Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Instant Pot Chicken Pho

Instant Pot Chicken Pho 

About 5 years ago my husband went to Vietnam with a charity organization. After about 5 days into his month long trip, he was sick of the noodle soup they had for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We all know this as Pho (Fa). He quickly switched to French bread and Brie. And that became his morning routine. Now understand, he really isn’t a soup fan, which kills me, as soup is one of the best food groups. 

Having lived in Seattle for 20 years, it was only about 6 months ago, after I had moved back to Portland, that I became obsessed with Pho. And according to recommendations, I tried the best in Portland first. I just can’t get enough of this delicious soup. The smell. The taste. I am in love with Pho. 

So fast forward to last weekend, I was searching my blog-mosphere and found an Instant Pot Pho recipe. It was Paleo (which doesn’t matter to me either way), and I decided to try it for dinner. I knew Craig wasn’t going to go for it, so I wrote “Chicken Soup” on the menu calendar. 

Only after dinner, did I tell him that it was Pho, he was like it was “very good”. Now, He keeps those glowing reviews to a minimum, as I’ve put previously “raved reviewed” recipes on the regular rotation and spoiled a good thing. 

Here is the recipe I used: (inspired by Nom Nom Paleo)

Instant Pot Chicken Pho


For the broth

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 inch fresh ginger peeled, thickly sliced, and bruised (I used a good squirt of squeeze ginger)
  • 1 large yellow onion halved and thickly sliced
  • 6-7 cups water
  • 4 lb whole chicken
  • 1 small red apple peeled, cored, and cut into thumbnail-size chunks
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • A few light splashes of Red Boat fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup Sambal Oleck (garlic chili paste) 
  • Cheese cloth

For the bowls

  • Glass noodles, or thin Asian spaghetti. 
  • ½ small yellow onion thinly sliced against the grain and soaked in water for 10 minutes
  • 2 thinly sliced green onions
  • Carrots, Julienned (1/4 cup per bowl)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Thai basil leaves
  • Lime wedges


  1. Toss the coriander seeds and cloves in a 6-quart pressure cooker. Press the sauté button on your Instant Pot (or place a stovetop pressure cooker over medium heat) and toast the spices for several minutes, shaking or stirring, until fragrant. Throw in the ginger and onion and stir everything until aromatic, 45 to 60 seconds.
  2. Pour in 4 cups of the water to stop the cooking process. Carefully place the chicken in the cooker, breast side up.
  3. Add the apple, cilantro, salt, and remaining 3 cups water.
  4. Press the Cancel/Keep Warm button, lock the lid in place, and make sure the valve on top is in the sealed position. Press the Manual button and set the Instant Pot to cook under high pressure for 14 minutes.
  5. When done, turn off the Instant Pot and let the pressure decrease naturally for 20 minutes. Set a timer and if the pressure hasn’t completely released when it dings, turn the valve at the top to quickly vent the remaining. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to avoid the hot steam.
  6. Wait another 5 minutes before using tongs to transfer the chicken to a large bowl; if parts fall off in transit, don’t stress. Add cold water to cover the chicken and soak for 10 minutes to cool and prevent drying. Reserve the water to fill the pot when reassembling the broth, partially cover, and set the chicken aside to cool.
  7. Skim some fat from the broth, before straining it through a cheese cloth lined strainer positioned over a large bowl. Discard the solids. You should end up with about 7 cups broth. Replace broth back in IP pot. 
  8. If using right away, season the broth with the fish sauce and Sambal Oleck. Turn the cooker on slow cooking for 4-6 hours, or pressure to bring back up to temp. Or, partially cover the unseasoned broth and let cool, then refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months; reheat and season before using.
  9. Use a knife or your hands to separate the breast meat and legs from the chicken. Set aside half of the chicken for another use. Reserve the remaining chicken for pho bowl assembly. The chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months; bring to room temperature to use.
  10. Prep and assemble the bowls. Cut or shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Discard the chicken skin. 
  11. Divide the noodles among four soup bowls. Top the noodles with carrots and shredded chicken.
  12. Check the broth flavor once more, adjust as needed. Ladle about 2 cups broth into each bowl.
  13. Then garnish with onion, green onion, cilantro, basil, and sriracha if desired.  You can squeeze on fresh lime juice, too. Serve immediately!

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