I am no expert, but I am pretty sure chicken pho cures everything. A while back I travelled through Vietnam and I came down with the usual travellers sickness. I was down for the count until I tried my first bowl of pho. It completely cured me. More recently I enjoyed a couple too many glasses of red wine one night over the holidays and woke up feeling pretty awful. One bowl of chicken pho and I was back to normal.
Chicken pho is my version of chicken soup. Not only does it have magical healing properties (in my opinion), pho is also really good for you. It is filled with protein, minerals, spices, and herbs. Since we all are trying to eat a little better this New Year, this is the perfect antidote to the holiday season.
There is a great pho place near my house that has become a Sunday night takeout tradition. But that doesn’t mean I can’t recreate that delicious pho whenever or wherever I want with my faux chicken pho. This by all means is not traditional pho; I wouldn’t even pretend how to master that. I’m pretty sure that takes years. This is my version, it skips a lot of traditional pho steps but still has great flavor and I promise the healing properties are still the same.
Faux Chicken Pho
1 ½ lbs (approximately) bone-in skin-on chicken breast 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1/2 onion, diced 1 3×1″ piece peeled ginger 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced 6 cups chicken stock 2 whole, star anise 3 whole cloves 3 Tbs. fish sauce 1 Tbs. sugar 1/2 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste 6 oz rice noodles
1.) Toppings – thinly sliced red onion, basil, cilantro, lime wedges, sriracha sauce and jalapeño.
2.) Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken breasts skin side down. Cook chicken breasts until browned then remove, about 3 -4 minutes. In the same pan, sauté diced onion until translucent, about 2 -3 minutes.
3.) Add ginger, chicken stock, star anise, cloves, fish sauce, sugar and browned chicken in the pot. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly.
4.) While the chicken is cooling remove the star anise, cloves and ginger and discard. Add in rice noodles to soften. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and gently pull the meat off the bone. Once the rice noodles have softened return the pulled chicken back to the pan.
5.) Taste pho broth for salt and adjust flavor with fish sauce if needed. (Don’t be afraid, fish sauce is a little funky but it is that funky umami that makes dishes like this so delicious)
6.) Ladle pho into bowls and serve with lots of herbs like cilantro and basil, thinly sliced red onion, lime wedges and jalapeño.
Serves 2 to 4
Recipe & Photos by Amanda Frederickson for Sacramento Street