Daring Cooks October Challenge – Vietnamese Chicken Pho

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

chicken ph

I made this last Saturday for lunch, to fulfill the Daring Cooks October Challenge. This is my first challenge, and so I was quite excited about it! I had most of the spices, and thankfully, it’s really quite easy to find them in this part of the world. I had some trouble finding the rice noodles though, for some weird reason.

I decided to try the longer version of the recipe, which can be found here. Hubby helped with the chopping of the chicken and the smashing of the marrow. The soup was very fragrant and clear. I only wonder if I should have added slightly more fish sauce and sugar, as it was fairly bland initially. One could however, taste the flavour of the chicken in the soup. All in all, it was a fairly simple, yet refreshing meal.

Below is Jaden’s recipe for the simple vietnamese chicken pho. I went ahead and did the more complex version, which requires one to make your own chicken stock.

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions

Servings: Makes 4 servings


For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
½ onion
1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce

1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)


2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili sauce
Hoisin sauce
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice


  1. To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
  2. In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
  4. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
  5. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  6. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
  7. Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
  8. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.


  1. I don’t think you were supposed to post this until October 14th! That’s the ‘reveal’ date for all Daring Cook bloggers.

  2. Welcome and congrats on your 1st challenge. Your pho looks wonderful and I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I like your photo, and yes it is a refreshing soup light yet tssty, Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  3. Good job on your first challenge. I hope you had fun making it and enjoyed eating it. Looking forward to what comes next.

  4. Wonderful job with your first challenge!! The pho looks awesome =D.

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