Cheats Vietnamese Chicken Pho

This recipe is dedicated to all the people who have asked me what they should do with their leftover aromatics after making my chilli oil recipe. I agree, throwing out expensive aromatics doesn't feel right. So I decided to trial a few different ways to reuse the aromatics including blitzing everything into a food processor until you get a paste like consistency, jarring it and keeping it in the fridge. 

This actually was really easy and delicious. You could fry a heaped teaspoon in oil before stir frying a protein. Also could work as a curry paste that you add to some other spices in of your choice, fry off and add coconut milk.

But, when I looked at all the aromatics that go into my chilli oil, I realised it had a really similar flavour profile to Pho! With the exception of cardamom and bay leaves, all of the aromatics are the beginnings of a pho broth. 

Enter my Cheat's Vietnamese Chicken Pho!

Full disclosure, this is not the traditional way to make Vietnamese Chicken Pho, and why I'm disclosing it as a 'Cheats' recipe. This recipe is a way to give your leftover Chilli Oil aromatics a new life and for you to get another meal out of your ingredients, which I think is the best way to approach food when you are cooking at home. Leave nothing to waste!


Serves 4
Ingredients 7
Cooking Time 1 hour
Skill Level Easy


  • 1 cup of your Leftover Chilli Oil aromatics 
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 1 packet of Pho Noodles (flat rice stick noodles) If you're unsure which are the right ones look for packaging that says Banh Pho on it.
  • 1 Spanish red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 stalks of spring onion, finely sliced
  • 1 stalk of coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons of your homemade Chilli Oil


  1. Place all of your leftover Chilli Oil aromatics into a large pot or stockpot. 
  2. Grab yourself a raw whole chicken, and place on top of the aromatics, cover with cold water making sure the chicken is fully submerged. The amount of water will depend on the size of your pot.
  3. Begin bringing it to the boil. The chicken will add flavour to the stock as it cooks, and then once the broth is cooked you shred the meat to place back into your pho. If you want to add more aromatics like extra onions, spring onions of ginger you can too if you have them lying around. The more the merrier and flavoursome your broth will be.
  4. Once it starts to boil, turn down the heat to low so it slowly simmers. Continually cooking a stock at a high boiling point will create a cloudy stock versus a low simmer which will give you a clear consommé like broth. 
  5. Whilst your chicken is simmering, use a large spoon to skim off the scum floating on the top of the stock and discard. Do it intermittently every 15 minutes or so. This removes impurities so that you end up with a really clear broth. 
  6. Cook your chicken on summer for a minimum of 45 minutes and up to about 2 hours, or until the stock is flavoursome to your liking. This is a good WFH recipe, you could simmer the chicken a few hours before dinner so then all your need to do is put together the pho later.
  7. Once your chicken is fully cooked and tender (approx 45 minutes) remove from the pot and allow to cool down.
  8. Then strain the broth, discarding the aromatics and return the broth back to the same pot.
  9. Place back on simmer and season with a few tablespoons of fish sauce. Fish sauce is a form of salt, but adds a greater depth of flavour than conventional salt, a bit of an instant umami. Now that's the broth done and now to quickly prepare the other ingredients!
  10. Cook your pho noodles in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until just soft and drain.
  11. Shred the chicken into small pieces with your hands. 
  12. Finely chop some spring onions, coriander and slice some red onions. 
  13. To serve, place a handful of your pho vermicelli noodles into a bowl, then a handful of your shredded chicken, scatter your red onions and spring onions and then ladle in the broth until the noodles are submerged.
  14. Serve with freshly cracked pepper, a squeeze of lemon and extra lemon on the side.
  15. And to go completely full circle with it all, drizzle over some of the homemade Chilli Oil that you made for a delicious kick and extra flavour.

Watch the process



Recipe FAQ's

Can you cook the noodles straight into the broth?

Sounds efficient in theory, but please don't do that, especially for rice noodles. They release a lot of starch when they cook so if you were to put them straight into the broth, the starch will completely change the consistency (thicken) and taste of your broth, make it cloudy and ruin the clear flavoursome broth you worked so hard for. 

This is why I am against those 'one pot pasta' recipes. It's not a hack. The only exception I make is for instant noodles. 

Please take the extra time to cook in a separate pot, which will take you 15 seconds to wash and rinse after.


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