The third recipe Dorie Greenspan chose for the French Fridays with Dorie group seems like an odd recipe to find in a French cookbook — Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. However, as Dorie explains, France has colonial ties to Vietnam, and Vietnamese restaurants are common throughout France. So, it should not come as a surprise that some Vietnamese dishes have found their way into French kitchens.
This recipe is a combination of two traditional Vietnamese soups: pho ga and la sa ga. I’ve never had either of these soups, but this recipe does remind me of one of my favorite dishes — Thai chicken coconut soup.
The recipe begins with a bouquet garni tied up with star anise, coriander seeds, white peppercorns, and cilantro stems. This is added to a pot with onion, garlic, fresh ginger, red chiles, chicken broth, and coconut milk. This mixture is seasoned with fish sauce, brown sugar, and salt, then brought to a boil.
Once the broth boiled, I lowered it to a simmer and added the chicken breasts. I covered the pot and poached the chicken for about 15 minutes.
After the chicken was cooked, I removed it from the pot and let it cool for a few minutes before shredding it by hand. While the chicken was cooling, I cooked and drained the noodles.
I then returned the broth to a boil and added the chicken and noodles to the pot. When everything was heated through, I stirred in cilantro and lime juice, adjusted the seasonings, and served the soup for dinner with a salad.
I topped my bowl with a few splashes of chili oil. I had omitted the red chiles from the recipe at the beginning, as I was serving the soup for dinner and my daughters don’t like things that are too spicy.
This soup was delicious. Spicy, slightly sweet from the coconut milk, and full of flavor. As noted above, it reminded me of Thai chicken coconut soup, which I order almost every time we get Thai food.
Even though there were quite a few ingredients in this recipe, it was really simple to assemble, and it was ready to serve in about 30 minutes, making it a perfect light dinner for any night of the week.