Saturday, 6 June 2009

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup and Poor Man's Brioche

I think that we can all agree that chicken noodle soup has to be one of the most comforting meals around. Fortunately, to avoid the boredom of repetition, one can make a chicken noodle soup in the style of almost every culture.
This particular soup was free-styled from a Mien Ga recipe from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen.
I added lots of veggies, and just used the rice vermicelli that I had on hand. Garnished with some Thai basil from my garden and voila!
A warm and comforting recipe, because it is still chilly here at night. And besides, any season is the right season for chicken noodle soup, am I right?

Chicken and Cellophane Noodle Soup (Mien Ga)
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen
Andrea Nguyen
12 cups chicken stock
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp fish sauce
3/4 inch chunk yellow rock sugar (or brown..)
4 dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted, trimmed, and cut into 1/4 inch wide strips (I have no idea what a wood ear mushroom is.. I used shitake and lots of them)
I added a bunch of chopped veggies that I had on hand - napa cabbage, leeks, and baby carrots.
1/2 lb cellophane noodles, soaked in hot water until pliable, drained, and cut into 6 inch lengths
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh Vietnamese coriander or cilantro leaves, finely chopped or whole
Black pepper
2 or 3 Thai or serrano chilies, thinly sliced, optional
1. In a large pot, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Drop in the chicken breast. When the liquid starts bubbling at the edges of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and cover tightly. let stand for 20 minutes. The chicken breast should be firm yet still yield a bit to the touch. Remove it and let cool, then shred with your fingers into small bite-sized pieces, pulling the meat along it's natural grain. Set aside.
2. Add the fish sauce and rock sugar to the stock and then bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Taste and add salt, if necessary. Add the chicken, mushrooms, veggies, and noodles. As soon as the soup returns to a boil, remove from the heat. The noodles will have become clear and plump. Taste once more to check the seasoning and adjust with fish sauce or salt.
3. Ladle into soup bowls. Because the noodles are slippery, hold a ladle in one hand to scoop up some soup and chopsticks in the other hand to move noodles into the ladle. Garnish with a sprinkle of the Vietnamese coriander ans lots of pepper. Serve immediately. Pass the chilies at the table.
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup for Souper Sundays.
Because my daughter loved the Rich Man's Brioche that I made for her so very much (posted earlier this week), and because she is home this weekend, I decided to try out the Poor Man's Brioche for her. I made six larger ones in four inch tart forms so they would take the shape of large sandwich rolls. They are light and fluffy like clouds, and rich without the intense buttery-ness of the Rich Man's Brioche. Tomorrow she can have her grilled veggie sammie on one.. nice!
The recipe is here on Google Books. Bread Baker's Apprentice, Peter Reinhart.
I am baking through the book with the BBA Challenge!