Chicken pho with sweet and sour berry sambal

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This warming soup is a wonderfully fresh and flavourful twist on a classic chicken broth. Oriental flavours and crunchy vegetables blend beautifully with the sweet and tangy sauce; it’s a dish that’s both comforting and light, a perfectly moreish meal for spring and summer.

Serves: 4              Prep: 30 minutes             Cook: 33 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 1.2 litre (2 pints) good chicken stock (ideally homemade, see tip below)
  • 1 bunch spring onions, thinly sliced, white and green tops kept separate
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Thai birds eye red chillies, halved, deseeded, to taste
  • 5cm (2 inch) piece root ginger, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 small fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon ketjap manis or soy sauce
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 200g pack choi sum, leaves shredded, stems cut into bite sized pieces
  • 300g pack chilled cooked rice noodles
  • 100g (4oz) bean sprouts, rinsed, drained
  • Handful coriander leaves, roughly torn

For the sweet and sour berry sambal

  • 225g (8oz) strawberries, sliced
  • 175g (6oz) raspberries
  • 100g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2-3 Thai birds eye red chillies, roughly chopped with seeds
  • 2cm (¾ inch) piece root ginger, peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped


  1. Add the stock to a large saucepan then add the white spring onion slices, carrot, chilli, ginger, garlic, lime leaves, fish sauce and ketchup manis or soy sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring then add the whole chicken breasts, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Test by piercing the centre of one of the chicken breasts, there should be no hint of pink juices.
  2. While the chicken pho simmers, add all the sambal ingredients to a saucepan, heat gently until the sugar has dissolved then boil rapidly for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Break up the fruit if needed with a vegetable masher then spoon into a dish and leave to cool.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, lift the pieces out of the pan with a draining spoon then tear into fine shreds on a chopping board using a knife and fork. Add the choi sum leaves and stems to the broth and cook for 2 minutes then add the bean sprouts and coriander and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Divide the noodles between 4 deep serving bowls, top with the chicken shreds then ladle over the broth. Top with spoonfuls of the sambal to taste. Any leftover sambal can be kept in a screw topped jar in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

Cook’s tip

Use any leftover chicken and bones to make your own delicious stock – perfect for soups, rice and other recipes. Take all the meat off the bones then add the bones to a saucepan. Add 1 roughly chopped onion, 2 sliced carrots and whatever extra odd veggies you have in the fridge, a slightly soft tomato, half a pepper, half a leek or a little swede or parsnip. Cover the chicken with cold water, add salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1-11/2 hours then strain.

Cool and freeze the stock in handy sized portions in the freezer up to 3 months. Defrost before use.

Recipe courtesy of Seasonal Berries


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