French Fridays with Dorie: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

14 Oct

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!

(By the time this photo was taken, the noodles had absorb much of the soup!)

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.


Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Cooking, Food, French Fridays with Dorie


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20 responses to “French Fridays with Dorie: Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. T.T. Tran

    October 15, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I’m not sure if you are familiar with the Vietnamese Pho Ga, but in that broth, as well as the Beef Noodle Soup, the ginger is not minced but charred (burnt skin is scrapped off) along with a charred whole onion and then placed in the broth. When I first tasted Dorie’s original soup recipe, the minced ginger gave off a bitter aftertaste for me, and hence I decided to try the Bonne Idea to mask the strong ginger taste. It worked only a little bit. Did you notice that too, or is there something wrong with my ginger?

    • Ker-Yng

      October 15, 2010 at 9:38 am

      I didn’t pick up any bitter after taste. The first time I made it I finely diced the ginger and the second time I sliced them for easy retrieval. The ginger taste wasn’t strong too. Could it be you had too much ginger?

      • T.T. Tran

        October 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

        No, pretty sure I had the right amount. Normally I wing it, but I recall pulling out my tablespoon for this one. Hmmm, mystery.

  2. m

    October 15, 2010 at 12:42 am

    great idea to use the loose tea bags!

  3. Good Bite In

    October 15, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Like the photos … and a cool idea to use the teabags …. I only had a tiny piece of muslin that I had to try and bunch all those ingredients into!

  4. Clivia

    October 15, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Your soup looks great. I like the idea of using tea bags to hold the spices.

  5. Dagny

    October 15, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Genius! The tea filter instead of the cheese cloth is such a good idea, I love it!

  6. Renee (Kudos Kitchen)

    October 15, 2010 at 9:51 am

    You are very creative using the cheese cloth bags. Good thinking! Your soup looks delish!!!

  7. Trevor Sis Boom

    October 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

    So many great ideas in others’ posts! Tea bags! Of course! Thank you as I will definitly be making this one again to try playing with all the other spice ideas I picked up!
    Trevor Sis Boom.

  8. Mary

    October 15, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I am going to copy your tea bag filter idea next time..thanks!

  9. wanderlustforfood

    October 15, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Going to have to look for the pho spice packets at the Chinese supermarket now- thanks for the tip! I actually used Thai green curry paste to give it more heat since I prefer that in soups to the Indian curry powder. I think I’m going to try the Indian powder next time to compare.

    • Ker-Yng

      October 15, 2010 at 12:46 pm

      I bought Thai green curry paste too but used curry powder in the end to stick to the recipe. I think curry paste would taste better, curry powder is better suited to marinade and cooking curries rather than soups.

  10. Mary

    October 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Your soup looks delicious! I love those loose tea bags and brought lots home with me from Japan.

    • Ker-Yng

      October 15, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks. I got my Made-in-Japan filter bags from a Chinese supermarket here. 🙂

  11. Mia

    October 16, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Oh i would love to pick those sices with the mesh bag!
    ANd i love the part where the noodles absorb the soup,happened to the bowl i was photographing:-),makes it a complete meal kinda!!

  12. Flourchild

    October 16, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Great picture of your soup! Im glad I tired this recipe even if it’s not a fav. of mine!

  13. Suzanne Ellis

    October 16, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Wow, your soup looks delicious!! Love the tea filter bag tip — definitely going to try that one sometime!!

  14. food-4tots

    October 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I’m totally new to cooking Vietnamese food. Your soup looks so mouth-watering! Got to try out up one day. 😉

    • Ker-Yng

      October 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks. This was a really simple recipe, we didn’t have to make our own chicken broth. 🙂


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