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The Magic of Pho Chicken Broth

Updated: Sep 6, 2021

This is a soup base with substance. The best part about making this broth is once you get a handle on the herbs, its a one pot deal with left overs. The broth is so delicious and can be used to make different soups (let me count the ways).

Herbs & Spices & Recipe -

4 x Cloves (whole)

2 tsp Fennel seeds

2 tsp Coriander seeds & bunch of fresh coriander

5 Star anise

1 Stick of cinnamon

8 tsp fish sauce

6 tsp white sugar

3/4 tsp salt

couple of pepper corns & some chilli flakes (optional)

(these herbs infuse the broth with the distinct Pho flavour)

1 x Chicken (whole organic)

2 x Brown Onion & BIG KNOB of Ginger ( These are aromatics that are charred first to add a hint of smokiness to the broth. A traditional and mandatory inclusion)

The magic of Pho is that while the broth looks completely unassuming, it’s actually full of complex-yet-delicate spice infused flavours. That special something-something that makes it unforgettable, and you just can’t stop eating it.

If you’re a Pho fan, you will love this chicken version because is easier to make than beef pho, no need to hunt down specific bones, just use a whole organic chicken.

This magical Pho soup broth is made the traditional Vietnamese way, using chicken and infused with spices. Using store bought stock just isn’t the same!

Essentially, there’s 3 steps:

  • Char onion and ginger – this provides a subtle smokey fragrance to the broth that is a signature feature of Pho. So char them well!

  • Simmer everything gently for 1.5 hrs to infuse the water with all those incredible broth flavourings; and

  • Strain, shred chicken, serve with Toppings!

See how clear the soup broth is? Beautiful! (And if only you could smell it…. those spices! It’s intoxicating!)

  • Char onion & ginger - Heat oil in a 6 litre over high heat. Place ginger and onion facedown, leave undisturbed for 2 minutes until they blacken. Turn and leave for another 2 minutes.

  • Put everything in pot - Add water and remaining Broth ingredients EXCEPT salt. Bring it a simmer, then lower heat so it's simmering VERY gently with the lid on, but open a crack

  • Simmer gently 1.5 hours. Scoop off scum (dirty foam) that rises to surface once or twice during the simmering, t

  • Strain & measure - Remove chicken, then strain broth into a clean pot - you should have 1.5 litres / 1.5 quarts. If you have more, simmer to reduce. If less, top it up with water.

  • Salt broth - Add salt, bring broth to a gentle simmer. Broth should be slightly on the salty side - it dilutes when you add the noodles.

  • Keep broth warm until ready to serve

  • Shred chicken meat, discard bones (use the left over chicken for salads or sandwiches, snacks or fried rice or Poke Bowls with lots of veggies.

This is a beautiful soup base for so many dishes.

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