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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup…A Big Bowl Copykat

I am a huge fan of soups.  It has been unusually chilly here in the Chi and I have been craving soup like no body’s business.  One of my all time favorite chicken soups is from the restaurant chain Big Bowl.  Their perfectly fragrant and light broth is super comforting to an achy body or a cruddy day.  Naturally it’s a one POT meal and super FREEZER FRIENDLY.  Add some heat and fresh cilantro it and the perfect meal is born.

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

This must be the coldest July in history.  At least one of them.  And I am OVER it.

I was craving soup this past week and I realized that I had run of my freezer stash of my golden chicken soup.  It was at this point I was ready to gather my munchkin and shuffle out to get my soup fix on.  My go-to for soup is Big Bowl.

Big Bowl restaurants have an awesome Vietnamese chicken soup.  It is full of bright and sunny flavors of lemon grass, cilantro and ginger.  Paired up with a silky chicken broth and some kickin’ garlic chili paste, this soup has all the attributes of awesomeness.

I was going to take a drive down…but then got a call from the hubs who wasn’t feeling well due to an unnecessary tetanus shot he HAD to get and asked me to whip him up a batch of soup because he felt “he was coming down with something,” translation, he needed some time on the couch and to be pampered.  Naturally, I obliged.

Considering how easy this soup is I decided to make a huge batch and freeze the leftovers.

Years ago when I created this recipe, it took me quite some time to get the flavors on point.  As I have mentioned numerous times before, creating copycat recipes is probablly one of my FAVORITE things to do 🙂 That’s where I get to put my mad chef skills and research skills to the test.  After searching methods, flavors and techniques I think I nailed it.  <pats herself on back>

The soup is really well balanced with sweet, salty, spicy and savory.  I decided to use some pretty classic Thai and Vietnamese flavors.  Soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, lemon grass, onion,  sugar, salt, Thai basil and cilantro.  Thai basil really stands out nicely in this dish.  If you have never had it, it has the sweet properties of classic sweet basil with a peppery finish.  It’s really terrific.

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

Have you ever noticed that all Asian broths are clear?  They do not have the yellow tint that are typical in the American and Ashkenazi varieties of chicken soups.  That is because they blanch their chicken and bones.  It’s a simple process that will leave your soup nice and clear.

Tip #1 to getting a nice and clear broth: Blanch your bones.

Place your chicken, in this case I used chicken backs and some skinless chicken thighs and skinless chicken breasts, in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken.

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

Bring to a boil and allow all the “scum” to come up to the surface.  Basically the coagulated blood as well as fat. Continue simmering for an additional 15 minutes.

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

 

I know, not a pretty picture.  Typically, I would just skim this off.  However, with this technique you drain the liquid completely into a colander to catch all the chicken pieces.  Make sure you rinse the pot as well as the chicken pieces to get any remaining scum and fat rinsed off.  By the way, your chicken will STILL be raw inside.

TIP #2: Drain all the coagulated bits out and WASH your chicken and pot really well to ensure the broth is clear.

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping Remove any skin off the chicken as well.

Yuck.  Aren’t you glad we got that out?

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

Now, place the clean chicken back into the clean pot and cover with 5 quarts of water.  Add in the fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lemon grass, onion,  sugar, salt, Thai basil and cilantro.   I will warn you, the fish sauce is very pungent and the smell is strong.  In the beginning, it will be pretty prominent in the soup.  But as the soup simmers away, it mellows out and gives you that nice umami flavor that is present in Asian food.

Bring the broth up to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Once it starts simmering, you will see that there will be some foam, but it will be white and clear.  Not like the cloudy stuff we drained.

Allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.

In the meantime, prepare the garnish for the bowls of soup.  One of the only ingredients that belongs in the bowl with the soup is rice sticks, everything else is optional and up to your liking.  You can pick those up at any grocery store nowadays in the international or Asian section.  Sometimes they are called pad Thai noodles.  They also come in the vermecelli thin noodle style.  But I prefer the thicker ones.  If you cannot find them, Amazon has them available online as well.

Oh and for all my little gluten intolerance friends…or Paleo people, these rice sticks are gluten free 🙂

Soak them in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they are tender.  Drain the boiling water and cover with cold water.  If you are going to be serving the soup for the week (like I do), make sure you store the noodles separately, in the cold water.  They will keep for a week in the fridge stored in the water.  If you dump them in the broth, they will fall apart, cloud your broth…bla bla..nothing good basically.  And if you plan on freezing the broth (which I highly recommend) definitely do NOT add in the noodles into the soup.

For your garnishes, wash some cilantro and roughly chop it.  Slice up some chilies if you dare, I just use Siracha in mine.  Wash some bean sprouts.  They are ohhh so very good for you and perfectly crispy in this soup.  In fact, you can use these instead of the noodles if you please.  They are THAT good.

Finally, slice up some limes to complete the garnishes.

After the 1.5 hours, remove chicken bones out of the soup and discard (or share with your dog).  Shred the meat with two forks.  You do not want it finely shredded,  just small bite size chunks.  Add some of the noodles into each bowl and some shredded chicken meat.  Serve garnishes on the side along with some chopsticks and a soup spoon.

Now slurp your way to a healthy you!

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

 

 

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Vietnamese Chicken Soup. Girl and the Kitchen pinterest

The Ultimate Slurp… Big Bowl Copykat Vietnamese Chicken Soup


  • Author: Mila Furman
  • Total Time: 100 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Serings 1x

Description

A light and super flavorful soup featuring an Asian broth with chicken, Thai basil, ginger and cilantro.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 yellow onion (peeled and cut in half)
  • About a 4-inch section fresh ginger (peeled)
  • 45 pounds of chicken (I typically use bone in breasts and thighs)
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 small or 1/2 large bunch cilantro (washed)
  • 34 Thai basil leaves
  • Garnishes
  • 1 lb rice sticks (steeped in water)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (leafy tops only)
  • 3 cups bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound)
  • 2 or 3 Thai or serrano chiles (thinly sliced)
  • 2 or 3 limes (cut into wedges)
  • Siracha

Instructions

  1. Place your chicken, in this case I used chicken backs and some skinless chicken thighs and skinless chicken breasts, in a large pot and add the water.
  2. Bring to a boil and allow all the “scum” to come up to the surface. Basically the coagulated blood as well as fat. Continue simmering for an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Pour the everything out into a colander to catch the chicken pieces.
  4. Make sure you rinse the pot as well as the chicken pieces to get any remaining scum and fat rinsed off. By the way, your chicken will still be raw inside.
  5. Remove any skin off the chicken as well.
  6. Now, place the clean chicken back into the clean pot and cover with 5 quarts of water. Add in the fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, lemon grass, onion, sugar, salt, Thai basil and cilantro. Bring up to a boil then lower to a simmer. You will see that there will be some foam, but it will be white and clear.
  7. Allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.
  8. In the meantime, prepare the garnish for the bowls of soup. One of the only ingredients that belongs in the bowl with the soup is rice sticks. You can pick those up at any grocery store nowadays in the international or Asian section. Sometimes they are called pad thai noodles. They also come in the vermecelli thin noodle style. But I prefer the thicker ones.
  9. Soak them in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the boiling water and cover with cold water. If you are going to be serving the soup for the week (like I do), make sure you store the noodles separately exactly like this, in the cold water. Otherwise if you dumb them in the broth, they will fall apart, cloud your broth…bla bla..nothing good basically.
  10. For your garnishes, wash some cilantro and roughly chop it. Slice up some chilies if you dare, I just use Siracha in mine. Wash some bean sprouts. They are ohhh so very good for you and perfectly crispy in this soup. Finally, slice up some limes to complete the garnishes.
  11. After the 1.5 hours, remove chicken bones out of the soup and discard (or share with your dog). Shred the meat with two forks. You do not want it finely shredded, just enough small bite size chunks. Add some of the noodles into each bowl and some shredded chicken meat. Serve garnishes on the side along with some chopsticks and a soup spoon.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Asian Fusion

 

This Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup combines a perfectly fragrant and light broth with rice noodles, chilies and fresh cilantro for the ultimate slurping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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27 Comments

    1. It’s now how I make my broths all the time!!! Such a lifesaver! Instead of skimming the skum I just dump it and start anew 🙂

    1. Hi Phil! So sorry my recipe got erased!!! It’s about 2 tbsp and you add it after you cook the chicken once!

  1. It’s truly winter here and there’s a polar vortex in the south of Australia that’s bringing blizzards and snow. I would love this soup today – so warm and comforting AND beautiful to look at.

    1. Thanks Maureen!!! It’s so crazy to think that you guys are in winter 😉 stay warm! Bust out the parkas!

  2. Gosh I love anything like this, Mila, but the COLOURS in this!! Gorgeous!
    Are you in Australia, by the way (sorry, can’t quite remember!) I’ve heard they’re having a cold July! I was in Perth last year and thought it was really funny that my mother in law thought a cold day was one where the temp ‘only’ got to 18 degrees. Here in the UK that’s an ‘ok-ish’ summer day! Funny, isn’t it?
    Still, stay warm over there … what a great soup to do that with! 🙂

    1. No actually when I freeze everything I always leave the rice sticks out because they will break apart and cloud the soup. When freezing any soup, it is important to leave out any of the noodles because they will have a tendency to break apart and then cloud the soup. Have a happy new year!

  3. Please take out the part about sharing cooked chicken bones with your dog. Only raw ones are safe and I don’t even give those. Cooked chicken bones can splinter and cause internal injuries.
    Otherwise, the recipe looks great!

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