Delicious Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl, with a lovely chicken coconut broth, fresh vegetables, noodles and moist, flavourful chicken.
I spotted the recipe for this Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl in a recent edition of cooking light. I loved everything about it ... except the 24-hour/multi-step preparation.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm more than willing to invest time in energy in dishes, but the original recipe prescribed an 8-hour marinade of the chicken, then an 8 hour simmer of the broth in a slow cooker, all before putting the dish together. That translates in to a multi-day cooking adventure and for me, that seemed like a lot for a noodle bowl. And while I appreciate the benefits of a long-simmering broth in the finest Vietnamese Pho tradition, I felt I could still get a pretty nice broth with a much quicker, stove-top simmer.
If you are a slow-cooker devotee, you could still do the chicken/broth on low for 7-8 hours. For impatient folks like me, I loved the quicker stove-top version. Instructions for both are included in the recipe.
In the end, either way, you'll be treated to a wonderful coconut broth with lots of noodles, moist, flavourful chicken, fresh vegetables and crunchy peanuts. A little Sambal Oelek in the center delivers a little spice, too.
I think you'll find this a wonderful meal for this time of year, as it combines some nice freshness with some warm broth and filling noodles.
Cook's Notes for Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl
You'll want to use skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs, but you will be removing the skin. I have never seen skinless bone-in chicken thighs myself. If you can find them great. Otherwise, you'll want the bone for the broth, but take the skin off at home, so you won't be adding that fat in to the broth.
If you can find fresh lemongrass, that would be the best for this dish, as there's a good bit of it in here. If you can't look for the lemongrass in the tubes in the produce section as a good alternative. I wouldn't skip it. It really provides lovely flavour to this bowl.
Even if you don't need 6 bowls, I'd recommend making the full recipe and freezing the extra stock and chicken (separately) to enjoy at a later time!
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Bowl
- 1/4 cup coconut milk (stirred, (You will use the rest of a 14 oz./400 ml can in the stock flavouring below))
- 3 Tbsp lemongrass (finely chopped)
- 2 Tbsp sambal oelek
- 8 skin-on/bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 5 cloves garlic (peeled and quartered)
- 2 large carrots (cut into 4 pieces)
- 1 large onion (peeled and quartered)
- 1 inch fresh ginger (thinly sliced)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 5 tsp fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 cup coconut milk (stirred, (or remainder of 14oz/400ml can))
- 8 oz rice noodles
- 2 cups English cucumber (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves ((or flat parsley))
- 1/4 cup green onions (sliced)
- 1/4 cup peanuts (chopped, salted or unsalted)
- slices Fresh lime
- Marinate the chicken: In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup coconut milk, lemongrass and sambal oelek and stir to combine. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and discard. (Use a paper towel to grab an edge and pull off). Place thighs in a large plastic storage bag and pour in marinade, tossing to coat chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to 8 hours).
- Once chicken has marinated, remove chicken from marinade (you can discard marinade), and place chicken in a large pot or Dutch oven on the stove-top. Add the stock ingredients - the chicken stock, garlic, carrots, onion and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (just enough to maintain a slow simmer), COVER and allow to barely for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, checking once in a while to make sure it's just barely simmering, until chicken falls apart easily.
- *SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS: Place chicken and stock ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours. Proceed as detailed below.
- Remove chicken from stock and set aside. Strain remaining broth, discarding the solids and returning the clear broth to the pot. Add the stock flavouring ingredients - the soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and coconut milk. Stir to combine. Keep stock warm over low heat.
- Remove meat from chicken and discard bones. Shred chicken in to bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- To serve: Divide noodles between serving bowls. Arrange sections on top of chicken, cucumber slices and peanuts. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Pour 1/2 cup of the stock over-top of each bowl. Garnish with fresh lime slices and a dollop of Sambal Oelek in the middle for a little heat, if you'd like.