Sup nui ga, or Vietnamese chicken pasta soup, was a favourite of mine growing up. It was the perfect dish to have whenever I felt under the weather because it was basically a bowl of pure comfort. This soup is made by boiling a whole chicken with root vegetables to make a delicious chicken stock. The stock is then poured over pasta spirals and topped with spring onions and fried shallots. This recipe is simple and relatively cheap to make which is ideal for budgets and cold winter nights!
The Origins of Sup Nui Ga
This recipe comes from a fusion of two cultures and circumstance. The Vietnam war had a devastating effect on the Vietnamese people and many escaped by boat during and after the war. For the very fortunate Vietnamese refugees who survived and migrated to countries like Australia and America it was the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new life. This is where my mother believes Sup Nui Ga (which literally translates to Soup Pasta Chicken) was developed.
My parents first set foot in Australia in 1981 and in that time period Asian ingredients were a rarity. Vietnamese migrants had to substitute many ingredients to continue creating their traditional dishes. However, in some cases, a completely new dish was created. According to my mum, this is what happened to a very popular traditional noodle soup that used bean vermicelli. Since this was unavailable at the time, pasta was substituted in and Sup Nui Ga was born!
My Tips for a Successful Sup Nui Ga
- Stick to the 2.5 L / 5.28 pt of water stated in the recipe even if it doesn’t quite cover your chicken. The chicken does not need to be completely submerged during the simmering phase. If you do add more water be aware it will dilute the flavour of the soup, so you will need to adjust the seasoning.
- Cut the vegetables into smaller pieces. Smaller pieces mean a greater surface area, which will help the soup absorb more flavour. This is particularly important when simmering for a short amount of time.
- Shred the chicken right before serving. Keeping the chicken whole will prevent the meat from drying out, so shredding should be done as late as possible.
- Do not waste the stock vegetables. Squeeze the juices out of them after the simmering phase to maximise the flavour of the soup. Or, if you can’t be bothered, scoop them out and serve them with the pasta soup or on the side.
- Boil the pasta in a separate pot, rather than directly in the chicken stock. I had an incident where I cooked the pasta in the chicken stock then completely forgot about it. When I went to assess the damage… the pasta had absorbed so much stock there was barely enough to wet a tissue. So now I always boil the pasta separately!
What To Do With Leftover Chicken Meat
There will be leftover chicken meat with this recipe. The following recipes are great for using up leftovers:
- Simple Chicken Salad with Vietnamese Dressing
- Quick Roast Chicken and Kale Salad
- Quick Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup
- Pasta Stir Fry – Cheap and Easy
- Basic Congee – Rice Porridge
Recipes Similar to Sup Nui Ga
- Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles
- Vietnamese Chicken Pho
- Quick Chicken Pho
- Quick Beef Pho
- Vietnamese Pork Thick Noodle Soup
Show Us Your Creations!
If you try any of our recipes, Steph and I would love to see your creations! Please share it with us on Instagram using #scruffandsteph and @scruffandsteph! We would also appreciate any likes / shares / follows on our Facebook page, Pinterest and Instagram. Thank you for your support!
Vietnamese Chicken Soup With Pasta – Sup Nui Ga
- 1.8 kg whole chicken washed and not frozen
- 2.5 L water
- 1 brown onion, quartered
- 5 garlic cloves, flattened
- 1 large swede / rutabaga, peeled and chopped into small chunks
- 2 carrots, chopped into small chunks
- 5 coriander roots (optional but highly recommended) (Note 1)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce or to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
- 500 gm pasta curls or your choice
- 6 stalks coriander, chopped (optional)
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 4 tbsp fried shallots (a must!)
- 2 chillies chopped (optional)
- Add 2.5 L of water to a large pot and bring it to the boil on high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the chicken (breast side down) and bring it back to the boil. Remove the scum off the surface with a spoon.
- Add all the soup base ingredients, except the fish sauce. Let it come back to the boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid and allow the soup to simmer for 50 minutes on medium low.
- During the simmering phase, remove the scum/fat build up on the surface of the soup with a spoon. I personally do not remove all the fat from the soup, as I prefer to leave a bit for flavour.
- Boil salted water and cook the pasta till al dente. Drain and set aside.
- After 50 minutes turn off the heat and allow the chicken to sit in the soup for 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool on a plate. Check the chicken is cooked though. If still raw, put it back into the soup until done.
- Strain the soup with a strainer. Squeeze the liquid out of the veggies by pushing it against a strainer or keep whole and serve on the side.
- Add 3 tbsp of fish sauce to the soup. Check the soup for seasoning and add more according to your taste. (Note 2)Note: Use fish sauce to up the salt content of the soup or boiling water to dilute the flavour.
- Place the pasta into each bowl.
- Shred pieces of chicken and place on top of the pasta.
- Pour the boiling soup over the top of the pasta and chicken.
- Sprinkle garnishes on top.
- The best way to get coriander root is to buy coriander with roots attached. If this is not possible you can substitute with 2 tbsp of coriander seeds or just omit all together.
- The soup should be slightly saltier then how you would normally have it. This is because the pasta and garnishes will dilute the flavour and seasoning.