Monday, January 5, 2009

Quick and Easy Chicken Pho

Ahhhh. Now that my pregnancy is all out in the open, I can tell you about all the cravings I've been having. The drama of it all has subsided a bit, but a few weeks ago, it was like "I MUST EAT PEACH PIE! I MUST HAVE IT NOW!"......2 hours later.... "I NEED PROTEIN! LET'S GO OUT FOR CHEESESTEAK SANDWICHES!" It's been a little nuts, but at least its been fun to follow my stomach into culinary heaven.

Last night I was dying for Pho, the delicious and healthy Vietnamese noodle soup that is simply to die for. But, since we're trying so hard not to eat out right now, I thought, how hard can it be to make? And I picked up all the things I thought I'd need at the store: basil, bean sprouts, limes, and lemongrass. I did pretty well, but when I got home and googled a gazillion recipes trying to find one that would match all my existing pantry supplies, I quickly realized I was still missing some obscure, but key ingredients. So, off I trekked to the store again to pick up fresh cilantro, star anise and whole cloves (Hey, when you've got a craving, there is no limit to the number of times one will run to the store to satisfy it.)

Technically, this is a "Faux Pho" recipe. I guess there was a limit to what I would do, since I wasn't about to roast a whole chicken for this, as is traditionally done. But, the results of this modified "faux" recipe were surprisingly comparable to the restaurant varieties I've tried, and it was even better for lunch the next day!

Here's the goods:

"Faux" Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Ginger Noodle Soup)

image via

  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/4 ounces fresh ginger, 4 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 8 ounces fresh bean sprouts
  • 12 small carrots, sliced diagonally
  • 8 ounces rice stick noodles or udon noodles
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 or 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves


  1. Cook noodles according to the directions on the package, then drain and set aside in a large serving bowl.
  2. Combine chicken broth, onion slices, fish sauce, sliced baby carrots and chicken in a soup pot; bring to a simmer.
  3. In a tea infuser, add the whole cloves, sliced ginger, garlic, star anise and place in the soup pot with the chicken.
  4. Simmer the chicken, vegetables and spice mixture for about 30 minutes, until chicken is tender and cooked through.
  5. Remove chicken and cool it until you can cut into small pieces, then place back into the simmering soup pot.
  6. Remove the tea infuser, discard ingredients inside.
  7. Ladle the soup into the large serving bowl with the noodles.
  8. Add the bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro and basil leaves to the serving bowl.
  9. Serve with fresh lime wedges.
Enjoy this on any cold day, or a hot one for that matter... I think its better for a common cold than traditional Chicken Noodle Soup!


Lena said...

Thanks for posting a recipe that wasn't 50 ingredients or hours long! Great blog, especially your photographs, I really enjoyed them. If you're interested in my Pho adventure check out my blog Victual Pleasure...


Cindy said...

Greetings! I woke up sick this morning (a cold, or maybe a sinus infection) and I knew I wanted soup. Usually I make chicken soup with matzo balls, but today I had a craving for pho. A little bit of googling led me to your blog and your recipe. I had most of the ingredients on hand already, and was able to find most of the rest at the store, enough to do the job.

This tastes very authentic (says the white Jewish lady, heh heh,) and it was just what I needed. Thanks for sharing, and have a great day!

Kadee said...

I've been CRAVING Pho for the longest time! After moving from Southern California--where there's a Pho place on every corner--to the Midwest, I've been deprived. The complicated online recipes I've found are far too intimidating for my modest culinary skills. SOO glad to have come across this easy recipe. It turned out great. And at last, my craving is satisfied. Thank you!!

college_grl06 said...

Approx how many bowls/servings is this? I would like to try this out, but would like to know before I go get the ingredients.