Today, I received a request from a loyal reader of QlinArt to post the chicken vermicelli soup recipe from a previous installment from last year. It was a soup prepared by my mother at my parents' Bon Voyage party from January of 2010. As most of the foods my family and I eat are quick and simple to prepare, I'm very pleased to share this easy recipe of Vietnamese chicken soup. It's a great alternative to the traditional westernized chicken soup when used as a remedy to treat a cold. It's light and soothing, but most importantly very flavourful because of the fresh spices and fresh herbs used in the soup.
Preparation time: 20 minutes, cooking time: 1 hour maxThe broth can be prepared in the advance and frozen, to be taken out later for supper during a busy work week.
Recipe "au pif":
1 lb chicken breasts,
1 large yellow onion, peeled
3 star anise pods
1 whole fresh ginger root (about 2 1/2 inch), rinsed and mashed in mortar
3L (12 cups) water
1 tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam)
1/2 lb rice vermicelli (can be found at a local Asian store, some supermarkets carry them as well)
small pinch of ground white pepper
Garnish and accompaniments:
1 cup bean sprouts
2 sprigs of scallions, sliced
2 finger-length red chilies, deseeded and sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
sprigs of mint leaves
sprigs of coriander leaves
bottled chili sauce or chili paste
Preparing the chicken stock:
In a large pot, bring the water to a boil, and add the chicken breasts, skimming off any foam that floats to the surface. Add the ginger, onion and star anise. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 1 hour until the chicken is cooked. Remove from heat.
Remove the chicken stock from the stock. set aside. Strain the stock and return the clear soup to the pot. Season with the fish sauce and ground white pepper, and keep the soup hot over very low heat for about another half hour. Shred the chicken with your hands into small chicken strips.
Bring a separate pot of water to a boil. Add the rice vermicelli and let them sit in the boiling water for 2 minutes max. Remove and rinse with cold water, then drain.
Transfer the rice vermicelli to large soupe bowls and top with bean sprouts, onion and chicken strips . Pour the hot soup into each bowl.
Garnish with scallions, coriander and mint.
Serve hot with chili sauce, sliced chilis and a zest of lime juice.
Serves 4 to 6 people.