Mien ga or Vietnamese chicken and glass noodle soup is a homely dish made with whole chicken, root vegetables and glass noodles. This recipe is made from scratch and is perfect for lunch, dinner or any time you are feeling a little under the weather.
Our Mien Ga Recipe vs Traditional Recipes
Traditional mien ga recipes are generally light noodle soups. Most of the flavour comes from the chicken which is why it’s important to use a quality chook. For our taste, we like to add more than the basic ingredients to get extra depth of flavour and texture. This will help you get away with using a cheaper/poorer quality chicken if that’s what you’re working with.
The notable non-traditional ingredients in our recipe are:
- Swedes (rutabaga) for extra flavour in the soup.
- Black fungus (wood ear mushrooms) for extra texture.
Traditional recipes also often include offal. If offal’s your thing go for it – we don’t include it because it’s harder to find where we live, and also people can be a bit funny about liver and gizzards and the like. However, if someone offered us a bowl with offal we’d happily eat it up!
This is a made-from-scratch soup, so it takes a bit longer to prepare but totally worth it! If you are looking for a quicker version using store-bought chicken stock then check out our Quick Chicken and Mushroom Glass Noodle Soup.
What Goes Into a Mien Ga Soup Base
The soup is made of the following ingredients:
- Chicken – use a cornfed, free-range chicken if you can. This has the best flavour, colour and produces less scum while cooking. Cheaper, lower-welfare chickens will still work well, so just use the best you can afford.
- Vegetables (onions and swede / rutabaga) – the swede is the secret ingredient here. While it’s not traditional it will really add an extra flavour dimension to the soup. You can also char the onions to add a little bit of smokiness to your soup.
- Aromatics (ginger) – it is important to use a decent knob of ginger for this recipe so the flavour actually comes through.
- Seasoning (fish sauce, sugar, salt and pepper) – the usual seasoning in a Vietnamese soup. However, if you feel like your soup needs a bit more depth you can also add chicken bouillon powder.
Note: Do not cook the black fungus in the soup. It will impart an odd flavour and ruin your soup.
Preparing the Glass Noodles
Glass noodles, or bean thread noodles, cook quickly and become bloated and soft very easily. Always soak the noodles in cold water first, then let the heat from the boiling hot soup finish off the cooking process. I strongly advise against cooking them in a pot of boiling water beforehand unless stated on the package instructions.
To prepare glass (bean thread) noodles:
- Put the noodles in a large bowl.
- Pour cold water over the top until completely submersed.
- Soak the noodles for 10 minutes.
- Strain and divide into bowls.
Putting Everything Together
To pull the noodle soup bowls together:
- Place the prepared noodles in the bowl (see section above “Preparing the Glass Noodles”).
- Top with shredded chicken and black fungus.
- Ladle over the soup.
- Garnish with spring onions, coriander, thinly sliced onion and fried shallots.
- Serve ASAP.
What to Serve Mien Ga With
- Fried Onions – The must-have garnish in mien ga is fried onions / shallots. They tie everything together and add amazing flavour. They are available at mainstream and Asian groceries.
- Pickled Chilli – To add heat, flavour and texture.
- Bean Sprouts – For crunch and extra veg in your meal.
- Fish Sauce – Extra fish sauce should be served on the table for those who want more seasoning.
- Dipping Sauce – The chicken meat can be slightly on the bland side for people who like punchy flavours. This is purely optional… but some people like to dip the bits of boiled chicken into a ginger and fish sauce mixture. It gives the dish a bit of kick which I personally enjoy. To make this dipping sauce combine the following in a small bowl:
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
- 1 tsp of finely chopped ginger
- A few drops of lemon juice
Other Similar Recipes to Mien Ga
- Quick Chicken and Mushroom Glass Noodle Soup
- Vietnamese Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)
- Vietnamese Pork Thick Noodle Soup (Banh Canh)
- Quick Chicken Pho
- Quick Beef Pho
- Sup Nui Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Pasta Soup
My last words on this post are like all my others. Give this recipe a go. It is a dish I serve regularly to my family and have fine tuned over numerous attempts. So I can assure you it tastes great!
– Scruff & Steph
Mien Ga (Vietnamese Chicken and Glass Noodle Soup)
- 15 gm shredded black fungus (wood ear mushrooms)
- 320 gm glass noodles (approx. 80g each bowl – big bowls!)
- 1 whole chicken (approx. 1.8 kg / 4 lb, cleaned and not frozen)
- 1 swede / rutabaga peeled and chopped into small pieces
- 1 brown onion peeled and quartered
- 30 gm ginger peeled or unpeeled, sliced
- 2.5 L boiling water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon / chicken powder (optional and available at Asian groceries)
- 4 tbsp fried shallots highly recommended, available at Asian groceries
- 2 spring onions chopped
- 6 sprigs coriander (optional), roughly chopped
- 2 fresh chillies (optional), finely chopped
- 1/2 lemon (optional), cut into wedges
- Soak the black fungus in a bowl with plenty of boiling water for 20 minutes.
- Give the chicken a rinse under a tap, and prepare the soup vegetables.
- Put the chicken breast-side down in a large stock pot. Add the water and the rest of the soup ingredients, except the fish sauce and chicken bouillon powder (if using). Turn the heat to high and allow it to come to the boil.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue to simmer for 45 minutes, partially covered. Use a spoon to scoop off any scum build up on the surface of the soup.
- Drain the black fungus. In a small saucepan, cook the black fungus in fresh boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and leave aside until assembly.
- Prepare garnishes.
- After 45 minutes, turn off the heat. Let the pot sit with the lid on for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove the chicken from the pot and check if the chicken is cooked. If not, pop it back into the pot and cook until done. If yes, then let the chicken rest on a plate. Once it is cool enough to handle shred the meat.
- Add the fish sauce to the soup and check the seasoning. Adjust according to your taste. Add the chicken bouillon powder if you think the soup needs more flavour.
- Keep the soup pot hot on a medium-low heat setting.
Prep the Noodles
- Prepare the noodles as instructed on the packaging. If there are no instructions, soak the noodles for 10 minutes in cold water to soften before serving.
- Divide the noodles evenly into each bowl.
- Lay the chicken pieces and black fungus on top of the noodles.
- Pour the boiling soup over the noodles, then sprinkle the garnishes over the top.