Chicken Pho

The Vietnamese chicken-and-noodle soup called pho is all about the layers of flavor in the rich-tasting broth. The technique here also produces meat that’s supremely tender and tasty.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4


  • Kosher salt
  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • One 2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon goji berries
  • 2 shallots, halved
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon crushed rock sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 6 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Bean sprouts, basil sprigs, mint sprigs, thinly sliced jalapeños and lime wedges, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large stockpot, bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the chicken, breast side down. Place a heatproof plate over the chicken to keep it submerged and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes; it will not be cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a bowl of ice water and let cool completely. Drain well and pat dry.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron skillet, combine the star anise, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon stick, black and white peppercorns and goji berries. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

  3. In the same skillet, combine the shallots, onion and leek. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, about 10 minutes.

  4. Remove all of the meat from the chicken and coarsely shred it.

  5. Return all of the chicken skin and bones to the broth in the stockpot. Add the pan-roasted shallot, onion and leek mixture and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat for 1 hour.

  6. Stir the toasted spices and goji berries into the broth. Cover and simmer for 1 hour longer. Add the rock sugar and simmer for another 30 minutes.

  7. Strain the broth into a large bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids. Pour the broth into a clean saucepan.

  8. Prepare the garnishes: Soak the noodles in a large bowl of boiling water until pliable, 8 to 10 minutes.

  9. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a mesh skimmer, transfer the shallots to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Let cool.

  10. Bring the broth to a simmer. Stir in the shredded chicken and cook until just white throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and season the broth with salt.

  11. Drain the rice noodles and transfer to large bowls. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles. Top with the scallions and cilantro. Garnish with the crispy shallots, bean sprouts, basil, mint and jalapeños and serve with lime wedges.

Make Ahead

The poached chicken and finished broth can be refrigerated separately overnight.

Suggested Pairing

Wine: Fragrant northern Italian white.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published March 2016

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1064227 recipes/chicken-pho 2016-02-08T14:31:20+00:00 Jimmy Tu pasta-and-noodles|soups-and-stews|winter| march-2016 recipes,chicken-pho 1064227

Aggregate Rating value: 4

Review Count: 5

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: Chris Joyner

Review Body: Turned out amazing, well worth the effort if you love your food. Life is too short to eat bad food!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-01-04

Author Name: Alex Noll

Review Body: This recipe is amazing. As a college student, i nervously spent 30 dollars on fancy spices and garnishes. I was worried it wouldn't be worth it but it absolutely was! As for it being time consuming, good food is. If you don't like putting effort into your food make something else

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-01-18

Author Name: Sabine Johnson

Review Body: Just had the soup and my family just loved it. The cooking isn't bad since you really don't need to do anything. We loved the flavor and decided that it is better than ordering in a restaurant. Thank you.

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-02-20

Author Name: Kb Calib

Review Body: If you want to try the authentic, aromatic and flavorful chicken phở and you happen to be in the San Francisco Bay Area, go to Phở Hà Nội in San Jose or The TurtleTower (Tháp Rùa) in the Tenderloin District of SF. These places also serve great beef phở. Their phở is authentically Northern. Remember, phở is a Northern Vietnamese dish.

Date Published: 2017-03-03

Author Name: PerryA

Review Body: Just one question. The recipe says to add the shallots to the stock along with the chicken bones and skin. Then it says press the solids when straining and discard. Later it says add the shallots again. How do I reconcile this paradox?

Date Published: 2017-03-19

Author Name: se2163

Review Body: Delicious! I made two substitutions because I try to avoid cooking with sugar and canola oil -- used 6 drops of liquid stevia and sesame seed oil to fry the shallots. Definitely worth the time and effort. Will make again!

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2017-03-06

Author Name: Marcela San Martin Foley

Review Body: Too many ingredients, too mamy steps, too many hour for a regular soup with some different touches. Not distinct flavor. One more chicken soup. Don't do it.

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2016-12-27