Quick Chicken Pho
Quick Chicken Pho

Quick weeknight chicken pho from expert Andrea Nguyen! Shortcut version of traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. 30 minutes. Gluten free.

A few years ago I had never heard of pho let alone tasted it. Now giant bowls of this traditional Vietnamese noodle soup are a regular meal at our house.

Andrea has now published a new book that is entirely dedicated to that – what else?! — pho, and I want to share her recipe for Quick Chicken Pho with you.

This recipe is a great introduction to pho if you’ve never had it before. And for pho addicts like me, it’s good to have it nearby when a pho craving strikes.

Video: How to make quick chicken pho


Fast Chicken Pho

Get the book! The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen

There are so many things to love about Andrea’s new cookbook, and it’s not just the recipes! In Andrea’s own words when I spoke to her about it: “This cookbook contains 99% of what I know about pho. And the other 1% isn’t that interesting.”

Again and again Andrea reinforces the idea that pho is not a finicky or difficult dish to prepare at home. There are no tedious prep requirements or unfamiliar techniques to master. Really, if you can boil water, you can make pho.

Because Pho really is all about the broth. The noodles and tender chunks of meat definitely have an edgy appeal, making the soup a hearty meal, but the real flavor and allure of pho comes from a slow-cooked broth.

Making a good pho broth will look familiar to anyone who has ever made their own chicken or beef broth. The process is almost exactly the same aside from adding some uniquely Vietnamese ingredients like star anise, cinnamon, ginger, soy sauce, and fish sauce. These additional ingredients give Pho its seductive personality and signature balance of sweet, salty and savory flavors.

Of all these ingredients, fish sauce may be the least familiar to most of us. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a fermented fish sauce. It has an intense flavor and a super pungent aroma, like concentrated anchovies.

You might doubt adding this to your meal, but give it a try! Fish sauce adds a deep (and surprisingly non-fishy) flavor to foods. Once added, it blends into the background. You won’t necessarily be able to pick it out from the crowd, but you’d miss it if it weren’t there.

My favorite brand is Red Boat Fish Sauce, but just about any brand you can find will do the job for sure. I’ve started seeing bottles of fish sauce in the Asian ingredients section of major grocery stores over the past few years, but you can also order it online or search an Asian grocery store.

Once the broth is simmering, the real work is done! To assemble your bowl of pho, you’ll need to soften some rice noodles, add some shredded chicken or beef (which is often cooked right in the simmering broth), then pour over the steaming hot broth.

Cool Pho Fact: When you add thinly sliced ​​steak to your pho, the hot broth actually does the job of cooking the meat!

Garnish your bowl with fresh bean sprouts, sprigs of mint, coriander leaves and a lime wedge and chow down. Slurping is absolutely encouraged.

  • Looking for a beef pho recipe? Easy wok kissed beef pho

This particular Quick Chicken Pho recipe takes a few shortcuts to save you some time, but still makes a very respectable bowl of pho.

Rather than making the broth from scratch, take a packet of store-bought broth and give it a quick simmer with some herbs and spices to enhance the flavor. A chicken breast or a few drumsticks simmered in the broth add even more flavor and give you enough shredded meat for your dinner.

To avoid creating a broth that is too concentrated after boiling, Andrea lets you add some water to the broth. I felt this also helped the broth achieve the balanced flavor and lightness of true pho broth.

The whole meal is ready in about half an hour, meaning a bowl of pho is quite doable on a busy weeknight.

Once you’ve mastered this quick pho, Andrea has plenty of other recipes for you to try next, including a classic slow-cooked chicken pho made with a whole chicken. I also tried her pressure cooker beef pho recipe and can honestly say it was one of the best pho bowls I’ve ever eaten in my life – home made or at a restaurant. The recipe gets a huge thumbs up!

I’m also looking forward to trying some of the more offbeat recipes from Andrea’s book, like the Wok-Kissed Beef Pho with fried beef and their Pho Fried Rice.

There are so many pho variations in this book that there is sure to be a recipe to suit every person’s taste, time and ability. With each one, Andrea takes the time and effort to walk us through each step and potential pitfalls, helping us create the perfect pho bowl.

Cheers to Andrea for this fun new addition to our cookbook shelves!

Get the book! The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen

Fast Chicken Pho

preparation time
10 mins

cooking time
30 minutes

total time
40 minutes

2 servings

From Andrew:

“Great for pho beginners, this recipe is also excellent for cooks in a hurry. It takes less than 45 minutes of you treating store-bought broth to the point of saying, “I’m pho-ish.”

The keys to this streamlined approach are toasting spices and dry-sautéing ginger and scallions, which help extract flavor quickly. Poaching the chicken in the broth adds a savory depth. You’ll practice some basic pho techniques that you can use elsewhere. Choose a broth that tastes like chicken, such as broth. B. the Swanson brand, which is less complicated and easy to use. You will need two 14.5 ounce (411 g) cans or one 32 ounce (907 ml) carton.

Reprinted with permission from The Pho Cookbook: Easy to Adventurous Recipes for Vietnam’s Favorite Soup and Noodles by Andrea Nguyen, Copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed ​​Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


  • 3/4Customs (2 cm) section Ginger

  • 2 medium-sized green onions

  • 1 very small (fifteen G) Bunch of coriander sprigs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 a whole carnation

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups (840ml to 1L) low sodium chicken broth

  • 2 cups (480 ml) water

  • 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 225 G) boneless, skinless chicken chest or thighs

  • above 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 5 ounces (150 G) dried narrow flat rice noodles

  • 2 to 3 teaspoon fish sauce

  • above 1/2 teaspoon organic sugaror 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)

  • pepper (Optional)

  • Optional extras: bean sproutsMint sprigs, Thai basil, coriander leaves, lime wedges, thinly sliced ​​chili peppers


  1. Prepare the ingredients for the broth:

    Peel the ginger and cut into 4 or 5 coins. Strike with the flat side of a knife or meat mallet; put aside. Thinly slice the green parts of the spring onion to yield 2 to 3 tablespoons; set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining pieces into small finger lengths, squeeze and then add to the ginger.

    Roughly chop the coriander leaf tips to yield 2 tablespoons; set aside for garnish. Set aside the remaining cilantro sprigs.

  2. Roast the ingredients for the broth:

    In a 3 to 4 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, toast the coriander seeds and clove for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the ginger and spring onion pieces. Stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

  3. Add the broth and bring to a boil:

    Take the saucepan off the heat, wait about 15 seconds to cool slightly, and then pour in the broth.

    Place the pot back on the stove, then add the water, cilantro sprigs, chicken, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer.

  4. Remove the chicken from the broth after cooking:

    After 5 to 10 minutes of simmering, the chicken should be firm and cooked through (press on it and it should spring slightly).

  5. Boil broth:

    Let the broth simmer without the chicken for another 15 to 20 minutes (30 minutes total simmer).

  6. Shred Chicken:

    Place the chicken in a bowl, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, then drain. Let cool, then cut or shred into bite-sized pieces. Cover loosely to prevent drying out.

    [Emma’s note: If the chicken isn’t quite cooked through when you begin to shred it, just split it into a few pieces and put it back in the broth for another few minutes until cooked through. The split pieces will quickly cook through.]

  7. Soak Rice Noodles:

    Soak the rice noodles in hot water until pliable and opaque. Drain, rinse and set aside.

  8. Strain the broth:

    When the broth is ready, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer positioned over a 2-quart saucepan; Line the strainer with muslin for a super clear broth. Discard the solids. You should have about 4 cups.

    Season to taste with fish sauce and sugar (or maple syrup), if desired, for a strong savory-sweet note.

  9. Finish the photo:

    Bring the strained broth to a boil over high heat. Place the noodles in a colander or colander and dip in the hot broth for 5 to 60 seconds to heat and soften. Lift the pasta out of the pot and divide between the 2 bowls. [Emma’s note: I didn’t find it necessary to soften my noodles any further. I just added them to the bowls and poured the hot broth over top. However, dunking them in the broth would make them more flavorful!]

    Reduce the heat to keep the broth hot while you arrange the chicken on the pasta and garnish with the chopped spring onion, coriander and a pinch of pepper. Taste and adjust the saltiness of the broth one last time. Bring the broth back to a boil and ladle into the bowls. Enjoy with all the extras if you want.

    [Emma’s note: I just left the broth at a low simmer during this last step, rather than bringing it to a boil again. I thought it was plenty hot!]

nutritional information (per serving)
357 calories
16g Fat
21g carbohydrates
32g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!