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.
Other tips for making this soup are:
- 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.
- Cutting the vegetables into smaller pieces will help the soup absorb more of the flavours in a short amount of time.
- Keep the chicken whole for as long as possible. Only tear the pieces of chicken just before serving to avoid drying out the chicken meat.
- If you want to serve the stock vegetables with the pasta soup, then do not squeeze the liquid out of them.
- If you want to avoid the fish sauce smell while cooking the soup, add it after the soup has been strained. This however, will cause the chicken and vegetables to not absorb any salt which will case the soup to be saltier. I recommend initially adding 2 tbsp of fish sauce first and then adjusting in smaller quantities after that.
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!
PS If you like this dish than I suggest you also try something similar that I have posted on this blog called Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles – Pho Ga or Vietnamese Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles – Mien Ga
Vietnamese Chicken Soup With Pasta - Sup Nui Ga
Sup nui ga is a fusion of a traditional Vietnamese chicken soup and Italian pasta! This recipe is healthy, comforting and delicious with the added bonus of making it from scratch.
- 1 whole chicken (1.8 kg / 4 lbs), washed and not frozen
- 2.5 L water
- 2 brown onions, quartered
- 5 garlic cloves, flattened
- 1 large swede / rutabaga, peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
- 5 coriander roots (Note 1)
- 4 tbsp fish sauce (60 ml)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 500 gm pasta curls
- 6 stalks coriander, chopped
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 4 tbsp fried shallots (available at Asian groceries)
- 2 fresh chillies, chopped (optional)
Add the water, whole chicken (breast side down) and all the soup ingredients into a pot on high heat.
Once the water is boiling, continue to simmer on a low - medium heat for 1 hr 15 mins.
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.
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 - 2.3 liters of soup.
Check the soup for seasoning and adjust according to taste. Note: Use fish sauce to up the salt content of the soup or boiling water to dilute the flavour or make more soup.
Boil salted water and cook the pasta till al dente (usually 6 mins for me). Drain and set aside.
Place the pasta into each bowl.
Shred pieces of chicken (try to mix dry and dark meat) and place 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 buy coriander with roots attached or substitute with 1 tbsp of coriander seeds or just omit.