This easy homemade Pho Ga recipe (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup), is quick, easy and full of flavour. You will love this comforting and flavour packed dish from Vietnam.
It doesn't get much more comforting than a big bowl of chicken noodles. With some added vegetables and a zesty and spicy broth, this is a taste sensation. Easy to adapt with different proteins, or you could just keep it as a vegetarian version.
What Is Pho?
Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese noodle dish with meat, broth, herbs and spices. Pho Bo which is a beef noodle soup, is very popular, but wanting to make something a little lighter, we went with chicken which is called Pho Ga (fuh gah). It is actually spelled phở gà in Vietnamese.
Traditionally beef or chicken bones would be simmered for a few hours to make the stock. But as that is very time consuming, a simple stock is sufficient.
Pho is commonly eaten for breakfast in Vietnam.
Why should you try it?
- A simple but interesting dish
- Easy to adapt with many different ingredients
- A good way to use leftover chicken
What you will need
- Chicken - We used chicken breast, but thighs could easily be used too.
- Stock - Chicken or vegetable stock will work.
- Broth - this is made up of the stock and garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise, lime juice, fish sauce, coriander (cilantro), basil and chilli.
- Red pepper - Green, yellow or orange can be used, but we like the pop of colour that the red pepper gives. They are also sweeter.
- Beansprouts - Add a nice crunch to the dish.
- Chinese cabbage - You could use pak choi (bok choy) instead.
- Dried noodles - We used wholewheat noodles, but egg noodles will also work.
Step by step
One: Add the oil to a large pan and heat and then add the chicken and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Two: Put the same pan back on the heat and add the stock, garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise, lime juice, fish sauce, coriander (cilantro), basil and chilli and turn the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to form the broth. Remove the cloves and star anise - (these can sometimes be a bit tricky to find).
Three: Add the red pepper, beansprouts, Chinese cabbage and noodles to the broth and put the chicken back in as well. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the noodles are cooked and the cabbage has wilted.
Four: Serve into bowls and then top with a little extra coriander, chopped spring onions (scallions) and a few slices of red chilli.
What to serve it with
This is a fairly filling meal all on it's own, so extra side dishes aren't really needed.
Pho is incredibly popular in Vietnam (think burgers in the US or Fish and Chips in the UK). Every Pho place will serve their pho with a plate of different sides, that are meant to be added a little at a time as you make your way through your meal.
Some of these include:
- Rau Ram - a type of Vietnamese Coriander (Cilantro). Normal coriander (cilantro) will work fine.
- Mint and/or basil leaves
- Sliced radish
- Crispy fried shallots or onions
- Lime wedges
- Occasionally sliced jalapenos
- Chinese doughnuts - similar to churros, but lightly salted, rather than with coated in sugar.
It's important to remember to add these as you are eating - not all at once. Eating this way maintains the freshness of the herbs and crunch of the beansprouts.
How to store pho
You can store this in airtight containers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the hob (stove top) for a few minutes until thoroughly heated through.
Pho doesn't freeze well as the texture is ruined by the formation of ice crystals within the noodles. This will result in a mushy consistency when defrosted. If you are able to remove all of the noodles (not very easy), then the broth, vegetables and chicken can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost fully and then reheat as above.
Firstly, using chopsticks and/or a spoon, mix all the ingredients of your pho. When eating, make sure you have a combination of noodles, vegetables and meat all together in one mouthful. In between bites, use a spoon for the broth and sip it until your pho is finished.
It is considered perfectly fine to drink directly from the bowl. Also, making slurping sounds when eating the noodles and soup is not considered rude - it shows that you are enjoying the food.
This pho recipe isn't gluten free as it includes wheat noodles. Simply replace them with egg noodles and make sure the fish sauce is also gluten free.
This is an incredibly nutritious dish - it is high in protein and also has large amounts of vitamins A and C.
Absolutely! Whilst not the traditional way to eat pho, you can easily omit the noodles. This will also make it lower in carbohydrates.
- Add some chopped onions or shallots when cooking the chicken to give the broth a deeper umami flavour.
- Add a teaspoon of granulated sugar to the finished dish to give a more rounded flavour.
- Half a hard-boiled egg can be added at the end.
- If you ever find yourself in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, or the Philippines, the best pho experience is from a chain of restaurants called Pho 24.
More noodle recipes
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Easy Pho Ga recipe (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)
- 250 g chicken breast cut into thin strips
- 1.25 litre chicken stock
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger finely chopped
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 lime (juice only)
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro)
- 2 tbsp fresh Thai basil (or normal basil)
- 1 tbsp red chilli chopped
- 1 red pepper thinly sliced
- 90 g beansprouts
- 1 small Chinese cabbage
- 100 g dried wholewheat noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Add the oil to a large pan and heat and then add the chicken and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Put the same pan back on the heat and add the stock, garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise, lime juice, fish sauce, coriander (cilantro), basil and chilli and turn the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to form the broth. Remove the cloves and star anise - (these can sometimes be a bit tricky to find).
- Add the red pepper, beansprouts, Chinese cabbage and noodles to the broth and put the chicken back in as well. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the noodles are cooked and the cabbage has wilted.
- Serve into bowls and then top with a little extra coriander, chopped spring onions (scallions) and a few slices of red chilli.