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  • Gluten-Free Vietnamese Chicken Herb Pho Soup with Soft Boiled Eggland's Best Eggs

    Celiac.com Sponsor: Review
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      This traditional Vietnamese chicken pho soup with soft-boiled egg recipe is delicious and nutritious.

    Image: Mei Adams
    Caption: Image: Mei Adams

    Celiac.com 01/04/2021 - Phở or pho is a Vietnamese soup containing broth, vermicelli (rice) noodles (bánh phở), herbs, and chicken (called phở gà) or beef (called phở bò). Phở gà, or chicken pho is a marriage of the fragrant broth, tender chicken, chewy vermicelli noodles, and topped with aromatic herbs, vegetables, and sometimes an egg and other condiments.

    Speaking of eggs, the brand you choose makes a difference. We suggest using Eggland's Best eggs because they offer micronutrients and antioxidants essentials to a celiac's diet. Eggland's Best eggs taste delicious, an have 6x the Vitamin D, and more than double the Omega-3s, than regular eggs, so when you reach for eggs, reach for Eggland's Best.

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    While beef pho is the national dish of Vietnam, both beef and chicken pho are much loved and eaten regularly by people across Vietnam. Pho can be eaten as a snack, or as a meal, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The are numerous regional variations of pho, but most of the pho shops in the United States serve a more southern Vietnamese style of pho.

    The main differences are that Northern pho is made with a clear, mildly sweet and savory broth that has a light gold color. Northern pho also typically features wider rice noodles, few, if any, vegetables, and lots of scallion.

    Southern pho features a sweet broth with a darker color, and is typically served with hoisin sauce (be sure to look for a gluten-free version!), Sriracha, and a vegetable platter that often includes fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, mint, lime wedges, scallions, and saw-tooth leaves. Southern pho typically features fewer scallions, and thinner rice noodles than its northern counterpart.

    This recipe makes a northern-style broth but is served in a southern-style with vegetables, etc. Regardless of your preferred style, we recommend using Eggland's Best eggs because they feed their hens a nutrient-rich feed which gives EB eggs superior nutrition over ordinary eggs. Before we start cooking, here is a breakdown of the four steps to perfect pho.

    Four Steps to Perfect Pho

    1) Perfect Pho Broth

    • Pre-boil the bones and meat.
    • Char the ginger and onions.
    • Toast the spices.
    • Use good gluten-free fish sauce - Vietnamese fish sauce is more flavorful than Thai brands but be sure to check the ingredients, as some include wheat.

    2) Perfect Soft Boiled Eggland's Best Eggs

    • Bring water to a boil.
    • Reduce heat to a simmer.
    • Slide the EB eggs in with a spoon.
    • Boil for 7 minutes.
    • Remove EB eggs and place immediately into cold water with ice cubes.
    • When EB eggs are cool to the touch, peel under cold running water.

    3) Perfect Fresh Rice Noodles

    • Prepare according to directions.
    • Place cooked noodles into cold water.
    • Strain and allow to dry.
    • Serve with Pho when ready to eat.

    4) Perfect condiments

    Vegetables and condiments often include bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, mint sprigs, scallions, and saw-tooth leaves, bird's eye chilis, sliced jalapeño peppers, hoisin sauce (make sure it's gluten-free), Sriracha (Rooster) Sauce, and lime wedges.


    Gluten-Free Vietnamese Chicken Herb Pho Soup with Soft Boiled Eggland's Best Egg

    Preparation Time: 1.5 hours

    Cooking Time: 90 Minutes

    Makes 6 Servings


    • 1 small organic whole chicken (~3 lbs.)
    • 6 large, Eggland's Best Eggs
    • 3 thumb-sized pieces of ginger, peeled and sliced in half vertically
    • 5 large shallots, peeled
    • 1 small piece of cassia bark, or 1 cinnamon stick
    • 2-3 star anises
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (or 3-4 cloves, please see Notes if using cloves)
    • 1 black cardamom pods, cracked open
    • 2 teaspoons salt (plus more to parboil the chicken)
    • 2-3 tablespoons gluten-free fish sauce (some contain wheat, so be sure to check!)
    • 9 cups water
    • 1 pound package of pho-style vermicelli noodles

    To serve:

    • scallions
    • half an onion, sliced very thinly
    • freshly cracked black pepper
    • birds-eye or jalapeño chili pepper, sliced
    • lime wedges

    Blanch the chicken by placing chicken in a pot of boiling, salted water, for a minute, then remove the chicken and discard the liquid. In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the ginger and shallots until fragrant and you notice a light change of color. Set ginger and shallots aside.

    Reduce the heat to medium low. Add cassia bark/cinnamon, star anises, coriander seeds and black cardamom pod, and toast until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Add toasted spices to a spice bag.

    Simmer the chicken with ginger, shallots, and spice bag for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through. Do not overcook, or the meat will not have a good texture. Remove chicken and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Separate the chicken meat from chicken bones and set aside. Add the bones back to the broth.

    Continue to simmer for 45-90 minutes, or until the flavors are concentrated to your taste. Skim off excess fat from the broth, while still leaving some fat in the broth. Set spice bag aside. Before serving, taste the broth and flavor with 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce to taste. Don't add fish sauce until the end, or it can be bitter.

    To Serve:
    Thinly slice the green parts of the scallions while quickly poaching the white parts in the broth. Also slice the onion very thinly. Add pho rice noodles to serving bowls, top with chicken meat, scallions, thinly sliced onions, and cilantro, as desired.

    Bring the broth back to a boil and immediately ladle about 1½-2 cups of broth into each large bowl.

    Serve right away with fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, mint sprigs, lime wedges, scallions, sliced peppers, gluten-free hoisin sauce, Sriracha (Rooster) Sauce, and lime wedges, as desired. Rest one Eggland's Best soft-boiled egg, cut in half, on the top of each bowl.


    Nutritional Information
    Serving Size
    Saturated Fat
    Dietary Fiber


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