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Vietnamese chicken noodle soup (Pho Ga)

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Cooking time

Prep: 20 minutes Cook: 20 minutes

Skill level



Serves 6

Pho, pronounced “Fuh” – not ‘Fo’ – is probably Vietnam’s most famous dish. The locals have this light, fragrant noodle soup (usually with chicken (“Ga”) or beef (“Bo”) for breakfast.

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  • oil 1 tablespoon
  • shallots 3, sliced
  • garlic 3 cloves, sliced
  • lemongrass 1 stalk, chopped
  • ginger 1 inch, sliced
  • Spice mix (3 whole star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ¼ teaspoon Chinese five-spice, ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns)
  • sugar 1 teaspoon
  • fish sauce 1 tablespoon
  • good quality fresh chicken stock 1.25 - 1.5 litres (5-6 cups)
  • free range boneless skinless chicken breasts 500g
  • carrot 1, shredded or peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • mung bean sprouts 2 large handfuls
  • fresh coriander, chopped Large handful
  • mint leaves Handful of, chopped
  • red chilli 1, thinly sliced (optional)
  • crispy fried shallots* 2 tablespoons (optional)
  • kaffir lime leaf 1, tough central stalk removed, very finely sliced (optional)
  • lime 1, cut into wedges
  • fish sauce and chilli sauce more to taste


  1. Heat oil in a small fry pan on medium heat and gently cook shallots and garlic until caramelised and golden brown (about 4-5 minutes).

  2. In a large-size pot combine caramelised shallots and garlic, lemongrass, ginger, Chinese five-spice, sugar, fish sauce, chicken stock and chicken breasts. Cover with a lid and bring to a very gentle simmer. Simmer very gently for about 15 m

  3. Meanwhile, prep the vegetables and cook the noodles according to packet instructions until just cooked through (do not over-cook). Rinse under cold water to prevent them sticking together. Drain and divide between serving bowls.

  4. Strain the soup through a sieve. Return soup to the pot and bring to a boil. Season to taste with more fish sauce if needed.

  5. To serve, ladle piping hot soup into bowls of noodles and chicken, and top with carrot, spring onion, bean sprouts, herbs, crispy shallots and kaffir lime leaf. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over, and more fish sauce and chilli to add to taste.

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