This chicken soup recipe I am sharing with you guys today has been a favourite of mine growing up. What I really love about this dish is that it is basically a bowl of liquefied comfort. Anytime I was unwell and unable to attend school, this was always on the sick menu at hotel home.
My mother believes the origins of 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 the ordeal and managed to migrate to western countries like Australia and America it was the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new life. This is where she believes Sup Nui Ga (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. Hence, the 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 recipe is very straight forward and simple. Having said that, me being me, I am very familiar with rookie mistakes. I had an incident a few months earlier, where I completely forgot about the pasta cooking in the stock. The moment when I suddenly realised… was like walking into the wrong toilets and seeing a sea of horrified faces. The pasta had absorbed so much stock, that there was barely enough to wet a tissue. It was such a costly mistake that I have changed the recipe to use salted water rather than the stock to cook the pasta.
Since this recipe requires a whole chicken to create the stock, there is a lot of meat left over. I have tried alternative methods to make the stock, but in terms of bang for buck, flavour and a relatively decent cooking time, whole chicken comes out on top. My suggestion when cooking this dish is having a meal lined up that uses up the leftover chicken meat, like a chicken pie, casserole or sandwiches.
This recipe is definitely a winner when it comes to making winter warmers for the family. It is also a perfect soup dish for those who feel a little under the weather. So give it a go, and I am sure you will not regret that you did!
Vietnamese Chicken Soup With Pasta - Sup Nui Ga
- 1 whole chicken approx 1.8 kg / 4 lb, cleaned and not frozen
Roughly 2.5 L of water for the soup
2 brown onions, halved
2 spring onions, trimmed
5 cloves of garlic, flattened
- 1 medium swede, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 carrots, roughly chopped into small pieces
5 coriander roots (optional)
4 tbsp / 60 ml of fish sauce
1/2 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt
Fresh cracked pepper
- 400 gm of pasta curls
- Coriander, chopped
- Spring onion, chopped
- Fried shallots (store bought)
- Birds eye chilli, chopped (optional)
- Put the chicken and all soup ingredients into a pot and bring the water to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, continue to simmer on a low – medium heat for 1 hr 15 mins.
- During the simmer 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.
- After 1 hr 15 mins remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool on a plate. Check the chicken is cooked by poking the breast with a chopstick. If there is any blood oozing out then return it to the pot and simmer until cooked.
- Strain the soup into a large bowl and press as much soup from the vegetables as you can.
- Pour the soup back into a clean pot on a low heat setting. You should have roughly 2 litres of soup.
- Boil salted water and cook the pasta till al dente (usually 6 mins for me). Drain and set aside.
- Shred half of the chicken meat or an amount of your liking and store the remainder for another meal.
- Check the soup for seasoning and adjust according to taste. Note: Use fish sauce to adjust salt content of the broth.
- Place the pasta into each bowl.
- Place the shredded chicken on top of the pasta.
- Pour the boiling soup over pasta and chicken.
- Sprinkle garnishes on top. I usually go coriander, spring onions, fried shallots and then chilli.
- Try to use 2.5 litres of water to boil the chicken. It is not necessary for the chicken to be completely submersed for the simmering phase.
- There will be a lot of chicken left over. Be sure to have a recipe in mind to use up the chicken before making the dish.
- Cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces will help the soup absorb more of the flavours.
- To boil the pasta, I roughly use 2 – 2.5 L of water with a good pinch of salt.
- If you want to avoid the fish sauce smell while cooking the broth, add it after the broth has been strained. This however, will cause the chicken meat to not absorb as much flavour.