Let me start by saying, this is not authentic phở. This is “I need something that tastes good, is fast, has noodles, and kind of tastes like phở.” AKA Quickie Faux Phở. It does the job in a pinch when you can’t get the real thing. Kind of like what those 15¢ packs of ramen are compared to real ramen—not really even in the same class, but it only takes 15 minutes to make and sometimes that’s what’s important.
What is Phở?
Well basically, phở is the best food on earth (sorry pizza, it’s true). Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup made with a super lush bone broth, tender meat, and a whole lot of delicious fresh toppings like Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime, and thinly sliced jalapeñ0. The flavors are absolutely divine and it will cure any ailment you have, physical, emotional, or spiritual.
Why Not Make Authentic Chicken Phở?
I’ve had many people ask me to make phở for the blog over the years, but I’ve avoided it, despite my deep love for the amazing soup. We have a large Vietnamese population here in New Orleans, so it’s just too easy to get a giant bowl of super authentic, perfectly made phở for really cheap. I’d rather do that once in a while than gather all the ingredients and go through the laborious process to make it myself at home. Sometimes effort > savings, ya know?
But then one day I accidentally discovered that adding five spice blend to chicken broth makes a tasty concoction that tastes awfully similar to phở, and here we are. If you’d rather try your hand at making the real thing, I suggest checking out Steamy Kitchen. Jaden has two great chicken phở recipes, one for a slow cooker and one stove top.
Anyway, are you ready to see how to get phở flavor but FAST?
Quickie Faux Phở
- 6 cups chicken broth* ($0.78)
- 1/2 Tbsp five spice blend ($0.15)
- 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or chopped ($1.50)
- 8 oz. wide rice noodles ($1.75)
- 1 jalapeño ($0.14)
- 1 lime ($0.50)
- 2 green onions ($0.20)
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.20)
- Sriracha to taste ($0.15)
- Hoisin sauce to taste ($0.15)
- Add the chicken broth, five spice blend, and chicken pieces to a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the noodles and continue to boil until tender** (about 4-5 minutes).
- While the noodles are boiling, slice the jalapeño and green onions, and cut the lime into wedges.
- Spoon the broth, noodles, and chicken into four bowls. Top with a couple wedges of lime, a few slices of jalapeño and green onion, and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. Serve with sriracha and hoisin on the side.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Faux Chicken Phở – Step by Step Photos
Phở is all about the broth, so use the best stuff you can find–homemade if possible. You’ll want about 6 cups for this super fast, small-batch version.
Five spice blend is what transforms a regular chicken stock into a faux phở. The five spices in this blend are anise, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, and black pepper–a very similar mix of spices that you’d use if you were making a phở broth from scratch, and that’s why this works. It’s a huge short cut. I used 1/2 Tbsp for 6 cups of broth, but you can always add more later if you’d like.
Also add about 1 cup of shredded or chopped pre-cooked chicken. Bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat.
You’ll need some wide rice noodles for your phở. I used half of this package for four servings, or 8oz. total.
You can either drop the noodles right into the boiling soup to cook them, or cook them separately so they don’t get mushy when you store the phở in the refrigerator. If you cook and store the noodles separately, just plop some of the cooked and drained noodles in the bottom of each bowl and ladle the hot broth over top. The noodles only take 4-5 minutes to cook.
While the noodles are cooking, prepare the garnishes. There are a lot of different garnishes that can go into phở, but I kept it simple to keep the price down. The three things that are critical, IMHO, are lime, cilantro, and jalapeño. I also did green onion because I had it on hand, and I like to add sriracha and hoisin.
To serve, start your bowl with the broth, noodles, and chicken.
Next, drop in a couple lime wedges, add a few slices of jalapeño and green onion, and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.
Finally, finish it off with the sauces. If you’re a phở fanatic like me, you know that the longer these things sit in the broth, the better it gets. So, by the time you get to the bottom of that bowl you’re in absolute heaven. Leftovers are also pretty amazing.
It might not be the real thing, but I certainly wouldn’t say no to a big bowl of that Quickie Faux Phở!
I am sorry Beth, I love your site but pho and quickie should never be used in the same sentence. My favorite Vietnamese restaurant takes 48 hours to make their broth and they sell it by container. I pop by pick up broth and take it from there. Yeah, it’s that good.
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Awesome! Finally a good use for the Asian 5 spice that’s been sitting in my basket forever. Never knew it could be this easy if you don’t have the time and materials. My only tip for the other chefs reading is put a tablespoon of 5 spice into an herbal teabag if you have some on hand and steep in the broth to taste. This is will yield a clearer Pho-like broth.
Has anyone tried this with shrimp instead of chicken? I’m quite curious to make the swap.
I looks like it is gluten free?
I think you’re right!
This was really good- but the five spice didn’t quite dissolve, am I doing something wrong? It was a little grainy.
No, that’s just how spices are. :) They don’t dissolve.
We loved this as is, but can’t wait to try it again using some fresh mint from our garden. It doesn’t *quite* taste like pho, but it is REALLY delicious and simple and even my two year old slurped it right up. Adding this to our list of fast weeknight recipes. Thanks again for almost single-handedly keeping our family fed and full of good flavors!
I found it pho taste better when using Thai Basil.