I don’t know when I decided it was my favorite, but I can assure you it has earned the coveted title.
While there are many other foods I really love, I can’t think of any that contain the goodness, flavor and purity that pho does. I crave it when I feel sick, and I know it’s good for both body and soul.
Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is the most popular food in Vietnam, often eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is made from a special broth that simmers for several hours infused with exotic spices and served over rice noodles with fresh herbs. Its broth is unmistakable, and if you find a recipe that doesn’t call for special spices, then it’s not Pho….that’s pho sho…
It does take some effort to prepare…and if you have never eaten pho before, I recommend you go to a reputable Vietnamese restaurant and try it first before making it, so you know what flavors you are looking for.
The most popular pho soup is the beef, which I also love, but today we will make chicken because I was in the mood…and there is just something about chicken broth that makes me feel like a million bucks.
So without phother ado-
Vietnamese Chicken Pho Recipe
Makes 4 quarts of soup, or 4 large bowls
2 Tbsp fish sauce (check ingredients for GF)
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp rock sugar (or regular sugar)
2 Tbsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cloves
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 knub ginger
1 4-5lb chicken
2 pounds chicken bones (optional)
Rice noodles-medium thickness
Thai chilis or jalapeno
The broth of the Pho is the most important part. The addition of the spices, ginger and onion are imperative for the authentic flavor.
Start by charring your onions and ginger. Cut onions and ginger in half and place under the broiler on the top rack for 15 minutes or until charred. You could also grill them if you have a grill. Once charred remove from heat and peel away charred parts.
Rinse your chicken and add to a large stock pot (12 quart). Add 5 quarts of water, the chicken bones (if you have them) the ginger and onions, and the fish sauce, sugar and salt.
Toast your cinnamon, star anise, coriander, and cloves over medium heat for about 30 seconds to a minutes. Add to pot. (You can collect the spices in a tea ball or infuser if you have one, although it’s not really necessary.)
Bring to boil. Once boiled, bring heat down to medium/medium low until it is simmering.
After 30-45 minutes remove your chicken and let cool. Continue to simmer broth.
Once cooled, de-bone your chicken and return carcass to pot. Tear chicken into bite size pieces and set aside.
Continue to simmer broth for an additional 1-2 hours. Taste the broth to adjust salt/sweetness to your preference. Once cooked, strain broth through a fine mesh sieve.
(Please note, you can eat your soup at this point, but if the broth is too fatty you may want to refrigerate the broth overnight and remove hardened fat. Reheat the broth and continue recipe.)
Add the chicken pieces back into the broth. Chop up a couple of green onions and add to soup.
Cook your rice noodles according to package.
To assemble your soup, add your cooked rice noodles to a large bowl, then ladle the chicken soup over the noodles. Add cilantro, thai basil, lime, chili pepper and bean sprouts. Add a little sriracha for added heat if you’d like.