RECIPES | Pho is one of our favourite Vietnamese dishes, the complex broth and fresh herbs creating a wonderfully tasty soup that delights every time we eat it. One of the downsides of making pho at home is that to do it properly it takes a lot of time. On our most recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City we visited Ho Chi Minh Cooking Class and discovered a recipe for a quicker, chicken based pho that provides much of what we love about a traditionally prepared bowl of pho in a much shorter time. Chef Tan, owner of the cooking school was kind enough to allow us to share his recipe on The City Lane, a recipe we’ve used several times at home since.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes / Cooking Time: 1.5 hours / Serves 6
- 50g whole fresh ginger
- 3 star anise
- 10 cloves
- 3 cinnamon quills
- 3 cardamom pods
- 100g shallots
- 2kg chicken bones
- 200g chicken thighs
- 10 black peppercorns
- 3tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
- 1tbsp table salt
- 3tbsp white sugar
- 1tsp ground black pepper
- 1kg rice noodles (banh pho)
- 1 brown onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 long red chillies, finely sliced
- 2 limes, cut into wedges
- 1 bunch fresh Vietnamese mint
- 1 bunch fresh Vietnamese coriander
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- chilli sauce and hoisin sauce to taste
- Place the chicken bones into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil for 3 minutes, then remove and rinse the bones with cold water.
- Cut the shallot in half and, along with the ginger, roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 180°C.
- Heat a fry pan or wok and add the star anise, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, black peppercorns. Toss them for a minute then put them into a small, sealed fabric bag with small holes (like a tea bag, or muslin cloth).
- Place the chicken bones, bag of spices, ginger and shallot into a large saucepan. Cover with ~2.5L of water and simmer for 1.5 hours. During the last half hour, add the chicken thighs.
- Strain the liquid to form a clear broth in a new saucepan. Bring to the boil and add the fish sauce, sugar and salt.
- Blanch the noodles and bean sprouts for 3 seconds in boiling water.
- Split the noodles and bean sprouts evenly between six bowls, and top with thin slices of the boiled chicken. Pour the chicken broth evenly across each bowl and top with the sliced onion, chillies,
mint, coriander, and spring onion. Squeeze in lime and add hoisin and chilli sauce to taste.
You can use beef bones and beef brisket for a more traditional pho, but this will increase the bone simmering time in step four to four hours, and the brisket will need to go in for the final hour.