How to Make Chicken Phở with Chef Eric Ehler

On the Menu:

Chicken Phở

All the garnishes!

Phở is a hearty, nourishing soup that is often consumed for breakfast in Vietnam. In the states, we usually have it for lunch or dinner. It can be made with many different kinds of meat, and we learned how to make it with chicken with Chef Eric Ehler of Black Sands Brewery. He came out to Oakland to cook with our Youth Radio students last week, and he shared a recipe that was surprisingly easy for us to make.

Carefully skimming the broth

The most important part? The broth. “The core foundation of this soup is a very clean, clear broth.” How do you achieve this? By meticulous skimming of the impurities off the top throughout the cooking process. Check out more quick tips and the recipe below for the chicken phở.

  • Caramelizing the ginger and the onions creates the backbone flavor of the soup.
  • Smell the broth to see how strong the spices are getting, take out some spices to prevent from getting too strong.
  • Core foundation of soup: clean, clear broth. Very important to skim impurities off the top of the soup.
  • Don’t salt water for rice noodles because it makes the noodles mushy!
  • If you don’t have all the spices you can use coriander, cinnamon, ginger, and garlic instead.

We’ve listed the recipes below if you need it and if any of you try it out,

please share it with us on Instagram @cooking_project or #thecookingproject.


1 whole chicken
2 heads of garlic, cleaned and separated into smashed individual cloves
2 finger-size ginger pieces, sliced roughly
3 onions, peeled and roughly sliced
2 Tablespoons coriander
1 teaspoon cloves
3 star anise
1 Tablespoon cinnamon bark
4 cardamom pods
Rice Noodles

For Garnish:

Soy sauce, sriracha, hoisin sauce
Sliced thin: 1 Jalapeño, 1 Red Onion, 5 Scallions
Mung Bean Sprouts
Handfuls of Thai basil, mint, and cilantro

  • Wash chicken, pat dry, and break down into pieces
  • Put chicken in water, bring to simmer ASAP
  • Toast spices, add to water
  • Brown garlic, ginger, onion in pan, brown and add to stock
  • While stock is simmering, prepare noodles, divide among bowls
  • Slice onions, scallions, jalapeno, lime, and pick cilantro for garnish
  • Wash bean sprouts
  • Skim stock, remove garlic, onions, and ginger
  • Garnish bowls
  • Remove chicken, shock in cold water, pick meat
  • Add chicken to bowls and pour in broth

4 thoughts on “How to Make Chicken Phở with Chef Eric Ehler

  1. Method of cooking and serving the chicken is analogous to fricaseeing chicken in USA and Europe. The noodles are analogous to rice. Value of the recipe is that it puts older chickens with tougher meat to good use. Such stewing chickens are not commonly found on the retail market anymore in the USA. See Margaret Rudkin’s recipe for “Fricaseeing of Chickens” dating from the year 1658 in the antique recipes section of the 1965 edition of THE PEPPRIDGE FARM COOKBOOK.

  2. Chef Ehler’s recipe for Chicken Pho is analogous to the fricassee of chicken that my mother used to serve her family in New Orleans, Louisiana when I was a child. She stewed the chicken rather than frying, roasting or sauteeing it. Fricasseeing put to good use the inexpensive stewing chickens that used to be sold in grocery stores in the USA. And my mother served the fricassee with rice, which is analogous to Ehler’s rice noodles. The vegetables she added to the broth were domestic, such as celery and carrots, but I see that onions are common to American and Vietnamese versions of the dish. It testifies to the long lineage of Chicken Pho that corresponding European recipes can be found in culinary texts dating back to the mid seventeenth century. I look forward to making Ehler’s fricassee using at least some of the rich array of exotic ingredients he uses. His broth is surely as robust and energizing as my mother’s broth was comforting and soothing.

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