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Enjoy Magazine

Recipe - Vietnamese Chicken Pho

10/04/2013 12:21PM ● By Lana Granfors

My first bowl of Vietnam’s Pho (pronounce “fuh”) soup was enjoyed over 20 years ago while visiting my son, Rusty, in Southern California.  He had raved about it and once I tasted it, I too was hooked.  Hot steaming broth, usually cooked for hours, with the aroma of ginger, anise, garlic and clove, is poured over either chicken or beef and rice noodles. You make the soup your own with your choice of any or all of the additions from what is called the “table salad”: fresh herbs, bean sprouts, limes and jalapenos. The trick is to add a little bit of each item as you eat your way through the bowl. The herbs will maintain their fragrance and color and the bean sprouts will be crunchy with each bite.  


1 whole 3 lb. chicken  

2 yellow onions, halved and sliced 

1 ½ inch fresh ginger, sliced thinly

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

6 whole cloves

½ tsp. anise seed 

black pepper

3 quarts low sodium chicken stock

2 – 3 tsp. fish sauce, for seasoning


1 1b. (16 oz.) package dried rice noodles

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 ½ cup)

Table Salad Garnish: 

½ cup torn Thai basil leaves 

1 lb. mung bean sprouts

2 limes cut into wedges

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced into rings

Asian chili-garlic sauce

Hoisin sauce


1 | Place the chicken in a large pot with onion, ginger, garlic and seasonings. Add enough chicken stock to cover chicken by one inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes. Add fish sauce to taste. 

2 | Once you have the chicken going, put the rice noodles in a large bowl, and cover them with very hot tap water. Cover with a plate to keep them hot. Soak the noodles for 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender, but still a little firm. 

3 | As the chicken simmers and noodles soak, prepare the table salad garnishes and arrange on a large platter and set out the sauces. 

4 | When the chicken is done, using tongs, remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool.  Cover the stock and keep on a low simmer on the stove. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cool enough to handle easily. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin. Shred the meat with your fingers; you should have about 4-5 cups. Cover to keep warm.

5 | When ready to serve, drain noodles and rinse well with cold water.  Divide the noodles between the large soup bowls. Top the noodles with about ¾ cup of the shredded chicken, then divide the scallions and cilantro evenly into all bowls.  Ladle the hot broth over the chicken and the noodles. Serve immediately with the platter of garnishes and sauces.  

serves 6

Prep: 25 minutes; cook TIME: 30 minutes; Total: 55 MINUTES