Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup (Bún Măng Gà)

Yum
  • Preparation: 30 mins
  • Cooking: 30 mins
  • Skill level: Medium
  • Servings: 4-6

Description Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup

In Vietnamese Cuisine, it is very common to eat soup for breakfast. Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup (Bún Măng Gà), literally bamboo and chicken rice noodle soup, is a wonderful way to start your day. The key to making excellent soup is to make excellent broth, and that is largely dependent on using young bamboo shoots and infusing it with the aroma of chicken.
Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup (Bún Măng Gà) is also perfect for a rainy day or when you're a little under the weather. You can make a big pot of the broth and freeze it for later use. Just reheat, add some cooked chicken and bamboo shoots, and you're ready to eat. Try Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup (Bún Măng Gà) the next time you need some chicken noodle soup for your soul.

Ingredients

  • 4 fresh young bamboo shoots, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 whole chickens
  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 yellow onions, 1 whole, 3 chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 (3-inch) chunk fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 1 (1-inch) chunk rock sugar
  • 1 package dried thick rice vermicelli noodles
  • 2 teaspoons mushroom seasoning salt
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 chunk daikon turnip, peeled
  • 1/2 cup Chinese cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 6 sprigs Vietnamese mint
  • 6 sprigs Thai basil
  • 3 sprigs rau răm (see tips)
  • 3 sprigs ngò gai (see tips)
  • 4 red Thai bird chiles, finely chopped
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 white onion (milder in flavor), thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • black pepper
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
  • 5 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, or Sriracha
  • 1 cup nước mắm dipping sauce

Method Vietnamese Bamboo Shoots and Chicken Noodle Soup

1, Fill a medium-sized pan with about 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Add the rice vermicelli noodles. Wait for the water to come back to a boil (about 1-2 minutes) then lower the heat to medium-low for about 8 minutes. Drain the liquid. Rinse the noodles. Set the noodles aside.
2, Heat about 1 inch of canola oil in a skillet. Fry 3 onions and shallots in the oil, stirring frequently to prevent the onions from burning until the color is evenly golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
3, Bring about 7 quarts of water to a boil. Add the sliced ginger, fried onions and shallots. Add the 2 whole chickens and chicken carcasses to the onion broth. Cook for about 10-12 minutes. Remove the whole chickens from the pot. Let them cool a bit until you can handle them without discomfort. Make several deep diagonal incisions throughout the birds' flesh. Place the chickens back in the broth. Add the daikon, whole onion, rock sugar and mushroom seasoning salt. Bring to one more boil and simmer for another 30 minutes until the whole onion and daikon are soft and tender. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4, Season with salt. Bring back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. Cook for another 10-12 minutes. Remove the chickens and shred the meat. Set the meat aside on a platter.
5, In a different deep saucepan, bring about 1 quart of the chicken broth to a boil. Add the sliced bamboo shoots and cook until tender (about 10-15 minutes).
6, Be organized. Line up 8 large bowls. Place some vermicelli noodles, chopped white onion, shredded cabbage, green onions, bean sprouts, cilantro and the other Vietnamese herbs in each bowl. Add the boiled, drained rice noodles, following with the boiling broth with sliced bamboo shoots. Top with shredded chicken.
7, Serve with chili garlic sauce, Thai basil, mint, jalapeno peppers and the bird chiles. Drizzle some nước mắm to the broth to finish.

Chef's Note

If you want to make a very authentic soup, the choice of chicken is crucial. Buy it from your Asian market and ask for a gà đi bộ, literally a walking chicken. In Vietnamese Food, the gà đi bộ chicken are considered "free-range"; the chickens are "trained" to run and as a result the meat has a totally different texture as the chicken found in American grocery stores.
You can find ready-packed chicken carcasses at Asian stores, but I usually use the chicken thighs and chicken breasts to make other dishes such as chicken cacciatore, Vietnamese chicken salad (Gỏi Gà) and keep the bones and carcasses for making chicken broth.

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