Shrimp Pho – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

This aromatic shrimp noodle soup is warm, satisfying and full of flavor thanks to all of the herbs and spices.Shrimp Pho - Vietnamese Noodle Soup - The Lemon Bowl

When I was pregnant, I craved pho (pronounced “fuh”)  all. the. time. To this day, I continue to crave it and make it at home at least 2-3 times a month. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup made with beef or chicken broth.  Just like every Italian has a different meatball recipe, every bowl of pho will taste slightly different depending on who prepares the dish. Of course, there’s much more to it than that so here is The History and Evolution of Pho.

Why do I crave it? The intensely flavored broth is full of warm toasted spices, fresh flavors and aromatics.  As you slurp the rice noodles, warm broth and bright herbs, you are instantly transported to another world.  A delicious and happy world.

My Shrimp Pho is a faster, easier weeknight version that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen making the traditional bone-marrow broth. I leave that to the experts at my favorite local Vietnamese restaurant. ;-) Instead, I rely on a few shortcuts like boxed chicken stock and often use shrimp or chicken instead of beef. Additionally, I like throwing in leafy greens at the end such as bok choy or spinach.

There are a million and one ways to make pho and in fact, my version continues to evolve over time. There’s my Vietnamese Chicken Soup (Faux Pho) which I made before I learned the secret about toasting the spices. Another tip? Garnish with thinly sliced onion. I learned that one recently at my local nail salon when the owner of the shop shared a bowl of her homemade soup!

Lastly, lemon peel is a great substitute for lemongrass which adds a ton of flavor and doesn’t require a trip to the Asian market. Although Asian markets are probably one of my favorite places on the planet. :)

Your bowl is waiting.

4.7 from 12 reviews
Shrimp Pho - Vietnamese Noodle Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This aromatic shrimp noodle soup is warm, satisfying and full of flavor thanks to all of the herbs and spices.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 oz rice noodles - thin or pad thai style
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (or ½ teaspoon ground)
  • 2 whole cloves (or ¼ teaspoon ground)
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns (or ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root - minced
  • ½ tablespoon chili garlic paste
  • 8 cups chicken broth - low sodium
  • 2 strips lemon peel (use carrot peeler)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce - low sodium
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 cups bok choy - stem thinly sliced, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 lb shrimp - raw
Optional Garnishes
  • thinly sliced onion
  • jalapeno slices
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • hoisin
  • sriracha
  • bean sprouts
  • Thai basil
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice noodles according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Toast coriander, cloves and peppercorns in a dry pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until they become aromatic. Remove from heat and crush with mortar and pestle or spice grinder; set aside.
  3. In a large soup pot, warm sesame oil over medium heat for 30-60 seconds until it starts to shimmer. Add ginger and chili garlic paste then stir for 30 seconds to release flavors.
  4. Stir in chicken broth, lemon peel, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, hoisin, cinnamon and reserved toasted spices. Bring mixture to a boil then add shrimp and bok choy.
  5. Continue to simmer until shrimp turns bright pink and bok choy wilts - about 3-4 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper/soy if necessary.
  6. Divide rice noodles evenly between four large bowls and ladle soup into each bowl.
  7. Serve with optional garnishes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 oz noodles + 3 cups soup Calories: 450 Fat: 6.3 g Saturated fat: .6 g Unsaturated fat: 5.7 g Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 65 g Sugar: 3.2 g Sodium: 1839 mg Fiber: 3.1 g Protein: 31.9 g Cholesterol: 156 mg

 

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Comments

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      That’s the best thing about this soup – I almost always have stuff to make it and can either add chicken or shrimp based on what I have!! Let me know if you try it :)

  1. says

    I love Asian soups..love them! I have a place near my work that serves up huge bowls of soup, like this. I actually haven’t tried pho but it is on my list. This looks healthy and delicious.

  2. says

    Perfect!
    I love pho… But this one is going to be my favorite as I am going little lighter on red meat and Shrimps are my first love… seriously…LOL
    B/W I am loving your new banner, I saw it on FB too… Look’s really nice :)

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Thank you so much – I appreciate it!!!! And yes, I have never made it with beef either but make it with shrimp or chicken all the time!!

  3. says

    YUM. This looks amazing. Shrimp Pho is my absolute favorite. How about Pho is like the unofficial soup of Seattle? I didn’t know that till after I moved here but it’s a thing and there is pretty much a Pho place for every Starbucks (which means every block lol).

  4. says

    I LOVE PHO!! I’m so thrilled you posted this recipe!! I really have been dying to make it at home instead of going out to eat it. They put WAY too much salt in the broth at Pho places and I’m glad I can tailor it at home now :)

  5. says

    Liz,
    Love pho!
    Your comment about lemongrass instantly has me wondering if I can freeze the lemongrass I get in my CSA farm share in the summer (decidedly NOT Pho season for me) for use in the winter. I will investigate this year. I usually make sun tea with it, which is good, but Pho would be better.
    Thanks!

  6. says

    I’ve been dyiiiiiiiiiiiing to try Pho. I’ve never even had it in a restaurant, Liz!! Every time I see it on a blog, it looks sooo flipping good. I love how your recipe is a fast preperation… who has time to do all that work during the week?! I’ll add this to my food to-do list! Thanks for the awesome recipe! :)

  7. Brigitte says

    I just made this soup is so flavorful ! my bf ate two bowls and I did too. My favorite part was the broth.

  8. Linda says

    I had never had Pho before, but my daughter loves it. She gave me this recipe and asked me to make it. I used chicken instead of shrimp, and we are eating it right now. It is really good. I especially like the crunch of the bean sprouts. The flavor is delicious. My husband said he would go to a restaurant for this, he likes it that much:)

  9. Jen says

    Made this today and it was deeelicious!! I was worried it wouldn’t come out right since I’ve never made it before/didn’t even know what bok choy was or where to find it, but it was so good :) I’ve been craving pho for a while and this hit the spot. Can’t wait to see what my Vietnamese mom thinks of it!!

  10. Jennifer says

    Are you sure there’s only 8 cups of the noodle soup we are making it at the moment and there’s only a bit of broth and a lot of extra ingredients, but other than that it taste great

  11. sally hessenius says

    I have always been a soup lover. Lately i have been totally hooked on Pho. Recently I took a trip to San Diego to an authentic noodle house and now I crave it all the time. Looking forward to trying this version. Thanks so much!!

  12. says

    Made this tonight for dinner because the hubs was feeling under the weather, and I find that pho always makes you feel better. We both loved it! Didn’t have hoisin on hand so I subbed oyster sauce, and we also added some thinly sliced mushrooms along with the bok choy. I think I might tone down the cloves just a tad next time, though the hubs thought they were spot on. Great recipe, will make this often!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!! Just reading your comment has me craving it again!! Love the idea of mushrooms and bok choy!! Thanks so much!

  13. Shelia says

    I know you love this soup so this is probably a silly question but do you know if this freezes well? It’s just me at home and I don’t eat much so, 4 servings would really end up be like 8 and while I love Pho not sure if I want to eat it 8 times in a row…

  14. Deborah McClellan says

    I’m so glad I found your recipes, especially this one. I made this with a few substitutions: I love squid so got some fresh squid from Whole Foods, I also used scallops and mussels in addition to the shrimp. I used a delicious seafood base instead of chicken broth, and I love the sweet and sour flavor tamarind gives dishes so added some tamarind as well. I’ve eaten Pho for years and never thought I could make it but thanks to your recipe I realize how easy it is. Also, my nail technician talked me into it. He kept telling me I could make it so I thought I’d give it a try. Thanks so much for making this delicious recipe available. I’m trying the fresh spring wraps next!

    • Liz DellaCroce says

      I love squid too – what an awesome idea!!! I wish we lived closer to a whole foods. So glad you enjoyed this recipe!! Let me know if you try the spring rolls!!

  15. Daryl says

    I just wanted to let you know I tried this one last night and it worked great! Because I had so much minced fresh ginger and I used ground spices, I actually put the broth through a sieve before proceeding by adding in the shrimp. I like the broth a bit more clear if that makes sense. I just made sure I simmered it a bit longer so all the tastes were infused before discarding the spices. I will definitely try it again!

  16. Lori says

    This was Phonomenal!!! Hub already asked me to make it again. I used jumbo shrimp but also added some thinly sliced grilled chicken, since I had it. Also added sliced mushrooms and spicy bean sprouts along with all of the other optional ingredients. Going in the “keeper” files, PHO sure! Thank you so much.

  17. Alicia says

    So good!!
    I just made it!!! I added scallions and mushrooms in the brooth and garnished with them both too.

    Great TASTY easy recipe!!!

  18. Jacquie says

    I am so glad to have finally found a great site that actually give a cholesterol count. Thank you so much, it makes my life much easier. :)

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