Happy Donabe Life

Make Your Own Steamed Chicken Pho

Inspired by a popular Vietnamese noodle dish, this is my Japanese version of it and the dish totally takes advantage of the unique versatility of the donabe steamer, Mushi Nabe. I can do steaming and simmering in one pot, and it makes a great presentation at the table, too. I also love serving it hot pot style, so you can cook a small batch of noodles to serve at a time and continue to cook and serve until done. Then, you can choose and enjoy different toppings for every batch, if you like. You can be creative and serve with a wider variety of toppings, too. The broth has layers of umami flavors with the dashi, reserved chicken juice and Ayu fish sauce. This dish is always so comforting and fun at the same time. Instead of serving with a sliced lemon, you can also try with a splash of Pure Hon-Daidai Citrus Juice. The bright aroma of the daidai citrus will completely upgrade the dish to another level!

Vegan option

You can make a vegan version of this recipe by making the following substitutions. Chicken with tofu. Kombu and bonito dashi with kombu or vegetable stock. Ayu fish sauce with soy sauce.


Mushi Nabe (Small or larger) or Bistro Mushi Nabe (Large)

In this recipe, I used Tayo Donabe


3 - 4


  • 8 oz (240 g) chicken tender
  • 1 tablespoon liquid shio-koji
  • 4 cups (1,000 ml) kombu and bonito dashi, or your choice of stock
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons ayu fish sauce
  • 1 knob ginger, very thinly-sliced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 3 oz (120 g) bean sprouts, cleaned
  • 3 – 4 servings rice noodles, cooked according to the package’s instructions and rinsed in cold water, then drained
  • Lemon slices, for serving (can substitute with splashes of pure hon-daidai juice)
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving
  • Sliced dry chili, for serving
  • Sansho powder, or freshly ground black pepper, for serving


  1. Combine the chicken tender and the shio-koji in a resealable plastic bag, and let the chicken marinade for at least 30 minutes (ideally for a few hours up to overnight). Take the chicken out of the bag and pat dry. Set aside.
  2. Bring the dashi to a boil in Mushi Nabe over medium-high heat. Set the steam grate, line the grate with a piece of parchment paper (not perforated) and arrange the chicken in a single layer on the paper. Cover and steam the chicken for 3 – 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and once the chicken is cooled down enough to handle, shred into small pieces by hand. Set aside. There is a pool of chicken juice on the parchment paper, so carefully remove the paper with the juice, and pour the juice into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mound the bean sprouts into the cleared steam grate. Cover and steam for 15 – 30 seconds. Transfer the bean sprouts into a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Remove the grate and add the reserved chicken juice, sake, fish sauce, and ginger to the broth. Add about 1/3 of the noodles to the broth, and as soon as they are heated through, divide the noodles into individual bowls. Pour a small amount of the broth into each bowl, and top with some of the chicken, lemon slices (or splash a little amount of daidai citrus juice), chili, cilantro, and sansho. Repeat the same process until all the noodles are gone.

Cleaned bean sprouts are steamed very briefly until crisp-tender.

Add some of the noodles into the broth to heat.

Once the noodles are heated, serve into individual bowls and enjoy with your choice of toppings.


Suggested Tools and Tableware

Ingredients Used in this Recipe

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