Vietnamese soup you'll love to slurp: Homemade Hanoi chicken-and-tofu pho

Aug 22, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. ET

If I could eat two foods every day for the rest of my life (without getting sick of them), they would be mac 'n' cheese and pho. Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is a staple in Vietnam and most big cities across the U.S. It's comfort food in a big bowl and surprisingly can be made at home with just a handful of ingredients.

Unlike traditional pho, which is made with steak or tendon, this unique recipe is made with thin strips of poached chicken breast and topped with crispy baked tofu bits. Don't worry, pho lovers, the other regulars are there, like jalapeños, bean sprouts and cilantro. It may still be summer, but in my book it's always a good time for pho.

Hanoi chicken-and-tofu pho recipe

Serves 4


  • 8 ounces red or white rice noodles
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached
  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 star of anise pods
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced and seeded
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 4 lime wedges
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. In a bowl, soak the noodles in cold water. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Slice the tofu into squares, and toss with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown, flipping every 10 minutes until crispy.
  3. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and 1-1/2 jalapeños, and heat until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth, water, star of anise and cinnamon stick. Reduce the heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Mix in the fish sauce.
  4. Slice the chicken into thin strips, and add them to the broth along with the tofu. Remove from heat, and discard the anise pods and cinnamon stick.
  5. Divide the noodles into 4 bowls. Pour the chicken-and-tofu broth over the noodles, and garnish with fresh bean sprouts, lime wedge and cilantro, as well as some jalapeño slices.

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