For those who may not know, pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a Vietnamese soup that consists of broth, rice noodles (aka bánh phá»Ÿ), a few herbs, and meat. Typically, that meat is either beef or chicken, but vegetarian-friendly phos are becoming increasingly popular stateside.
The dish is popular street food in Vietnam and one that is served at various restaurants around the United States. However, not all pho is created equal since it can actually be pretty difficult to nail its unique flavour profile, especially if you’ve never made it before.
Check out the recipes and tips below for some guidance, and go ahead and give it a shot yourself!
Ben Puchowitz’s Coconut Chicken Pho
As the chef and co-owner of Philadelphia’s Cheu Noodle Bar, Cheu Fishtown, Nunu and Bing Bing Dim Sum, Puchowitz knows how to make some delicious pho. His version of the Vietnamese classic uses a homemade broth that gets a flavorful boost from Thai basil, cucumber, avocado, and crispy onion.
“It’s super simple and easy to put together,” Puchowitz tells AskMen. “A trip to the Asian market is required unless you regularly have crispy onion and spicy chili crisp in your cupboard like I do. Whole Foods carries a great organic coconut palm sugar that I use in this recipe as well.”
Makes 6 servings Ingredients: For the broth:
1 whole 3.5-pound chicken (generously seasoned with salt and left to sit out for an hour)
6 quarts water
5 tsps salt
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1 lime peel (use juice for broth right before serving)
6 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, peeled
2 tbsps soy sauce
16 oz coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
12 oz rice noodles
For the spicy cucumber:
1 large seedless cucumber (sliced into rounds)
1 tbsp spicy chili crisp (bought from Asian market)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
For the toppings:
2 avocados (sliced)
1 cup crispy onion (from an Asian market)
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1 1/2 cups spicy cucumber
1 cooked whole chicken (breast sliced and thigh/back picked for meat)
Once chicken has absorbed most of the salt from the quick cure, place in stock pot and add water. Slowly bring to a boil.Once water is boiling, skim impurities and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Add the salt, palm sugar, lime peel, garlic, onion, and soy sauce and cook for 50 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, make the spicy cucumber by mixing together all of the ingredients and letting them marinate for an hour. When the chicken is cooked, pull it from the pot and place on a rack to cool.
Add coconut milk and fish sauce and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Strain, then let sit until ready to use. You only need about half this broth for six servings. You can freeze the rest for future use.