Chicken Pho is bowl food at it’s best. Comforting, tasty, nourishing and simple to prepare. Pho is a wonderfully versatile meal made with broth, noodles and meat. Originating in Vietnam, it’s often made with beef, but chicken is very popular too.
The broth has to be really flavorsome, so the absolute best way to start making pho involves boiling up beef or chicken bones for several hours.Whenever we have beef or chicken for dinner, I always gather up the bones and boil them right away, or I bag them up and freeze them for boiling later. This means I usually have a good store of stock in the freezer.
Good quality store-bought stock has improved a lot over the last few years, so I’ll sometimes use that (often with a bit of extra seasoning and maybe the addition of a stock cube for added flavor) if I don’t have any homemade stock.
If you want to make stock at home, simply place beef bones or a chicken carcass leftover from dinner (make sure you pick off any leftover meat, you can then wrap and refrigerate or freeze the meat for soups or stir frys) into a large pan along with a brown onion sliced in half (no need to peel), a few unpeeled carrots broken in two and a couple of sticks of celery. Completely cover everything in cold water, then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to very low and simmer for at least 3 hours – the stock should reduce by half during that time. You can then strain and season the stock.
I find one large chicken gives enough stock to make soup for 3-4 people.
Once you have some great stock, making this pho is a quick and simple process. You can have it on the table in less than 20 minutes!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 7 oz (4 nests) dried vermicelli rice noodles
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 quart homemade or really good quality store-bought chicken stock
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 3 cups fresh mung bean sprouts or 2 cup canned mung bean sprouts (drained)
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 small bunch cilantro
- 1 small bunch scallions, cut into thin strips
- 1 red chili pepper (use your favorite, I like fresno chillies) deseeded and thinly sliced into strips
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
1. Cover the noodles in boiling water and soak for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water (or cook as per pack instructions). Put to one side. Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a minute until it starts to release its fragrance. Add the stock and bring to the boil, the add in the soy sauce, fish sauce and sweet chili sauce. Stir, then add the mung bean sprouts and cooked chicken. Heat for a further 3 minutes until the the chicken is hot throughout. Turn off the heat.
3. Serve immediately – and keep plenty of napkins to hand as this is a slurpy/splashy one!