Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken, Seafood and Mushroom (Chao Ga Nam Recipe)

  • Preparation: 30 mins
  • Cooking: 20 mins
  • Skill level: Medium
  • Servings: 6

Description Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken, Seafood and Mushroom Recipe (Cháo Gà Nấm)

An elegant preparation of northern Vietnam, Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken, Seafood and Mushroom (Chao Boi) is special-occasion fare. Rather than simmering the rice until it disintegrates into a silky creaminess, the grains are cooked until their ends “bloom” into flowerlike petals, an effect achieved by parboiling the rice and then simmering it for a shorter time than for standard cháo. Tapioca pearls thicken the soup and lend an interesting shimmer, and the halved shrimp turn into pink corkscrews as they cook, adding a final flourish to the presentation.


  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about ¼ pound)
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) chicken stock, homemade or quick version
  • 4 or 5 dried wood ear mushrooms, reconstituted, trimmed, and cut into ¼-inch-wide strips
  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and halved horizontally
  • ⅓ cup freshly picked or thawed crabmeat
  • ¼ cup small tapioca pearls (about ⅛ inch in diameter)
  • Salt
  • ⅓ cup chopped scallion, white and green parts
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Method Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken, Seafood and Mushroom Recipe (Cháo Gà Nấm)

1, Fill a 5-quart saucepan half full with water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat and add the chicken breast. Remove from the heat and cover tightly. Let stand for 20 minutes. The chicken should be firm to the touch yet still yield a bit. Remove the chicken from the pan. Leave the water in the pan. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it by hand and set aside.
2, Return the water to a boil and add the rice. Parboil for 8 minutes, or until tender but still firm. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
3, In the same pan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, chicken, and mushrooms, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, or until the rice expands.
4, Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes, or until fragrant and soft. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 2 minutes, until they curl into corkscrews. Add the crabmeat and stir to distribute. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5, To prevent the tapioca pearls from clumping on contact with the hot soup, put them into a sieve and rinse briefly under cold water. When the rice has expanded in the soup, add the tapioca pearls and cook for another 10 minutes. The opaque pearls will expand and become translucent. At that point, add the shrimp mixture, heat through, and adjust with salt, if necessary.
6, Ladle into individual bowls or a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the scallion and cilantro. Serve immediately.

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