Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Cooking time
Serves4 people

Warming and nourishing, this fresh take on chicken soup is loaded with herbs, chilli and lime to get you through the cold winter months.


  • 1 onion
  • A thumb of ginger
  • 1 chilli
  • 2 ltr boiling water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp Demerara sugar
  • A few sprigs of fresh corander and mint
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or coconut oil
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 chillies
  • 2 limes
  • 1 pak choi
  • 250g rice noodles
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A handful of corander and mint, leaves only
  • Mixed bean sprouts and hoisin sauce to serve

Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 50-60mins

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1. Peel and quarter the onion. Thickly slice the ginger. Halve the chilli. Warm a dry, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onion quarters, ginger and chilli to the pan. Dry fry them for 3-5 mins, turning them a few times, till they’re a little browned. If you don’t have a heavy-based frying pan, you can skip this step and just add the onion, ginger and chilli to the water.
2. Pour 2 ltr boiling water into the pan. Peel the garlic cloves and drop them in. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, tamari and sugar with a couple of coriander and mint sprigs. Slide in the chicken thighs. Put the lid on the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 40 mins.
3. While the chicken soup simmers, put the shallots in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 10 mins, then drain and peel them (soaking them in hot water loosens the skin). Finely slice them. Warm a frying pan, then add 2 tbsp sunflower or coconut oil and the shallots. Stir and fry for 8-10 mins till the shallots are a dark golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain.
4. Finely slice the chillies. Chop the limes into quarters. Finely slice the pak choi leave and stems. Set aside for later.
5. After 30 mins, pour the broth through a colander into a bowl. Take the pan off the heat. Carefully pour the broth back into the pan (mind out for any steam as the broth hits the pan) and add a pinch of salt. Put it back on the heat. When it’s boiling, add the noodles and pak choi. Simmer for 3 mins to just cook everything.
6. Use forks to lift off the chicken skin and pull the flesh from the bones. Roughly chop it. Taste the soup and add a little more salt or tamari if you think it needs it. Ladle the soup into warm bowls. Top with the chopped chicken, a handful of mixed bean sprouts, a few coriander and mint leaves, the fried shallots, sliced chillies and a spoonful of hoisin sauce. Serve with plenty of lime wedges for squeezing.
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