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Pho Gha

Ok so, I've yet to visit Vietnam, but I've spent a lot of time in Hoxton! For those of you that know Hoxton, will know about Pho Mile, a stretch on Kingsland Road full of vietnamese restaurants. This was where I had my first taste of Pho and I became so obsessed that I would find a way to eat Pho during my lunch break at work! Another famous joint in the city - City Caphe with forty minute queues at lunch time! As I said I was OBSESSED.

Living outside of London I often find myself craving this dish on a regular basis and not a vietnamese restaurant in sight! So there was only one thing for it! I had to learn how the make it. The original version of the recipe can be found here . I like mine SPICY with lemongrass so I've made a few tweaks in my version.

Organic chicken bone broth has benefits, it can support gut and immune health, weight loss, joint health and skin.

Two large saucepans are required for this dish.


Serves 4


  • 1 whole chicken (about 1.5kg)

  • 2 stalks of lemongrass cut in half horizontally

  • 3 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced in half vertically

  • 5 large shallots, peeled

  • 1 small piece of cassia bark, or 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2-3 star anises

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or 3-4 cloves, please see Notes if using cloves)

  • 1 black cardamom pods, cracked open

  • 2 teaspoons salt (plus more to parboil the chicken)

  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 2l water

  • pho rice noodles


  • 3 stalks lemongrass minced

  • 1 shallot roughly chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 4 Thai chilies

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil such as grapeseed or canola

  • 1/4 cup Chinese chili flakes or sub 2-4 Thai chilies

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste mắm ruốc, optional

To serve

  • Mint

  • Thai Basil

  • Coriander

  • Birds-eye chili pepper, sliced

  • Lime wedges


  • Add boiling water to a pot large enough to fit in the chicken. Add a pinch of salt and chicken to the pot. Let it boil for a minute, then remove the chicken and discard the liquid.

  • In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the ginger, lemongrass and shallots until fragrant and lightly develop colors. Set ginger and shallots aside.

  • Reduce the heat to medium low. Add cassia bark/cinnamon, star anises, coriander seeds and black cardamom pod (if using) and toast just until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn.

  • In a clean pot, add chicken, ginger, shallots, spices, 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 liters of water. When it starts to boil, skim off any foams and lower heat to a gentle simmer. This can be a bit annoying with the coriander seeds in the way, but i just fish them out.

  • Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. You can test by using a meat thermometer, or inserting a chopstick and see if the juice runs clear. Remove the chicken from the stock pot.

  • Put the chicken in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Then take it out of the ice bath, separate the meat from the bones. Add the bones back to the pot. Continue to simmer the broth for at least 45-60 minutes, or more until flavors are concentrated to your liking.

  • For the sate mince the lemongrass for the sate and transfer it to a food processor along with the shallot, garlic, and Thai chilies. Pulse into a fine paste.

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the sate paste and fry, stirring, just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce, and shrimp paste (if using). Let cool then place in a jar or airtight container. The satế will keep in the fridge for up to several weeks.

  • Before serving, taste the broth and flavor with 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce to taste.

To assemble

  • While the broth is cooking, shred or slice the chicken into bite size pieces. Cook pho noodles according to packet instructions

  • Separate noodles among 4 large bowls and top with chicken meat. Bring broth to a boil and then ladle broth into serving bowls.

  • Serve immediately with herbs, lime and chilli on the side

  • Add sate to bowl according to taste, one teaspoon is usually about enough for me!

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