Recipe: Vietnamese noodle soup

Asian Inspired Chicken Soup
Makes 6-8 servings

What is so obliging about this hearty soup is that you can add any variety of vegetables that suits you fancy. While I have chosen to use baby bok choy, fennel, green onions and spinach to use in my soup, you could also use Napa cabbage, Savoy cabbage, mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, broccolini, onions, leeks, mustard greens, turnip green, celery or whatever tickles your bonnet. Just be sure that you don't overcook the vegetables.

Basic Soup

  • 8 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, split, washed and thinly sliced (white and yellow parts only)
  • 6 1/8-inch slices fresh ginger
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces (white and green parts)
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 2-to-3-inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces salt

  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 6 baby bok choy, green leaves separated from white stems and stems quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound spinach leaves
  • 1/4 pound bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 green onions, white and green part, thinly sliced
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha chile sauce
  1. Place shiitake mushrooms in a Pyrex measuring cup and pour over boiling water. Soak at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. Remove mushrooms, cut off and discard stems and slice mushrooms into 1/8-inch slices. Strain the soaking liquid and save.

  2. Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. When hot add the onions, garlic, leeks and ginger and stir and fry for 5 minutes. Pour in the reserved mushroom liquid, chicken broth and add green onions, star anise, cinnamon, black pepper and soy. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook for 20 minutes. Taste for salt.

  3. Add fennel, celery, reserved shiitake mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes then add the bok choy stems and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in bok choy leaves, spinach and bean sprouts, Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. The soup is ready to serve, but before serving remove the star anise, ginger slices and cinnamon and discard. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, green onions and a drizzle of sesame oil. Let guests add lime and chile paste to suite their own tastes.

Cooks' Notes:

  • If you want to make this soup a main dish then add about a cup of precooked Asian noodles to each portion.
Upcoming Event:

Bruce Aidells will be at Lambert Bridge winery, Saturday April 10.
For more information, visit
RSVP to: Colleen at

Making Sausage with Bruce Aidells
Saturday April 10 12-3 p.m.
$90 per person; $60 Liquid Assets Club

As a special guest, Mr. Franco Dunn, founding Owner & Chef of Santi Restaurant in Geyserville, will be joining Bruce to bring you the ultimate sausage making experience! Sample their savory creations paired with Lambert Bridge wines at a seated lunch in our gardens adjacent to the Al fresco kitchen!

The ticket includes the culinary demo, a sit down lunch with Bruce, beautifully paired Lambert Bridge wine, PLUS a take-home signed cookbook by Bruce Aidells, and a jar of his "Bruce's Rub" made exclusively for Lambert Bridge! At this price, this is one event you will regret not taking advantage of!

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