Pho Ga for the Daring Cooks

Winnie Abramson, ND

By Winnie Abramson, ND

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Vietnamese Pho Ga for the October Daring Cooks Challenge
Vietnamese Pho Ga for the October Daring Cooks Challenge

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup typically made with beef. It can also be made with chicken (which is known as pho ga) or seafood. Before this challenge, I had never tasted, much less made, pho. I was a little short on time, so I chose to make the chicken pho using the simple recipe below. I made just a few small changes- I added some shredded baby bok choy and sliced red pepper just before serving, and I used bean thread noodles instead of rice noodles.

I loved the Pho Ga for the Daring Cooks, and now I understand why this soup has so many loyal devotees- I’ll definitely be making it again. Next time, I’m going to make Jaden’s longer version of pho ga, and I’d love to give Jaden’s beef pho recipe a try, as well.

How to Make Pho
Chicken Pho recipe from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen


For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce

1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice

Directions for the Chicken Pho Broth:

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.

toasting the spices for the pho broth
toasting the spices for the pho broth

Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.

In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.

Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.

Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.

Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.

Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.


If you are interested in learning more about Pho, here is a great article on the history/culture of pho with a tantalizing beef pho recipe.

And here’s where you can get Jaden Hair’s new book:

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