Vietnamese chicken noodle soup

Prep:20 mins Cook:25 mins
Serves 6


1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 shallots, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
2.5cm piece ginger, sliced
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander seeds
¼ tsp Chinese five spice
¼ tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1.25 – 1.5 litres good quality fresh chicken stock
3 large chicken breasts (about 500g)

To serve

450g rice noodles
4 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
1 carrot, shredded or peeled into ribbon with a vegetable peeler
2 large handfuls (150g) mung bean sprouts
large bunch coriander, chopped
small bunch mint, leaves chopped
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tbsp crispy fried shallots (optional)
1 kaffir lime leaf, tough central stalk removed, very finely sliced, (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges



Heat the oil in a small frying pan on medium heat and gently cook the shallots and
garlic until caramelised and golden brown (about 4-5 mins).


In a large saucepan, add the caramelised shallots and garlic, lemongrass, ginger, star
anise, cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, Chinese five-spice, peppercorns, sugar, fish
sauce, chicken stock and chicken breasts. Cover with a lid and bring to a very gentle
simmer for about 15 mins.


Meanwhile, cook the noodles, following pack instructions, until just cooked through
(do not over-cook). Rinse under cold water to prevent them sticking together. Drain
and divide between serving bowls.


Strain the soup through a sieve. Discard the spices. Shred the chicken and keep to one
side. Return soup to the pot and bring to a boil. Season to taste with more fish sauce if


To serve, ladle piping hot soup into bowls of noodles and chicken, and top with
spring onion, carrot, bean sprouts, and herbs, plus the chilli, crispy shallots and kaffir
lime leaf if using. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over, and more fish sauce and
chilli to taste.