A hot steaming bowl of chicken pho is one of the most delicious and comforting meals to have when its cold outside. This quick version is made with store bought chicken stock which makes it super easy and suitable to make on weekdays. If you are looking for a pho recipe without the hard work and full of flavour, then this one is for you!
There was a time not so long ago that I was strongly against buying and using store bought chicken stock. Every single recipe I posted was always made from scratch. I even started to looked down upon recipes that used pre-made ingredients, like I was some sort of Michelin starred chef.
So how did I become such a food snob? How did I become THAT GUY? I believe it was because I had been a massive fan of cooking shows like Masterchef. Anytime a contestant did not make their dish from scratch… you could see the disappointment and disbelief on everybody’s faces. This is why I think I never bought or used them. Which looking back is quite silly because home cooking isn’t a reality TV cooking show!
Luckily, the advantage of being one half of a food blog is that the other half can tell when you’re being a douche bag. Especially when you are completely oblivious to it. So now I am completely opened to this whole new world of store bought stuff to make things quicker and easier for the modern day family. Because lets face it, most people don’t have the time or the energy to make everything from scratch.
Chicken Pho / Pho Ga
The first time I made this I had very low expectations. I genuinely thought that by using store bought chicken stock it would taste artificial and nothing like pho. WRONG! Served it to Steph and she smashed it. She clearly couldn’t tell the difference which was good and alarming at the same time.
This chicken pho recipe is based on being quick, easy and cheap. I have listed a fair few things as optional in this recipe because I realise that for some people, some of these ingredients are hard to get or maybe blowing out the budget. So feel free to include any or none of the optional ingredients.
If you are interested in making the pho stock from scratch, the recipe is here
My Tips for Success
- I strongly recommend using the liquid stock over the powdered version. The powdered version will taste very artificial.
- Toast the aromatics. This will greatly increase the aroma you can extract. Also, I usually char the ginger but have chosen to keep this step optional since some people don’t have gas stoves or do not have the time.
- I like to use chicken drumsticks since I prefer dark meat and its cheap. But it is perfectly fine to use whatever cut you want.
- In my opinion, fresh rice noodles are the best for pho. It is available at most Asian groceries.
- If I am buying dried pho noodles from mainstream grocers, I will get the pad Thai version.
- I like to serve chilli and hoisin sauce on the table so people can add it into their pho or put into small bowls to dip the chicken pieces in.
This table shows how much this recipe will cost if you had to go out and buy everything on the ingredients list (“Shop Price”), as well as the value of ingredients actually used in the recipe (“Recipe Cost”).
We haven’t bothered with small quantities of salt, pepper or sugar as the cost would be negligible. All prices are in Australian dollars and are based off what was published on Coles Online or Woolworths Online as at time of writing.
|Liquid Chicken |
|2 x 1 L cartons||$3.80||2 L||$3.80|
|1 kg pack||$4.50||1 kg||$4.50|
|Rice Noodles||2 x 250 gm packet||$4.00||500 gm||$4.00|
|Star Anise||12 gm packet||$2.25||4||$0.60|
|Coriander Seeds||25 gm packet||$1.30||1 tbsp (6 gm)||$0.30|
|Ginger||1 at $25/kg||$3.60||30 gm||$0.90|
|Fish Sauce||300 ml bottle||$3.00||3 tbsp||$0.45|
|Spring Onions||1 bunch||$2.00||1/5 bunch||$0.25|
|Bean Sprouts||250 gm packet||$2.00||1/2 packet||$1.00|
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Chicken Pho (cheat version)
- 2 L low sodium liquid chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 kg chicken drumstick / thigh or 2 breasts, cleaned
- 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp sugar
- cracked pepper, to taste
- 2 – 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 500 gm dried rice noodles (generous servings) or 1 kg of fresh rice noodles
- 4 star anise (whole)
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 stalks spring onions, finely chopped
- 125 gm bean sprouts
- 1 lemon or lime, cut into wedges (optional)
- 10 sprigs coriander (optional)
- 10 sprigs Thai basil (optional)
- 2 birds eye chilli or jalapenos finely chopped (optional)
- chilli sauce (optional)
- hoisin sauce (optional)
Prepare all your ingredients.
Add the chicken stock and 1 cup of water to a large pot on high heat. Allow the pot to come to a boil.
Optional Step: Char the ginger slightly by putting it over a gas stove or in the oven at 200 C / 392 F on grill setting.
In a small fry pan on medium heat, add the coriander seeds and whole star anise. Toast the aromatics until fragrant.
Once the stock is boiling, add the chicken, ginger, sugar, pepper and toasted aromatics. Give the pot a stir and wait for stock to come back to a boil. Once boiling, turned down the heat to medium low and let the pot simmer partially covered for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, take a piece of chicken out and check if its done. If yes then take it out the rest of the chicken and let it cool. If not, leave the chicken in the pot until done.
Add the fish sauce to the pot and taste check. Adjust the seasoning or amount of stock according to your taste. (Note 1)
Tear up the chicken into bite sized pieces and leave in a closed container until needed. Prepare all your herbs / veg and the noodles as directed on the packaging.
Turn up the heat to medium high on the stock pot and fish out the star anise and ginger.
Divide the noodles into the bowls and put the chicken pieces on top. If using fresh noodles, please refer to note 2.
Ladle over the boiling stock and add all the garnishes on top.
- If you want to add more salt and flavour to the stock then use fish sauce. If you need to dilute the stock to make more or toned down the flavour then add boiling water. However, the stock will be diluted further once you add the noodles and herbs. So, it is perfectly fine for the stock to be on the saltier side at this stage.
- If you are using fresh rice noodles, then divide the noodles into bowls. Pour boiling water into the bowl and move the noodles around for 10 seconds and then strain. The noodles are now ready for the stock.