Made with shredded parboiled chicken and fresh pho noodles, this authentic Vietnamese pho ga recipe (Vietnamese chicken pho) proves you can make delicious and deeply flavorful pho at home! This is not a quick recipe, but the extra effort and stovetop simmering time is 100% worth it. However, if you need something quicker, you can make this recipe in 1.5 hours or less. See blog post below for more details!

A bowl of chicken pho with rice noodles, shredded chicken, cilantro, green onions, and fried shallots.

I was inspired to create this recipe after I went to this spot in SF called OTD. Normally, I don’t order chicken pho or pho ga because I think it’s far inferior to its beef counterpart. But watching the kitchen plate each bowl of chicken pho made my mouth water, so I thought why not. When I had my first bite, it was literally one of the most amazing chicken noodle soups I’ve had. The broth was flavorful and just the right balance of salty and sweet. The noodles were tender and were topped simply with chicken, green onions, cilantro, and fried shallots. This authentic Vietnamese recipe for chicken pho aims to recreate that feeling I had when I had that bowl of pho.

Super delicious and another recipe option for pho ga….
Definitely another one of my family favorite recipe from Becca….Thank You

Tetty
chicken pho ingredients

The history of pho

Pho originates from a city called Nam Dinh, but many people associate its origins to Hanoi. At the end of the 19th century during French colonism, the high demand for beef led to an excess of beef bones. This led to the Vietnamese, specifically in Hanoi, to perfect the Nam Dinh broth using those bones. This is how the pho broth came to be. Pho gained popularity over the years and now there are different versions depending on where you are in Vietnam. In the North where pho originated, the bowl of pho you get has a few simple toppings. In the South, the pho has a variety of toppings with a sweeter broth. Today, there are many variations of pho utilizing different proteins like beef, chicken, and even no meat options like vegan pho.

broth ingredients before cooking

What is the difference between beef and chicken pho?

The obvious difference between the two types of pho are the use of chicken vs beef to make the broth. I find that the use of chicken creates for a lighter, less rich broth than beef. The other differences are the herbs used and the addition of dried scallops in chicken pho or pho ga. In homemade beef pho or pho bo, I used a combination of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, star anise, and cinnamon, but in chicken pho, I used only coriander seeds and fennel seeds. The reason for the switch up is I didn’t feel the star anise and cinnamon would pair well with the lighter flavor of chicken.

I added dried scallops because my mom told me to lol. She said that dried scallops added a subtle sweetness to the broth. After tasting the pho for myself, I agree with her! Dried scallops are however quite expensive ($20 for a small bag) and hard to find in cities without an Asian community, so I made it optional.

finished soup

Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments

  1. Yellow onion – Adds a bit of sweetness to the broth. A good substitute for yellow onion is white onion.
  2. Ginger – Adds a slight herbaceous taste to the broth.
  3. Coriander seeds and fennel seeds – These herbs add some earthiness to the broth. An optional addition to these two herbs is 2 whole cloves.
  4. Chicken – You can use any cut of chicken for this recipe. I used the cornish game hen from Trader Joe’s. It is small enough to make just enough soup for me. I have also used chicken thighs and chicken breast to make the broth. I would recommend using chicken meat with bones because the bones help create a richer, more flavorful broth.
  5. Daikon – Daikon is one of my favorite ingredients to add to broth because it adds some sweetness to it.
  6. Chicken broth – I used low sodium chicken broth for this recipe, but full sodium chicken broth should work as well.
  7. Dried scallops (optional) – This ingredient was a suggestion from my mom. Dried scallops are actually quite expensive and not readily accessible in most areas. You can find them at Asian herbal stores or Asian supermarkets. This ingredient is optional in case you can’t find it.
  8. Fresh pho noodles – I am a huge believer in fresh pho noodles if you can find them. Dried pho noodles can work as well but are just not as good. If you can’t find pho noodles at all, I would use any rice noodles you can find at the market.
  9. Green onions – Minced green onions are used a topping and add more flavor to your noodle soup.
  10. Cilantro – Minced cilantro is used as a topping and add more flavor to your noodle soup.
  11. Fried shallots – I personally buy a jar of fried shallots from the store because it’s easier than frying my own shallots. You can find fried shallots on Amazon or at Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find fried shallots, you have the option to fry up a batch at home.
  12. Fish sauce – My personal favorite fish sauce is Viet Hong. It is hands down the best. Fish sauce can be found at any major grocery store.
broth for chicken pho

How to make chicken pho at home

This chicken pho recipe has a lot of steps, but it is well worth it in the end. Expect at least 3 hours of cooking time.

  • Clean the dried scallops. Add the dried scallops into a bowl of water and let sit for at least 10 minutes. The water will clean out the dried scallops
  • Roast the onion and ginger. Preheat the oven to broil. Broil the yellow onion and ginger root for 10-15 minutes until you see charred edges on both.
  • Make the herb bundle. Toast the coriander seeds and fennel seeds on the stove in a small pan for 1-3 minutes until you smell a toasty aroma. Add to a cheese cloth and tie it tight with some butchers twine. You can also tie the ends of the cheese cloth together. Make sure none of the herbs can fall out of the cheese cloth.
  • Par boil the chicken to clean it. Add chicken to a large soup pot and cover with water until it just covers the chicken. Bring to a boil. After it boils, remove the chicken and pour out the water. This allows you to clean the chicken and obtain a clean broth.
  • Make the broth. Now you are ready to make the broth!
    • Add the chicken back to the soup pot and cover with fresh water until it just covers it. Add in the roasted onion, ginger, dried scallops, daikon, and herb bundle. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    • After it has simmered for 30 minutes, take out the chicken and rest the meat about 10 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle. Continue simmering the broth while you are waiting. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred all the meat. Add the bones back to the soup to cook further. Add the chicken broth and simmer for another 2.5 hours. Taste the broth to make sure it is seasoned to your tastes. If it tastes bland, add more salt.
    • Once the soup has finished cooking, remove your solids, and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into another soup pot. The purpose of this is to get the cleanest broth possible by removing any small solids in the soup.
  • Make your green onion and cilantro toppings. While the soup simmers, mince your green onions and cilantro. Set them aside in the fridge while you wait for your soup to finish.
  • Boil the noodles. When you have about 10 minutes left in simmering time, cook your noodles. If using fresh noodles, cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, and if using dried noodles, cook in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Putting it all together. Once the soup has finished cooking, add some noodles, shredded chicken, minced green onion, minced cilantro, fried shallots, and a dash of fish sauce (optional) to a bowl. Ladle soup over the top and serve.

How to make this recipe in 1.5 hours or less

If you are pressed for time, here’s how I would modify the recipe to shorten the cooking time! It will not be as flavorful as the 3 hour version of this dish, but it will still be good!

  1. While the chicken is simmering, cook your noodles and prep your toppings (cilantro and green onions). Set aside.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, add in the chicken broth and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste the broth and add more salt if it tastes bland.
  3. Now you’re ready to put together your bowl of noodles! Add the noodles and toppings to your bowl and ladle soup over the top!
chicken pho components

How to par boil your chicken

It’s important to clean your chicken before you start making your broth. To do this, add the chicken to a soup pot. Cover with water until it just covers the chicken. Bring the water a boil. After the water starts to boil, turn off the heat and remove the chicken. Throw away the water. All the bad stuff will go with that water, and now you can make the soup!

Best chicken for pho

I would recommend using whatever chicken you can find for the broth. Make sure to get chicken with some bone in it. I would not recommend using only chicken breast. The bones are what gives the broth its rich flavor.

Best noodles for pho

The best noodles for pho are thin, rice noodles. I prefer to use fresh noodles for the best flavor and texture, but oftentimes, you won’t be able to find them. That’s where dried noodles come in. You can find them at most large Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find thin, rice noodles, I would recommend getting whichever rice noodles you can find. I have seen flat rice noodles, similar to the ones you use for beef chow fun, used for pho.

More tips on how to the make the perfect chicken pho

Soak dried scallops

If you choose to use dried scallops, make sure to soak them for 10 minutes before using. Dried scallops have a lot of dirt on them, and they are also quite hard. Soaking them softens and cleans the scallop at the same time.

Roast your onion and ginger

This is a step you definitely don’t want to skip. Roasting these ingredients allow you to bring out the best flavor from these ingredients.

Keep broth at a low simmer

Once you begin simmering your broth, make sure the broth doesn’t reach a point where it starts boiling again. If the broth boils too much, it will result in a cloudy broth.

chicken pho

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chicken pho

Get the Recipe:
Traditional Homemade Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

Made with shredded parboiled chicken and fresh pho noodles, this authentic Vietnamese pho ga recipe(Vietnamese chicken pho soup) proves you can make delicious and deeply flavorful pho at home! This is not a quick recipe, but the extra effort and stovetop simmering time is 100% worth it.
4.92 from 68 ratings

Ingredients
 
 

Broth Ingredients

Finishing Touches

Instructions
 

  • Clean the dried scallops. Add the dried scallops into a bowl of water and let sit for at least 10 minutes. The water will clean out the dried scallops.
  • Roast the onion and ginger. Preheat the oven to broil. Broil the yellow onion and ginger root for 10-15 minutes until you see charred edges on both.
  • Make the herb bundle. Toast the coriander seeds and fennel seeds on the stove in a small pan for 1-3 minutes until you smell a toasty aroma. Add to a cheese cloth and tie it tight with some butchers twine.
  • Par boil the chicken to clean it. Add chicken to a large soup pot and cover with water until it just covers the chicken. Bring to a boil. After it boils, remove the chicken and pour out the water. This allows you to clean the chicken and obtain a clean broth.
  • Make the broth. Now you are ready to make the broth! Add the chicken back to the soup pot and cover with fresh water until it just covers it. Add in the roasted onion, ginger, dried scallops, daikon, and herb bundle. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • After it has simmered for 30 minutes, take out the chicken and rest the meat about 10 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle. Continue simmering the broth while you are waiting. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred all the meat. Add the bones back to the soup to cook further. Add the chicken broth and simmer for another 2.5 hours. Taste the broth to make sure it is seasoned to your tastes. If it tastes bland, add more salt.
  • Once the soup has finished cooking, remove your solids, and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into another soup pot. The purpose of this is to get the cleanest broth possible by removing any small solids in the soup.
  • Make your green onion and cilantro toppings. While the soup simmers, mince your green onions and cilantro. Set them aside in the fridge while you wait for your soup to finish.
  • Boil the noodles. When you have about 10 minutes left in simmering time, cook your noodles. If using fresh noodles, cook in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, and if using dried noodles, cook in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
  • Putting it all together. Once the soup has finished cooking, add some noodles, shredded chicken, minced green onion, minced cilantro, fried shallots, and a dash of fish sauce (optional) to a bowl. Ladle soup over the top and serve.

Notes

How to make this recipe in 1.5 hours or less. If you are pressed for time, here’s how I would modify the recipe to shorten the cooking time! It will not be as flavorful as the 3 hour version of this dish, but it will still be good!
  1. While the chicken is simmering, cook your noodles and prep your toppings (cilantro and green onions). Set aside.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, add in the chicken broth and simmer for 10 more minutes. Taste the broth and add more salt if it tastes bland.
  3. Now you’re ready to put together your bowl of noodles! Add the noodles and toppings to your bowl and ladle soup over the top!
Serving: 1bowl, Calories: 678kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 41g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 147mg, Sodium: 1711mg, Potassium: 790mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 340IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 93mg, Iron: 3mg
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