Chicken Pho
Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho

This authentic chicken pho can be made from scratch any day of the week. A whole chicken is stewed in water with spices, ginger and onion until you have a delicious pho broth.
Photography: KRIS KIRKHAM

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Total Time
1 Hour 40 Minutes
7 star anise
2 green cardamom pods, seeds only
3 cloves
2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
1 tsp of rapeseed (canola) oil
1 large onion, quartered
5cm piece of ginger, sliced thinly down the centre & lightly smashed
1 x 1.5-2kg whole chicken, quartered with skin on or off
1.5l of water
1 small handful each of fresh basil & coriander leaves (optional)
1-2 Asian (preferred) or Western chicken stock cubes (optional)
1 tsp of palm sugar or light brown sugar (more or less to taste)
1-2 tbsp of fish sauce (gluten-free brands are available)
200g of dried rice pho noodles
Generous portions of Thai sweet basil, coriander, bean sprouts, green & red chillies, cut into rings & lime wedges.
Vietnamese sate, Chinese chilli oil with chillies and/or sriracha sauce
Step 1

Heat a saucepan that is large enough to hold all the chicken and water over
a medium–high heat.

Step 2

Add the star anise, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks and dry-fry them, stirring often, until warm to the touch and fragrant but not yet smoking. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

Step 3

Add about a teaspoon of rapeseed oil to the saucepan and rub it over the surface of the pan with a piece of the quartered onion. Add the rest of the onion and sliced ginger to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes, or until the onion and ginger is browning and charring in a few places.

Step 4

Add the chicken quarters, skin-side down (if keeping the skin on), and
fry to brown for about 5 minutes, turning once. Now carefully pour in
the water and add the roasted spices along with the basil and coriander, if using.

Step 5

Push the chicken pieces down so they are completely submerged in the water. You can add a little more water if needed. Bring to a simmer and be sure to skim any foam and fat that rise to the top. This will result in a clearer stock.

Step 6

Once you have skimmed as many impurities from the top as possible, allow to simmer gently over a medium heat for 60 minutes. Avoid letting it simmer too rapidly as it will become cloudy. While the stock is simmering, place the dried pho noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Hot water from a kettle is fine.

Step 7

Allow to soak for 10–15 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Strain and set aside.
After the chicken has simmered for 60 minutes, remove it from the pan. Allow to cool a little and thinly slice or shred it.

Step 8

Try the stock. You have three options: leave it as it is; return the chicken bones and simmer them longer; or add a stock cube or two for a richer stock. Once you have your stock as you want it, add sugar and fish sauce to taste. If using shop-bought stock cubes, they could be salty already so consider this when adding the fish sauce. Strain the stock into a bowl, then return it to the pan and bring to a rolling boil.

Step 9

To finish, divide the soaked noodles between four to six large bowls. Cover with some of the shredded chicken and the hot pho broth. Then serve at the table with your garnishes of choice.

Curry Guy One Pot  by Dan Toombs (Quadrille, £27) is out now. Photography: Kris Kirkham

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