It’s no secret that chicken soup is so good for you. So when the weather turns cooler I crave a dose of good, comforting, warming, homemade chicken soup. Nothing hits the spot quite like this simple dish. While I love a good old fashioned clear broth, my go to chicken soup is this Vietnamese one. Not only is it a full meal in a bowl but the subtle flavour of lemongrass adds such a delicious dimension to the soup. Add to that the coriander and dash of lime and you may have the best chicken soup ever. Once you try this Vietnamese chicken and rice soup recipe, you will be hooked. It’s easy enough to make for a mid-week meal which everybody will love, even the fussiest of kids (maybe minus the coriander!)
VIETNAMESE CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE
For the broth:
1 small chicken
I medium onion peeled and quartered
2-3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
2 inch piece of ginger sliced roughly
1 dried red chili (optional)
2 stalks lemon grass cut lengthwise and lightly bruised
2 tbs fish sauce
To finish the soup:
2 stalks lemongrass cut in to 3 pieces each and lightly bruised
110gms thai jasmine rice (or any rice you like)
1 tbs fish sauce
3-4 pak choi (optional)
small handful coriander roughly chopped
1 lime cut in to wedges
Start by putting all the broth ingredients in to a large pot – as large as you have! Add 2.5 litres of water and bring to the boil. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, cover and leave to cook for 2 hours.
When cooked, skim the fat off the broth, remove the chicken and shred it. Strain the broth and set aside. I usually do up to this stage in advance like in the morning so I find the fat much easier to remove once the broth is cooled.
When you’re ready to eat, heat the broth and bring it to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, stir in the remaining lemongrass, fish sauce and the rice. Let it cook uncovered on a low heat till the rice is cooked – around 20-25 (but it really depends on your ratio of rice to broth). Once the rice is done, add as much of the shredded chicken in as you want (I usually keep some back for chicken sandwiches the next day!). Add your pak choi or other veg if using and once the veg has wilted a bit and the chicken is heated, it’s ready.
Spoon generously in to big bowls, top with lots of chopped coriander (may be not for the kids) and a good squeeze of lime and enjoy!
The subtle flavours of this Vietnamese chicken and rice soup are not only so comforting but they are also so refreshing. If food could give you a great, big hug, this would be the dish that does it for me. Whenever I mention that this soup is tonight’s dinner, everybody in my house is jumping up and down. And not just them – I’ve made it for friends too and they’ve all become addicted and taken the recipe. If I sound a bit crazy getting over excited about a bowl of soup, all I can say is that once you try it you’ll know exactly why!
P.S. If you like your Vietnamese food, you might enjoy this delicious Vietnamese grilled chicken dish too.
*Recipe adapted from Ghillee Basan’s Vietnamese Food & Cooking