Earlier this year, I posted about my Montreal Pho Hunt blog post, along with some updates, so I figured I would help out my fellow pho lovers out there, with a recipe that they can make at home.
Beef pho is one of my favorite dishes and unfortunately one of the few dishes I have tried to replicate and have not been very successful. I find it very hard to nail all of the flavours, herbs and spices of a good beef pho broth and the process is very long (around 6 hours). As a result, I eat pho at the restaurant quite often, as it is a dish I cannot prepare myself. This is why instead, I make a wannabe chicken pho, as it takes much less time and it tastes pretty good, IMO.
Servings: 2 portions (freeze half of the leftover broth for a next time)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: minimum 30 minutes (the longer the better)
- BROTH INGREDIENTS:
- 6 cups of chicken broth*
- 1 bunch of coriander, stems and roots only (keep the leaves as garnish)
- 1 large onion, sliced in four
- 4 star anise
- 6 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
- a large knob of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into a few pieces
- 3 branches of fresh Thai basil
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- SOUP INGREDIENTS (garnishes):
- 1 package of rice noodles**
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly***
- 1 bunch of coriander, leaves only
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly
- bean sprouts
- fresh Thai basil (optional****)
- bok choy (addition*****)
How to make the soup:
- Add all of the broth ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Once warm, taste and make any necessary adjustments. Reduce to medium-low heat and let it cook while you prep your other ingredients. Let it cook for at least 30 minutes, but ideally around an hour (the longer the better).
- Once the broth has been simmering for at least an half an hour, drain it with a strainer so you have a nice clear broth. Put it back on the stove and let it simmer lightly so it stays warm.
- Afterwards, cook the rice noodles in a second pot. Once the rice noodles are cooked, drain and divide into two portions in large soup bowls.
- Add the sliced chicken to the broth and let it cook for a good 5 minutes.
- Once the chicken has been cooking in the broth for about 3 minutes, add the bok choy so they can finish cooking at the same time as the chicken.
- Once the slices of chicken and the bok choy are cooked, split between the two bowls, on top of the noodles. Add the rest of the garnishes to the soup bowls and finish by pouring warm broth to cover. And there you have it, wannabe pho ready to be enjoyed on a cold Montreal day!
*You can use homemade chicken broth, which will probably make your pho even tastier, but if you don’t have any, broth cubes will work just fine (it is wannabe pho after all). When possible, I use chicken thighs and drumsticks with the skin still on to make the stock, and then use that chicken as the chicken that I will eat with the soup.
**These can be found in most grocery stores nowadays (Provigo, Metro, IGA) but if you go to grocery store in Chinatown or “little Vietnam”, you will have more options. My preference is the rice noodles that are about a third of a centimeter thick, but there are many types of noodles out there that vary from 1mm in thickness to a few cm. Make sure you don’t take the tapioca noodles, but the rice noodles!
***The easiest way to thinly slice a chicken breast is if it is partially frozen. However, it is not necessary that the chicken be frozen, it’ll just be more difficult to obtain thin slices. Alternatively, you can add grilled chicken breast instead if you prefer, or as mentioned above, chicken meat from the thighs and drumsticks if you used those to make the broth.
****You’ll notice that some of the ingredients are marked as “optional”, as they cannot be easily found in all grocery stores, but they are highly recommended
*****You’ll notice that some of the ingredients are marked as “addition”, as I sometimes include them to make the soup healthier and a more complete meal (yay vegetables!)
UP NEXT: ma critique en tant qu’invité au Beni Hana ! (Resto Japonais dans l’Est de la ville)
*All photos are my own and of dishes prepared by myself