28 April 2022
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Phở is typically saved for the weekend when there’s extra time to cook, but that’s no longer the case if you have a pressure cooker. This chicken phở broth took me only 30 minutes to make in the Instant Pot. As I waited, I cooked the noodles and prepped the vegetables and garnishes. I got a hot bowl of delicious Vietnamese chicken noodle soup in mere minutes.
While it won’t take the place of the traditional way of making phở, this is a fantastic simplified way to make phở when the craving hits and you want something quick.
If you are looking for the traditional way of making phở and have some time on your hands, I got you too. Click below:
Traditional Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Phở Gà)
Traditional Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup (Phở Bò)
What is Pho?
Phở, pronounced as “Fuh?” as if asking a question is Vietnam’s most popular export. Phở is a noodle soup dish consisting of rice noodles, meat, and herbs. Beef and chicken are the two popular options. In Vietnam, phở is served primarily as breakfast food but it can be eaten any time of day.
What is the Difference between Chicken Pho and Beef Pho?
Aside from the obvious difference of proteins, chicken phở is much easier to make than beef phở.
Chicken cooks up faster than beef so making the chicken version takes less time.
Chicken phở also uses less spice than beef phở. In the beef version, there are many strong spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom, coriander, and sometimes fennel. Whereas the chicken phở traditionally uses only coriander seeds. Coriander seeds are the seed version of cilantro. In this recipe, I also added Chinese cinnamon (also known as cinnamomum cassia) just because I had them around but that’s entirely optional.
If you can’t find coriander seeds in the spice aisle, you can use a bundle of fresh cilantro. Better yet, if you have cilantro growing in your garden, use the mature stalks and/or the roots of the cilantro instead. It delivers the same aroma as coriander seeds. Reserve the fresh green cilantro for the garnish.
Of course, you can use the exact same spices as beef phở if you wish.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Pho
In this Instant Pot chicken phở recipe, everything simply goes into the pot. Add one whole chicken, a bunch of cilantro, a bunch of green onions, coriander seeds, whole yellow onions, and ginger. Set the pressure cooker to 30 minutes.
Traditionally, phở making involves charring onions, shallots, and ginger over an open flame and dry toasting the spices in a skillet to bring out the aroma. For this quick version, we are skipping that and throwing the raw aromatics and spices straight in the pot. The difference is quite subtle so it’s a step I happily omit if it can save some time.
Once the pressure cooker is done, press the quick release button to quickly let out the steam and stop the the cooking. Overcooked chicken will get dry and rubbery — not good. I like to take the pot outside to do the quick release because it can get messy.
Remove the chicken carefully and set it aside to cool. Remove all the other solids and discard. To get a really clear broth, use a fine mesh strainer to remove the last remaining solid bits. In Vietnam, a clear phở broth is ideal. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, hand shred chicken into thin strips and set aside.
Switch the pressure cooker to the saute setting so that you can season the stock. The broth is now done. To a bowl, add rice noodles, hand-shredded chicken, and garnishes. Ladle in the hot broth and enjoy.
Chicken Cuts for Pho Ga
A whole chicken is the way to go here for chicken phở. A whole chicken provides the richest and most flavorful broth from the different combinations of bones, dark meat, and white meat. If the chicken includes innards and neckbones stuck inside the cavity, don’t discard them. Use them in the stock too!
If you don’t have a whole chicken, use whatever chicken pieces you have on hand: wings, drumsticks, thighs and/or breasts. Keep in mind that if using smaller pieces of chicken, you will have to lower the pressure cooker time because bite-size pieces of chicken will require much less time than whole intact chicken. And chicken pieces without bones will require even less time.
I like to season my phở with rock sugar, salt, fish sauce, MSG, and chicken bouillon powder. Rock sugar is used to provide a subtle sweetness. If you don’t have rock sugar, you can use regular granulated sugar, just less.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), also known as the-seasoning-that-Westerners-like-to-hate, and chicken bouillon powder are optional but they provide that missing umami flavor that makes a world of difference.
When seasoning phở, you want the broth to be on the salty side. The saltiness gets diluted with the plain rice noodles, the plain chicken, and the watery vegetables and garnishes. When everything is combined, the saltiness mellows out and the taste is perfect.
You can’t have phở without rice noodles. There are many rice noodles on the market. Luckily, they are easy to spot because they are labeled Bánh Phở. However, it can still be quite confusing as phở means the type of rice noodles and the noodle soup dish.
For the noodle soup dish, you can use dried Bánh Phở noodles in the dry good aisle. This type of rice noodles requires soaking and then boiling. You can buy a couple of these packages and keep them forever in the pantry. It’s a convenient way to always have rice noodles on hand.
There are also fresh rice noodles (bánh phở tươi) in the refrigerated aisle. These noodles are semi-dry looking and require a quick blanch. These are the ones that I normally get for phở noodle soup. I find that this type of rice noodles has a better flavor than the dried version. The only downside is you will have to use these up quickly, and it’s also best to cook right before serving so they don’t break into smaller pieces.
And then there are the ones in styrofoam trays that are also labeled fresh rice noodles (bánh phở tươi). They are flat and wide and definitely fresh-looking. These noodles are meant for other applications such as stir-fries and not phở, the noodle soup.
More Instant Pot soup recipes:
If you like this recipe, check out my other Instant Pot recipes. There is currently only one (insert sad face here), but more is coming. Promise!
Instant Pot Beef Pho
Yield 8 servingsAuthor Vicky PhamCook time30 MinTotal time30 Min
30-Minute Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe (Instant Pot Phở Gà)
This Instant Pot chicken pho recipe takes only 30 minutes with the help of a pressure cooker. Enjoy a rich and flavorful bowl of authentic Vietnamese chicken noodle soup without slaving away in the kitchen.
Noodles and Garnishes
- Add chicken, yellow onions, green onion bundle, cilantro bundle, ginger slices, and coriander seeds into an 8-quart Instant Pot pressure cooker. Fill the pot with water to the ⅔ max pressure cooker line. Press Pressure Cook. Change timer to 30 minutes, if needed. Press Start.
- Prep the garnishes while you wait: Thinly slice green onions, cilantro, yellow onion, and chili peppers/jalapenos. Cut lemon/lime into wedges. Set aside.
- When the pressure cooker is done, press and hold the quick release button until all steam has escaped. You can also lock the quick release button in place so you don’t have to keep holding it down. I like to take the pot outside as it can cause quite a mess. Once the float valve has snapped back in and flushed with the lid, open the lid and carefully remove the chicken. Once cooled, hand shred the chicken into strips. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove and discard all remaining solids from the stock.
- Fill the pressure cooker with additional water to the ½ line, if needed. This will make 4 quarts total. Press Saute and change settings to High. While the stock is simmering, season with rock sugar, sea salt, fish sauce, bouillon powder, and MSG. Best practice is to measure out all the seasonings and add a little at a time to your liking. Bouillon powder and MSG are optional but recommended for the best flavor. Keep in mind that broth needs to be really bold in flavor, as added rice noodles will mellow it out.
- Cook noodles per package instructions.
- Assembly: To a bowl, add noodles, chicken, and garnishes. Add hot broth over noodles and enjoy.
Instant Pot Duo Crisp 8Qt Air Fryer & Electric Pressure Cooker Combo
The values provided should be considered estimates. Factors such as brands purchased, natural variations in fresh ingredients, etc. will change the nutritional information in any recipe. To obtain accurate nutritional information for a recipe, use your preferred nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities used.
Authentic Quick and Easy Vietnamese Instant Pot Beef Noodle Soup Recipe (Phở Bò)
Vietnamese Rice Porridge/Congee with Homemade Stock and Shredded Chicken (Cháo Gà)
Soy Sauce / Maggi Sauce Roasted Chicken (Gà Nướng Xì Dầu / Nước Tương)
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