I’ve made no secret of my love for pho. Exhibit A: the painstakingly researched recipe for a traditional beef-based pho that I posted over two years ago (side note: WHY DOES TIME GO BY SO FAST!?), and even the instant ramen campfire version that Kaitlin and I cobbled together in Sequoia National Park.
But sometimes, you don’t have six hours to prepare a bowl of noodles. Sometimes, you just want to take out a few simple ingredients, spend minimal time at the stove, and be slurping rice noodles to your heart’s content within just a few short minutes.
Impossible, you say?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you my recipe for 20-Minute Chicken Pho, or pho ga. While most bowls of pho that you find out at Vietnamese restaurants usually feature beef—beef brisket, thinly shaved rare beef, beef meatballs, and perhaps even tripe—the other main type of pho is prepared with chicken.
I don’t often see a chicken pho option on the menu at Vietnamese restaurants, and I’m not sure why. It’s really delicious.
The great thing about chicken-based noodle soups is that you don’t necessarily have to go to the trouble of making your own stock. While the flavor of store-bought beef stock doesn’t really lend itself very well to Asian cooking (or as the star of a noodle-soup dish), there are so many high quality chicken stocks out there. And I’ve found that you can really doctor them up however you like.
For this recipe, all you need is some good store-bought chicken stock, and you’re going to flavor it with ginger, chilies, fish sauce, and sugar. Boil up some noodles, take a minute to sear some sliced chicken to put on top along with a few other garnishes, and voila! You have a shortcut Chicken Pho within 20 minutes. And it’s pretty awesome.
So whether you’re looking for a quick, cheaper alternative to takeout, or you’re taking baby steps up to the 6-hour recipe I posted back in March 2015 (still awesome, still delicious, and totally worth that 6 hours, by the way), this recipe is here for the making!
Chicken Pho: Recipe Instructions
Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat. Sear the chicken, and set aside.
While that’s happening, boil the pho noodles according to package instructions. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls.
Divide the broth and the chicken amongst the bowls…
Squeeze over some lime juice, and add more fish sauce if desired.
20-Minute Chicken Pho
- 2 quarts chicken broth (1.9 liters)
- 8 slices ginger
- 2 red chilies (sliced)
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts (thinly sliced)
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 12 oz. dried pho noodles
- 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
- 2/3 cup fresh mint
- 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 2/3 cup Thai basil
- Lime wedges
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for your noodles. Also bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot, along with the ginger, chilies, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over high heat. Sear the chicken, and set aside.
- While that’s happening, boil the noodles according to package instructions. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls. Divide the broth and the chicken amongst the bowls, and garnish with bean sprouts, mint, cilantro, and basil.
- Squeeze over some lime juice, and add more fish sauce if desired.