Fast Chicken Pho • zeroforlife.com

Fast Chicken Pho

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I’m craving my Fast Chicken Pho today. If you’ve never tried gluten-free pho before, you’re totally missing out!

What is Pho?

Pho is a hearty and tasty Vietnamese noodle soup that serves as the country’s national dish.  It is traditionally comprised of slices of beef or chicken, herbs and spices, and chewy rice noodles that are all added to a slowly simmered chicken or beef broth and sometimes garnished with various toppings and sauces such as fish, hoisin, and hot chili sauce – depending on the region it is served in.

Image of bowl of Fast Chicken Pho with the Zero For Life logo.

There are several variations endemic to certain regions of the country with each style differing by noodle size, selection of herbs, and level of sweetness in the broth. There are two main styles that are found within the country – each with its own flair. 

A simpler version of pho is called phở Bắcor “northern pho”, which is found in the northern parts of Vietnam and made with a fatty stock or broth, only a few herbs and vegetables such as green onions, cilantro, and pickled garlic, then seasoned with a chili sauce and served with a fried dough called quẩythat is often dipped in the pho. Conversely, phở Sài Gòn, translated as “southern pho” or ‘Saigon pho”, is found more in southern parts of the country and is made with more spices, herbs, bean sprouts and any of multiple tasty sauces to choose from.

Historians agree that the origins of both the Vietnamese noodle soup and its name, “pho”, aren’t well documented, but many believe that its beginnings occurred somewhere in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s where two predominant theories prevail.

Some western sources believe that pho was inspired by French settlers who commonly consumed beef in a French beef stew, called pot-au-feu, which literally translates to “pot of fire” as opposed to the pork and chicken that were the staples in the diets of most Vietnamese people at the time. 

Some dispute the notion that the French beef stew itself had less influence on pho than the name did since the French beef stew consisted of potatoes and other root vegetables such as carrots, rutabagas, parsnips, and turnips, which was very different from that of the contents of Vietnamese noodle soup which lacked such root vegetables.

It is also believed that the name “pho” was most influenced by French soldiers who would order “feu” or “fire” from Vietnamese vendors who would cook the noodle soup in a large steamy bowls over an open flame.

Some scholars believe that pho was more influenced by a Cantonese dish called ngưu nhục phấn, a beef and noodle soup that was made and sold by Chinese vendors. The soup’s name was eventually shortened to simply “pho”, where the last letter, “n”, was dropped from the word since the similar sounding word in Chinese meant “poop”.  Understandably, the Vietnamese noodle soup sounded much more appetizing sans excrement.

The global popularity of pho grew significantly in the mid 20th century, particularly after the Vietnam War where Vietnamese refugees brought pho to the many countries they immigrated to.  This chicken noodle soup from Asia made it’s way to restaurants, food carts, and finally, home kitchens.

Some of the best tasting homemade pho recipes involve being chained to the stove boiling meat and bones with a myriad of herbs and spices over several hours to create an undeniably delicious broth to serve as the base of the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup.   While the method may be easy, it certainly involves a great deal of time that we don’t always have to devote to the process. 

Enter this Fast Chicken Pho recipe that won’t let you down.

Broth

When researching which store-bought broths might be best suited for this Fast Chicken Pho soup, I found many to choose from.  I settled on this one by Savory Choice. 

Just add one stick pouch of concentrated liquid pho chicken broth to two cups of hot water to instantly create a single serving of a rich and delicious Vietnamese pho chicken broth. 

Image of the gluten-free pho broth used in the recipe called Fast Chicken Pho.

If a store-bought broth isn’t an option for you or you have a lot of time to devote to slow simmering a homemade broth, you can do so by boiling the bones and meat of beef or chicken. 

Broth can also be made using the internal organs or the immature eggs of chickens.  Other less common protein variations in pho include buffalo, duck, goat, and veal.

To flavor the broth, a mix of aromatic spices – often wrapped in a cheesecloth or boiling bag – are boiled with the bones and meat.  Popular spices often used in making Vietnamese Pho are:

  • Bayleaf*
  • Cardamom*
  • Cinnamon*
  • Cloves*
  • Coriander*
  • Fennel*
  • Ginger*
  • Onion
  • Shallots
  • Star anise*

*Low FODMAP items in this recipe are marked with an asterisk (*).

Meat

Various cuts of meat are often added to pho to add delicious protein. It’s the addition of protein that makes this a hearty main course and not just a lightweight side dish.

It is important to select cooked or uncooked meat that is labeled “gluten-free” because meat is often flavored with seasonings, soaked in brine, or injected with broth.

Beef is perhaps the most traditional meat used in pho with chicken a close second, but other kinds of meat are also used as well. Some kinds of meat often served in traditional pho dishes are:

Image of seasoned pre-cooked chicken used in Fast Chicken Pho.

Beef:

  • Beef tripe*
  • Boiled beef blood*
  • Brisket*
  • Flank steak*
  • Tendons*
  • Rare beef patty*
  • Medium rare meat*
  • Well done meat*

Chicken:

  • Chicken breast*
  • Chicken innards*
  • Chicken thigh*
  • Immature chicken eggs*

Other Traditional Meat Variations:

  • Buffalo
  • Duck
  • Goat
  • Veal

Today, I am making my Fast Chicken Pho with pre-cooked chicken breasts because it makes for a very fast and of course, very tasty Vietnamese noodle soup.

Noodles

Pho is usually made with dry or fresh Vietnamese rice noodles or rice vermicelli that’s boiled until fully cooked and tender enough to eat.  Some brands, such as this gluten-free one that I am using today by Haiku come pre-measured into single serving sized bundled “nests” of rice noodles. 

Image of rice noodles used in Fast Chicken Pho.

These perfectly portioned nests are very handy when wanting to make dinner fast because you can just grab as many or as few as you need for the number of people you are serving in one sitting without having to make any calculations at all.

Image of uncooked rice noodles in a bowl that was used in Fast Chicken Pho.

The package’s instructions recommend cooking the noodles in water and then transferring them to your soup, however, I prefer to cook my Fast Chicken Pho noodles directly in the broth to both save time and infuse that delicious broth flavor right into the noodles that I’m about to eat.

Just drop a nest into your pot of broth and boil for three minutes or until they are tender. It’s that fast and easy!

Image of rice noodles boiling in Fast Chicken Pho broth.

Garnishes

A delicious pho is always served with a variety of fresh herbs, vegetables, and citrus juice as well as sauces that may be hot, spicy, vinegary, and/or salty to brighten the flavors of the broth, meat, and noodles.  Typical pho garnishes include any combination of the following:

Fresh:

  • Bean Sprouts*
  • Cilantro*
  • Culantro
  • Green Onions
  • Lemon or Lime Slices*
  • Pickled Garlic
  • Pickled White Onions
  • Raw White Onions
  • Sliced Chili or Jalapeño*
  • Thai Basil*

Sauces:

  • Chili Oil*
  • Chili Sauce*
  • Fish Sauce*
  • Hoisin Sauce*
  • Lime or Lemon Juice*
  • Peanut Sauce*
  • Soy Sauce*
  • Sriracha*

For today’s Fast Chicken Pho, I chose to garnish mine with fresh minced garlic, slices of lime, jalapeño, red onions, cilantro, Thai basil, certified gluten-free Sriracha sauce, and certified gluten-free organic tamari soy sauce – basically, all of my favorites!

Image of gluten-free ingredients used in Fast Chicken Pho recipe.

Non-traditional or Vegan Options

Vegetarian or vegan? Looking for non-traditional options?

Just like in Vietnam, no two bowls of pho are exactly the same. The beauty of this savory soup is that you can feel free to customize it however you like it.

To a bowl of rice, tapioca, or vegetable noodles in vegetable broth, add any of the following options:

Non-traditional Protein Options:

  • Edamame
  • Mushrooms
  • Tofu*

Non-traditional Fresh Herbs and Vegetables:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell Peppers*
  • Bok Choy*
  • Broccoli*
  • Cabbage*
  • Carrots*
  • Celery
  • Ginger*
  • Leeks
  • Lemongrass*
  • Mint*
  • Scallions
  • Spinach*
  • Snap Peas
  • Sweet Potato *
  • Turnips*

Non-traditional Sauces and Additions:

  • Agave Nectar
  • Balsamic Vinegar*
  • Cider Vinegar*
  • Coconut Sugar*
  • Coconut Amino*
  • Coconut Milk*
  • Coconut Oil*
  • Olive Oil*
  • Sesame Oil*

*Low FODMAP items in this recipe are marked with an asterisk (*).

Image of bowl of gluten-free Fast Chicken Pho.

When it comes to non-traditional pho options, the sky and your imagination is the limit. No matter what you choose to use to make your pho with, it will be right because you customized it just for you and your personal taste preferences.

Enjoy!

If you liked our Fast Chicken Pho, then you’ll love some of our other favorite chicken dinners!

  • Easy Baked Chicken Spaghetti
Image of bowl of gluten-free Fast Chicken Pho.

Fast Chicken Pho

no profileJamie F.
This flavorful gluten-free Vietnamese chicken noodle soup recipe makes for a quick and easy comfort meal.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 2 people
Calories 330 kcal

Ingredients
  

Broth

  • 2 stick pouches Savory Choice Pho Chicken Broth Concentrate concentrate
  • 4 cups water

Noodles

  • 2 bundles Haiku Rice Vermicelli – Single Portion Nests

Meat

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts sliced into ½ inch thick slices

Garnishes

  • 1 medium red or white onion sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1 bunch Thai basil chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced or finely chopped
  • 1 small lime sliced into wedges
  • 1 large jalapeño sliced
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free tamari soy sauce

Instructions
 

Garnishes and Meat

  • Gather and prepare the meat and garnishes. Slice the chicken breasts, lime, jalapeño, and onions. Chop cilantro, basil, and garlic. Pre-measure appropriate servings of gluten-free tamari soy sauce and Sriracha sauce. Set aside until ready to assemble.
    Image of gluten-free ingredients used in Fast Chicken Pho recipe.

Broth

  • Add stick pouches of pho chicken broth concentrate to hot water per package instructions. Stir until thoroughly dissolved.
    Image of the gluten-free pho broth used in the recipe called Fast Chicken Pho.

Noodles

  • Add noodle nests to the broth mixture. Boil for 3 minutes or until noodles are tender.
    Image of rice noodles boiling in Fast Chicken Pho broth.

Assemble

  • Assemble each bowl of pho by adding noodles, broth, and one chicken breast to a bowl. Garnish with the sliced onion, sliced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, chopped basil, chopped garlic, a squeeze of a lime wedge, a ½ tbsp of gluten-free tamari soy sauce, and ½ tbsp of gluten-free Sriracha sauce.
    Image of bowl of gluten-free Fast Chicken Pho.

Nutrition

Calories: 330kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 56gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 831mgPotassium: 645mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 621IUVitamin B1: 0.2mgVitamin B2: 0.3mgVitamin B3: 24mgVitamin B5: 2mgVitamin B6: 1mgVitamin B12: 1µgVitamin C: 30mgVitamin D: 0.2µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 31µgCalcium: 82mgCopper: 0.3mgFolate: 29µgIron: 3mgManganese: 0.3mgMagnesium: 71mgPhosphorus: 437mgSelenium: 48µgZinc: 2mgCholine: 157mgNet Carbohydrates: 9g
Keyword Easy, Quick
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Jamie with ZERO For Life

Welcome to ZeroForLife.com!

My name is Jamie. My family and I know first hand what it's like to live with celiac disease and food allergies. Helping people like us with similar challenges take charge of their health and happiness is my undying passion. My focus is on providing you with both accurate health information that’s grounded in science and practical tools to help you successfully live a completely gluten free and/or allergen free lifestyle.

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