This is this week’s French Fridays with Dorie pick – Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. It’s Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with coconut milk. I was relaxed with this recipe as I’m on familiar grounds because I’ve made Chinese chicken noodle soup (gai see hor fun) before and I eat Vietnamese pho noodles quite often too, heh!
This recipe is a Dorie original. There is pho ga (clear chicken soup) and there is la sa ga (curried coconut-milk chicken soup) but Dorie mixed them together and created this … pho la sa ga? The soup starts with a base of chicken broth to which you flavor with cilantro stems, star anise, coriander seeds and peppercorns. Dorie said to tie the spices in a bundle with cheesecloth but I used filter bags for loose tea leaves instead. Quite ingenious, huh? ;-)
The kids ate their noodle soup ‘straight’ but hubby and I boost the flavors with fresh basil leaves, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, extra fish sauce and chili sauce. Slurp!
I tried the bonne idee and added curry powder the second time I made the soup. I looked up Vietnamese curry powder and read that it’s Indian-influenced yellow curry powder. I have a bottle of Waugh’s Curry Powder and used that. The result is not to my liking, it’s a neither-here-nor-there kind of soup.
The best thing about making this recipe is learning about Vietnamese soup. I hadn’t known earlier that they use spices like star anise and coriander seeds to flavor the soup. Cinnamon and cardamon seeds are used too and today in the Chinese supermarket I saw there are convenient packets of pho spices complete with mesh bags in them.