho fix when the need strikes (which, as a Viet, is often).
The subtlety of the flavours makes this a winner for kids as well. I always loved it growing up and watching my nieces and nephew slurping a bowl down never fails to warm my heart. I hope they will grow up loving it as much as I do and maybe one day make it for their children too.”
What is chicken pho made of?
Chicken pho is made of a chicken broth with dried noodles, and toppings which include fresh chillies, Thai basil and crispy fried shallots. The warming broth is rich with star anise and coriander seeds, while a drizzle of sriracha sauce at the end provides a spicy kick.
Is chicken pho healthy?
Chicken pho is well-balanced nutritionally, with protein from chicken, vitamins from vegetables and carbohydrates from noodles.
The broth for chicken pho is made by simmering a whole chicken in water with star anise, ginger and onions. This wholesome broth is warming, and low in fat.
Chicken is a lean alternative to beef, or other red meats, while dried pho noodles are often made with just rice flour, water, tapioca flour and a little salt. Due to the noodles' high water content, they are low in fat and salt, and are great at absorbing the aromatic flavours of the broth.
Ingredients for Chicken Pho Serves: 5
Ingredients for the pho broth
Method for Chicken Pho
- Roast the onions and ginger for approximately 5 minutes directly over an open flame, until you see the juice of the onion bubbling on the surface and the ginger is fully blackened. Wash under cold water and rub the blackened outer layers away.
- In a dry pan, roast the star anise and coriander seeds over a medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Bring 3 litres of water to the boil in a large stockpot and add the whole chicken, the daikon and the roasted onions and ginger. Place the roasted spices into a spice strainer and position it carefully at the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, skimming away any foam that comes to the surface.
- Remove the chicken and place to one side to cool. Strain the broth, discarding the solids, and return to the pot. Add the fish sauce, sugar and salt to the broth and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, soak the noodles in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Drain. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the noodles for 3–5 seconds. Drain well and leave to cool.
- Remove the top and bottom of the spring onions and slice very thinly lengthwise. Soak in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes until they curl up.
- Take a handful of noodles and place into a bowl, and top with a small handful of bean sprouts. Tear the chicken into large chunks and place on top. Now ladle the broth into the bowl leaving some room for adding the herbs. Drain the spring onions and place a few on top of the chicken. Sprinkle over a couple of slices of chilli, the basil leaves and crispy fried shallots. Repeat with the remaining bowls.
- Lastly squeeze a lime quarter into each bowl to balance the flavours of the broth. Serve with hoisin and sriracha dipping sauce, and extra lime for squeezing.