Monday, July 12, 2010

Nui Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

I like to change things up every now and then. I can't eat rice everyday, and yes I do prefer noodles over rice. I love slurping noodles and the warmth of hot broth in my tummy. So at least 2-3 times a week I have to make a pot of some kind of noodle soup. But on those busy days when I don't have time to hover over the stove all day, nui ga is my quick fix.

Nui ga is definitely my ideal comfort food. It always bring me back to my childhood when I use to experiment with my mom's nui ga. I use to put different condiments in my soup to give it a little something more. One day it could be soy sauce, sometimes ketchup, but mostly hoison sauce. Of course my mom did not approve of this behavior but I was just a kid. I don't do it as often now but I do grab the bottle of ketchup if I ever feel nostalgic.


1 Cornish hen
1 sweet onion
2 carrots
pasta of your choice ( I like using rice pasta)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning
black pepper
minced green onions
minced cilantro

1. Wash chicken and scrub with plenty of salt.
2. Peel carrots and chop into bite size.
3. Add 4 quarts of water to pot and let it come to a boil and then add the chicken, 1 sweet onion, and chopped carrots, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon mushroom seasoning.
4. Let chicken cook in pot.  Remove scum when necessary.
5. Once chicken is cooked, a Cornish hen will take about 30-45 minutes, remove and let cool down. 
6. Once chicken has cooled, remove from broth and shred chicken.  I usually throw the bones back into the broth and turn the heat to low.
7.  Make final adjustment with more salt and sugar if needed. 
8.  Boil the pasta to al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water. 
9.  If you are serving a lot of people as once, you can throw the pasta into the broth.  Let it come to a boil and then transfer to serving bowl.  Top off with cilantro/green onions and black pepper.
10.  If you are eating individual bowls, I would transfer to smaller pot to heat of individual bowl. 

Banh Bot Chien - Fried Rice Cubes w/ Eggs

Crispy cubes of dough dip in a special soy sauce, I can eat these like candies! I actually have no recollection of eating bot chien as a child when I still lived in Vietnam. I was first introduced to this popular street snack in Seattle by my brother. The dough is pan fry to a crisp on the outside but soft and warm on the inside. It doesn't stop there, they scramble these crispy goodness with eggs. Eggs makes everything oh so more delicious! Banh Bot Chien is often pair with a plate of raw green papaya salad. I'm not sure why they are paired that way but the special soy sauce is very similar to the sauce eaten with Green Papaya Beef Jerky Salad.

I always crave these but the thought of mixing flour, steaming, and then frying doesn't really work well with my schedule lately. I'm so glad I found some premade cake at our local Vietnamese market. All you have to do is cut them into small cubes, and then start cooking. In Vietnam, we often eat Bot Chien after dinner almost like a dessert. Over here I like eating these at brunch, you got your eggs and carbohydrate to jump start your metabolism. I would so take Bot Chien over pancakes any day!


Premade cake
eggs (to your liking because I like A LOT of eggs)
1-2 stalk green onions minced
cooking oil


2 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon of sugar
1/2 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of vinegar
fresh chili (optional)

1. Cut cake into the size of your liking.
2. Heat up a pan with a oil.
3. Add 1/2 of the green onions until your can smell fragrance.
4. Add cake cubes to the pan and let it fry to a crisp on the outside.
5. Once the cubes is to a crisp, slightly burned, add enough eggs to cover every single cube. Continue to flip and fry until the eggs are cook.
6. Sprinkle the remaining half of the green onions and serve.