Chicken Pho

This Vietnamese pho is full of aromatic flavours, such as cinnamon, coriander, ginger and lemongrass, and topped with loads of fresh herbs. Feel free to play about with the seasoning and spices to find the perfect balance for you.
Serves 4
Total Time
1 Hour
1.5 litres of fresh chicken stock
15g of dried porcini mushrooms
2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, thickly sliced
3 garlic cloves, lightly bashed
1 star anise
¼ tsp of black peppercorns
¼ tsp of Chinese five-spice powder
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 lemongrass stems, lightly bashed
3 spring onions, white and green parts separated
750g skinless chicken thighs (bone in)
200g of carrots, julienned
200g of flat rice noodles
2 tbsp of fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
To finish and serve
200g of beansprouts
A large handful each of mint, coriander and Thai basil
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Step 1

Pour the stock into a medium saucepan, place over a high heat and add the dried porcini, ginger, garlic, spices, lemongrass and white spring onions. Add the chicken thighs, bring to a low simmer and cook gently for 25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Step 2

Meanwhile, put the carrot julienne and rice noodles into a large heatproof bowl, pour on boiling water to cover generously and leave to soften for 10 minutes. Finely shred the green spring onions for the garnish.

Step 3

Pour the broth through a strainer into a jug, remove the chicken from the strainer and set aside for later; discard the rest of the contents. Return the flavoured broth to the pan and place over a medium-high heat.

Step 4

Bring back to the boil and let bubble for 5 minutes to reduce and intensify the flavour. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Season the soup with a pinch of sea salt if needed and a small pinch of white pepper.

Step 5

Shred the chicken, discarding the bones, then add to the broth to warm through for 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and carrot and share between warmed bowls. Scoop the chicken out of the pan and add to the bowls. Ladle over the broth and finish with the spring onions, beansprouts, herbs, chilli and lime wedges.

TO FREEZE Allow the strained broth to cool at the end of stage 4 then freeze in a suitable container. Shred the chicken and freeze separately. Defrost both at room temperature, then reheat the broth thoroughly in a pan over a medium heat. Continue as above.

Extract taken from Lose Weight and Get Fit by Tom Kerridge (£22, Bloomsbury). Photography © Cristian Barnett.

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