Saturday, April 25, 2015

Quick Chicken Pho

If you've visited me before, you may have noticed my deep devotion to Asian noodles, especially big brothy bowls of them. Oh how I love pho! The aroma of it alone can brighten my day. I've been making this quick and easy version for a while now. It mimics the slow-simmered flavor profile of the real deal. It's just delicious! 

I like that I can control the sodium and ingredients in this recipe. It satisfies my impossible-to-ignore-pho-cravings too. A few pinches of cinnamon is the key to giving it an authentic taste. Trust me and don't skip it. Shiitakes, though not traditional, lend a rich umami flavor. A finish of fresh basil, some thinly sliced red chili peppers and a squeeze of juicy lime are a must for me too. It's healthy, fresh and flavorful. I hope you give it a try! Get your pho-fix in 30 minutes! If you'd like to see more noodle bowl recipes, please click on the Recipe Index.   

Quick Chicken Pho Recipe

Serves 3 

Some Notes:

Skip the chicken and use tofu to make it vegan. You can also swap the rice noodles for soba or ramen.

I use a microplane zester to grate the ginger directly into the soup pot. I use the same pot that the noodles are cooked in to make the soup.

Rapunzel No Salt Vegan/Vegetable Bouillon is my go-to veggie bouillon. It's the best. I love it for its clean, homemade flavor. I find it at Whole Foods or buy it online at Amazon. But you can swap it and the water for 6 cups of your favorite broth or stock.  

Keep the noodles separate from the broth. Add them to the soup when you serve it so they don't get mushy and soak up all the broth. 

If you've got a star anise pod hanging around your kitchen, use it here. A piece of lemongrass is also a good idea when cooking the broth. Riff on this basic recipe and make it your own.

If you love big brothy bowls of noodles check out my easy soba noodle soup with mushrooms and snow peas


  • 8 ounces of rice noodles
  • 6 ounces of chicken, chopped into small pieces. I use organic chicken tenders.
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch of scallions, (4-6), diced. Reserve the dark green parts for serving.
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 10 shiitakes). Button mushrooms will work too.  
  • 8 vegetable bouillon cubes. I use Rapunzel No Salt Vegan Brand (see notes for information)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon plus more for serving
  • 1 star anise pod (optional) 
  • Soy sauce to taste 
  • Salt to taste 
  • 6 cups of water

To Serve: Thai basil or regular basil, squeeze of lime juice, finely sliced chili peppers, sriracha sauce, bean sprouts


Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions, rinse them in cold water and set aside. You may want to toss them with a little oil to prevent sticking.  

Put 6 cups of water and the vegetable bouillon cubes in a soup pot with some salt and soy sauce to taste. Turn on the heat. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir in the white and light green parts of the scallions, ginger, chicken, mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring to a boil again. Stir in the star anise pod (if using). Cover the pot, turn down the heat and simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove the star anise pod and stir in a small pinch of cinnamon. Place the noodles in large soup bowls, ladle the hot soup over them. Serve with some of the reserved scallions, fresh lime wedges and any of the above suggestions.    

Bon Appetit!


  1. Can't wait to try this! Made one of your pasta dishes tonight.... Delicious and easy... Perfect for a weeknight dish. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Can't wait to try this! Made one of your pasta dishes tonight.... Delicious and easy... Perfect for a weeknight dish. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Thank you very much! So happy you're enjoying the recipes! Happy Cooking! xx ~ Jilly