A big bowl of pho is the ultimate comfort food for me. Many of you have asked me to share my pho recipe, but I’ve hesitated. Not because I don’t want to share, but because it’s time consuming. As a busy mother, quick and easy recipes are the bulk of my cooking arsenal. I probably make pho once every couple of months because it takes time to develop the rich, flavorful broth.
Today, I’m excited to share my super easy chicken phở (or phở ga) recipe that can be made in around 30 minutes. I say approximately 30 minutes because I got interrupted by the kids a few times so it too me about 45 minutes from start to finish. Then again, 45 minutes for a weekday supper is pretty good, too. I usually prefer a beef pho, but chicken is healthier, budget friendly, and easier to make.
I grew up eating countless bowls filled with chewy rice noodles, piled with various meats and herbs and topped off with steaming, flavorful broth. Vietnamese pho is not confined to a particular meal of the day. It transcends any time limitations. I’d have it for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Heck, I’ve eaten a bowl as a late night snack.
The key to any good bowl of chicken pho is the broth. When I eat pho in restaurants, a greasy, too light broth is a deal breaker. While I try to make my chicken broth from scratch when I can, I keep chicken stock on hand for quick meals. I was excited to try out Perdue® Signature Chicken Stock, which can be found in the refrigerated section of your store. Just by looking at the broth through the packaging’s side window, I could tell it was a high quality broth. The broth was clear and smelled only of chicken. Even its list of ingredients is short. Even though rosemary was listed on the ingredients list I didn’t notice any rosemary fragrance or taste—which is great because there’s no rosemary in pho!
The second thing that makes a pho broth good is its aromatics. If you’ve seen my video about Vietnamese spices, you’ll know that the key aromatics for pho is star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger, and onion. Thanks to those aromatics, my nose will recognize pho cooking anywhere! Most people don’t use star anise or cloves often—but they’re found in a lot of holiday baking so that jar you bought won’t go to waste.
TIP: Look for budget friendly spices at your international specialty grocery stores or the Mexican/Hispanic aisles of your regular grocery story. I got a jar of whole cloves for $1.29 and 20 ounces of cinnamon sticks for $3!
For this recipe I used bone-in skinless chicken breasts because I didn’t want a fatty or greasy broth. My mother often used thighs and legs for hers. I poached the chicken in water and all the aromatics except for the onion. (Full recipe instructions are at the end of the post.) This takes about 15-20 minutes.
While the chicken is poaching, I soak the noodles in hot water. Pho noodles are flat and come in different sizes (widths). If you can find fresh pho noodles, I highly recommend it. I always keep a couple of packs of dry noodles in my pantry. If you don’t have an Asian specialty store near you, use the noodles that are labeled for Pad Thai. Soaking is important because each bowl of pho is made fresh. Later, we’ll finish cooking them in some simmering water. This takes about 10-15 minutes or until the noodles are pliable, but nowhere near al dente. Go ahead and fill a small saucepan about halfway with cold water. Bring it to a simmer.
After the chicken breasts are cooked all the way through, remove from the pot and allow to cool. Now we’ll add 4 cups of Perdue Signature Chicken Broth to amp up the chicken flavor (about 2 packages). Add your peeled onion and return to a boil. Here’s where we add the fish sauce too.Once it comes to a boil, return it to a simmer while you finish prepping the other ingredients.
Wash one stalk of scallions (green onions). Cut off the white part and thinly slice the green part on the diagonal. Finely chop about ¼ cup of cilantro. Remove the chicken breast from the bone and slice thinly on the diagonal, about ¼” thick. Set aside.
Now it’s time to finish cooking the noodles. Drain the noodles. Grab a handful and add it to the simmering pot of water. Using chopsticks or tongs, stir and let it cook until the noodles are slightly past al dente, about 2-3 minutes. Don’t walk away because this goes fast! Remove the noodles but don’t drain the water. Just repeat for additional bowls of pho.
Assemble your bowl of pho in this manner: cooked noodles, top with sliced chicken breast, garnish with a generous pinch of sliced green onions and chopped cilantro. Now, carefully, spoon the simmering pho broth into the bowl until it covers everything. Serve immediately with bean sprouts, cilantro, and limes on the side. Don’t forget the hoisin sauce and Sriracha!
Easy Chicken Phở Ga Recipe
- 2 skinless, bone-in chicken breasts
- 2" long piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, approximately 3" long
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- 4 cups of Perdue Signature Chicken Broth, low sodium
- 3 Tbsp of high quality fish sauce
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 package of flat rice noodles
- 1 stalk of scallions (green onion), sliced thinly
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 fresh jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
- Hoisin sauce and Sriracha tableside
Put chicken breasts, ginger root, cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick into 5QT pot. Pour enough water to just cover the chicken, approximately 4 cups. Bring to bowl and lower to simmer. Cover the pot and let chicken poach until thickest part reaches 165F, about 8 minutes.
When chicken is cooked, remove chicken breasts to allow them to cool. Add peeled yellow onion, fish sauce, sugar, and chicken broth. Return to simmer.
While chicken poaches, soak rice noodles in hot water. Let it soak for about 15 minutes and drain. In a small saucepan, heat up water until simmering.
Remove bones from chicken breast and slice thinly on the diagonal, about 1/4" wide.
Chop enough cilantro to make 1/4 cup.
Cook noodles by placing large handfuls into simmering pot of water. Allow to soften and cook, about 2-3 minutes. They should be slightly chewy. Without draining the water, remove noodles with tongs or chopsticks directly into serving bowl.
Top noodles with sliced chicken breast, pinch of scallions, and pinch of chopped cilantro. Carefully spoon hot broth over noodles until covered.
Repeat steps 6 & 7 for other bowls.
Serve immediately with a plate of bean sprouts, whole cilantro, lime wedges and jalapeno. Add hoisin and Sriracha to taste tableside.