easy recipe : Vietnamese chicken noodle soup with bamboo shoot

With the cold weather moving in, all I want is hot noodle soup for dinner.  Here's a recipe for an easy tasty dinner.  It needs only few ingredients and if you're Vietnamese, you probably have all of these ingredients in your pantry already !  Simple quick dinner for the win :-)

I just started to write recipe so please ask if something is unclear.  Everything is estimated (to closest unit of measurement).  If there's an "about" word before the ingredient, try a little bit first then add some more in after.  I cook mostly by eyeing and tasting :-/

What you will need for 4 servings:

- 10 cups water
- 1 whole chicken (I prefer free range) OR 4 large chicken legs (about 3 pounds)
- 2 cans of whole bamboo shoots or a pack of fresh one if avail. (I prefer Aroy-D brand)
- about 3 tablespoons of good fish sauce (Viet Huong 3 Crabs brand is the best kind)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- a small 1" chuck of rock sugar or less than a teaspoon of sugar
- about 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder (optional, for coloring only)
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 white onion, quartered
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 bunch of green onions
- handful of cilantro

Rice noodles:

2 pack of round rice noodles cook as instructed on package.  Usually, I cook them in 8 cups of cold water.  Bring to boil and let boil for about 7-10 minutes.  Turn off heat, close lid for 5 min.  Test for doneness by pinching a noodle, if break apart it's done).  Drained in colander.


- Clean the chicken and set aside
- In a large pot, put in 10 cups of cold filtered water
- Put the chicken in the cold water and turn the stove on high, to boil it
- Once bubbling, put in the turmeric powder, this will make the chicken and broth yellow (for look only, opt out if you don't have turmeric around)
- Let the chicken boil in the water for about 20 min, then turn down heat to medium/low, close the lid (for at least 15 min.)

- While the chicken is cooking, wash the green onions and cilantro.  Thinly sliced the green onions and roughly chopped up the cilantro. 
- Take the bamboo shoots out of cans, washed in cold water, and thinly sliced it length wise (long)

- Remove the chicken from the pot, the water from the chicken should run clear.  Set aside to cool.


- Skim the top of the broth (I usually run the broth through a mesh layered with a paper towel, the fat gets trapped in the fiber and this usually remove most of the fat from the broth)
- Quartered the white onions and put it in the pot
- Put in the sliced bamboo shoots
- Put the in the fish sauce, salt and rock sugar. Taste the broth, and if needed, add more fish sauce to your liking.  Remember, once you pour the soup over the noodles, the broth will be diluted a bit.)

- Remove the meat from the chicken (if using whole chicken, leave the wings and thighs) and put the bones back into the pot (to sweeten the broth).  Simmer on medium for at least 20 min.

- You can either hand shred the chicken meat or slice them (I shred them because it's easy !!! one less cutting board and knife to wash :)

When ready to eat, REMOVE the bones and onions from the stock, ADD the sautéed shallot to broth and bring the broth to boil.


- Put noodles into a bowl, put the chicken meat on top, scoop in the broth and bamboo shoots.  The noodles should submerge in the broth.  Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro.  Top with a dash of pepper and Sriracha hot chilli sauce or slices of chili.

* If I have guests over, I usually put a small dish of fish sauce with a few slices of chilli on the table for those who wants a saltier broth.