Pho chay

Pho chay

The Natural Cook
Laura Edwards

I call this my mega-amazing-rejuvenating-super-soup and eat it whenever I’m feeling in need of a detox. The chillies and fresh vegetables replenish and refresh.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Blanched broccoli, trimmings added to the stock, (see below)
150g brown or white rice noodles, broken into pieces
2 spring onions, finely chopped, trimmings put in the stock
100g bean sprouts
1 chilli, sliced on the diagonal, trimmings put in the stock, plus more chopped chillies to serve
small bunch herbs, stalks put in the stock, such as coriander, mint and basil
1 lemon grass stalk, finely sliced, outer layer put in the stock
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
120g shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced, stalks put in the stock
1 carrot, thinly sliced, trimmings put in the stock
tamari or soy sauce
1 lime, quartered, to serve

For the quick Asian stock

Quantity Ingredient
1 garlic clove, grated
small thumb root ginger with skin, grated
1 small onion, grated
1 carrot, grated
2 cloves
small piece cinnamon stick
2 star anise


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Make the stock: pour 1 litre water into a large saucepan and add the ingredients, with all the vegetable trimmings. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Place a sieve over a saucepan and pass the liquid through it, then return to the pan and to a low heat.
  2. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then split them between four or six warmed bowls. Decorate each with some spring onions, bean sprouts, chilli and herbs. Return the stock to a rolling boil. Add the lemon grass, garlic, mushrooms, carrot and broccoli. Boil for three minutes, then ladle into the bowls. Offer the extra chilli, herbs and tamari or soy sauce and lime quarters, for guests to season their broth as they prefer.


  • Pho chay is best eaten ultra-fresh, but will keep for four days in a sealed container in the fridge. Reheat to just under boiling point to serve.

Cook natural

  • Bean sprouts come in wastefully large packets and you’ll often find you run out of things to do with them before they go off, so sprout your own; there are guides on YouTube. If you bought a big pack, add them to all your salads and stir-fries.

Variation: Pho ca

  • For a change from pho chay, divide 100 g chopped fish – such as sea bass, salmon or trout – among the bowls of noodles, then ladle the hot stock over the top. The fish will cook through perfectly. Serves 4–6.
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