Chicken Pho (Phở Gà)

The time has come…I made pho!!

And can I just clarify to all: it’s is pronounced like “fuh,” not “foe.”  It drives me nuts when people say it wrong!

Also, I don’t use MSG.  For some reason, a lot of my friends asked me this when I told them I was making pho.  Pho restaurants typically use MSG to enhance the flavor of soup, but I am not a pho restaurant so I use good old sugar and fish sauce.

I had many requests from friends to make this, so I felt that it was high time I shared my version of the popular noodle soup.  Many of you may be accustomed to beef pho, but I personally prefer to make it with chicken.  I think it’s just because I like chicken better than beef in general.  You can totally substitute the chicken stock with beef stock; the pork bones with beef bones; and the chicken with thinly sliced beef flank (phở tái), brisket (phở chín), or those Vietnamese meatballs (phở bò viên).  You’ll probably have to adjust the seasoning a little bit.

I hope you guys give it a try!  Let me know how it turns out 🙂

Chicken Pho (Phở Gà)
(serves 6)

2 lbs chicken (drumsticks, thighs, or breasts), marinated overnight with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chopped onions
4 pork bones
1 quart of water (can be tap water)
dash of salt
3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth, divided
4 quarts water, divided
1 medium onion, peeled
1 large knob of ginger (or I used two small ones)
2 Pho spice packets
5 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp white sugar
2 lb rice noodles, cooked according to directions on the bag
chopped green onions, chopped cilantro, and bean sprouts to garnish

  1. Bring 1 quart of tap water to a boil in a large pot.  Add a dash of salt and the pork bones and boil on high heat for 10 minutes (this cleans out most of the impurities in the bones).  Pour bones out into a clean sink and let cool while you wash the pot.
  2. Put pot back on the stove and heat 3 quarts of water on high heat.  Wash the pork bones under cold running water then add them back to the pot.  Once it reaches a boil, add 2 quarts of chicken broth and bring it up to a boil again.  Then turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on, but place 2 wooden chopsticks or 2 wooden spoons on top of the pot so that the lid is propped up a little.  You want to let some steam come out, but not too much.
  3. Pierce the ginger with a metal knife and grill it over a gas range or on top of an electric range until it is slightly charred all around it, then add it to the pot.  Repeat with the onion.
  4. In a smaller pot, bring 1 quart of water and 1 quart of chicken broth to a boil and poach the marinated chicken.  Set the chicken aside to cool and pour the poaching liquid back into the large pot.  Simmer for 3-6 hours with the lid propped up.
  5. Remove the pork bones and onion then strain the soup using a strainer or colander and a cheesecloth or paper towels.
  6. Add fish sauce and sugar.
  7. Pile the noodles, chicken, and herbs into a bowl and add hot soup and you’re done!

83 thoughts on “Chicken Pho (Phở Gà)

  1. Pingback: Vegetarian Pho (Phở Chay) | It's More Than Just Pho

  2. The last time I had Pho, I ordered a Durian smoothie. The waitress warned me not to have it, but I took offense and drank the whole thing just to spite her. Everything tastes like wet garbage for a week.
    I haven’t had Pho since, but this post made me want to try again.

  3. Oh my goodness. Pho is one of my favorite foods & I also get mad when it is not pronounced correctly. I have never had it with chicken. I am partial to the beef, so I have never tried it any other way. My mother used to make it with beef or meatball & tendon. People may cringe at that, but I love the tendon. This recipe looks great. I guess it might be time for me to finally try the chicken.

  4. I love Pho… but I’ve always had mixed results making it at home. I’m given to understand that carmelizing the onion and ginger is a French cooking influence.

    We had a short-lived restaurant in our area that was named “Pho King”. Since my wife and I were aware of the pronunciation of “Pho”, we thought this name was hilarious with our immature senses of humor.

    • Haha yes I’ve heard all the “pho” puns in the world. There are so many!

      I’d love for you to try my recipe out and see how it goes. I think I make it the simplest way possible, but if you have an issues with it please let me know so I can troubleshoot and make it easier!

      • I sure will– there was a lot of steps I haven’t done before, like straining through a colander + cheesecloth.

        I do have some questions up front before I try your recipe:

        1. Can a pressure cooker be used to boil the soup bones, to save a bit of time?
        2. I have seen recipe methods that use a slow cooker. Could one be used for periods where the soup is on simmer?
        3. I usually have homemade chicken stock on hand– I would assume I’d add a small amount of salt if I used it, yeah? Any other adjustments?
        4. What’s particular about the spice packets? I usually used ground coriander and cardamom to taste.
        5. Anything particular about the rice noodles? The Vietnamese market I used to shop at (they went out of business) would offer me fresh, but I decided to keep a large amount of dried rice stick noodles on hand.

  5. Hello, i search the world for naturally gluten free foods. I am part Asian, and always find myself back at My Japanese roots., and now at your Vietnamese roots. I do favor Pho`, and appreciciate your site.
    I would like to re-post on my my site gluten-freebohemianstyle.com.
    The gluten free world needs to know about Naturally gluten free dishes.
    Charring the onion and ginger really helps to add layers of flavor to the broth!
    Ciao

  6. this looks delicious! are you familiar with bun cha? It’s my favorite dish from Hanoi and I haven’t found any good ones here in ny.

  7. You asked me to let you know how it went– very well, actually!

    I did have to adapt things a bit to fit my situation and ingredients on hand, but everything worked out well. Thanks again. (I’m making chicken phõ again today, by the way.)

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