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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

If Martha made Vietnamese-- Miến Gà (Chicken cellophane noodle soup)

Y'all know we love our phở dearly!  It is Boo's favorite food in the whole world and a regular in our home.  But I really wanted to try another Vietnamese soup recipe.  Mix it up a bit!  Cause you know we're crazy folks after all!  So much research later, a combo of several recipes, some trial and error, and this is now another Vietnamese soup favorite.  It's different from phở  but still has the characteristic Vietnamese flavors.  And it's much simpler to make.  Fewer ingredients and it is so quick to whip up!
Ok... my disclaimer... as with all my Vietnamese recipes, yes, you're gonna have to make a trip to the Asian market.  But most of these ingredients are things that you'll want to have in stock in your home anyway if your really wanting to learn how to cook Vietnamese or Asian cooking.

Miến translates to the type of noodles that are used in this soup.  They are very skinny slippery semi-transparent noodles that are called cellophane, vermicelli, bean thread, glass, or thread noodles.  Again, don't over cook or boil the noodles.  Soak them in hot water, only about 10 min, till they are soft.

Gà translated to chicken. In a perfect world I'd have the time to cook and debone a whole fryer.  But I don't have that kind of time and honestly deboning a whole chicken makes me oogy.  So I opt to boneless skinless breasts.  Or actually any leftover chicken from last night's dinner.

Notice that most of the garnishes are optional.  As with many Vietnamese foods, it's all about the garnishes and I think that's part of the reason my kiddos love it so.  They get to top off their food to their preferences.  So be sure to have a few.  But you don't have to have all of them.  I wouldn't leave out the limes, chili slices, or cilantro.   

One final note... I know the mushrooms are gonna throw many of you over the top.  Be brave.  Go look for them in the Asian market.  It's a fun isle to peruse!  And they are there in many varieties and brands.  I know they look kinda "different" in comparison to our American foods.  And the word "fungus" is can be scary to some.  But please don't pass by this recipe just because of the mushrooms!  I really don't think there is a substitute to this wonderful flavor and texture!  Just soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes, then chop them up.

Miến Gà (Chicken cellophane noodle soup)

3 quarts of chicken stock (or water but add a bit of chicken bullion for some flavor)
1 whole chicken cooked, de-boned and shredded, or 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs - cooked and shredded
2 T fish sauce
1 T sugar
8 oz cellophane noodles - soaked in hot water and drained (also called glass noodles)
1/3 c dried wood ear mushrooms (soaked in warm water and cut into 1/4" wide strips- total 1/3 c after mushrooms are reconstituted and chopped)

2-3 chilies (Thai, serrano, Jalapeno...) - thinly sliced (optional, but my recent favorite garnish.  Don't eat it.  Just let 1-2 slices soak in the bowl as you eat.)
1/2 c cilantro - roughly chopped
1 c bean sprouts (optional)
1/2 c green onions, spring onions, scallions (optional)
6 key limes (those are the little ones) sliced or 1 regular lime cut into wedges
Hoisin sauce (optional)
Siracha sauce (optional)
Black pepper

To water add, fish sauce, sugar and salt to taste.  Add chicken, noodles, and mushrooms and return to boil.  then remove from heat so noodles don't over cook.  

Spoon into individual bowls and each person garnishes according to preference.  

We eat this one with chop sticks in one hand and a spoon in the other.  Slup away and enjoy!


  1. I remember eating that growing up! I love those noodles!

  2. oh yum, you've inspired me to make this in the very near future :-)


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