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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe – Donna Hay – 50 Women Game Changers In Food

by Jeanette on January 20, 2012 · 27 Comments
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Vietnamese Chicken Noodle SoupI love Asian noodle soups – they are one of my favorite foods to make for a quick and easy lunch. I usually take a peek in my refrigerator and start pulling out whatever bits and pieces of herbs, vegetables, and soup I have leftover. Sometimes I might add some leftover chicken or poach an egg right in the broth. Today, I am sharing a Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, simple and comforting.

If you’re familiar with Vietnamese food, you most likely have heard of pho, a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup that is eaten throughout the day, at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I spotted a Vietnamese Noodle Soup recipe on Donna Hay’s site which reminded me of pho, but was much simpler.

I first made pho several years ago after I met a Vietnamese woman in our town who had cancer. In fact, one of the first recipes I posted on my blog was a Vietnamese Vegetarian Pho, a recipe I dedicated to my friend Thuy, who died within nine months of finding out she had cancer. Thuy was one of the inspirations behind my blog, trying to help others stay healthy and cancer-free.

This Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup is not pho, but it has some of the same flavorings. A fragrant broth infused with lemongrass, star anise, ginger and cinnamon serves as the base for this noodle soup. From there, anything goes. I happened to have some leftover poached chicken, bok choy, Thai basil and cilantro in my refrigerator so that’s what I put in my noodle soup. Although I usually have thicker dried rice noodles in my pantry, I was all out but found a pack of thin brown rice noodles.

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

Today, a group of food bloggers is celebrating Donna Hay as one of 50 Women Game Changers in Food. Sometimes referred to as the Australian Martha Stewart, Donna Hay is Australia’s leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author. Her career as a food writer and stylist began when she was only 19. She became Marie Claire’s food editor at the age of 25. She is the editor of donna hay magazine, a top-selling international food magazine. Donna Hay has 18 award-winning cookbooks and was named one of the ‘Magnificent Seven’ cookbook authors by the international Gourmand Awards in January 2007. Her food, recipes and styling focus on basic ingredients, simply prepared and beautifully photographed

Give this a try – and don’t skip the fresh herbs, it really makes this soup fantastic.

5 from 1 reviews
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Inspired by Donna Hay'sVietnamese Noodle Soup. Donna Hay's recipe uses beef stock and beef fillet. Here, I've made my own version using chicken broth and chicken, adding lemongrass and star anise, and serving this noodle soup with cilantro in addition to Thai basil. Mint would also be nice if you have it.
Serves: 2
  • 3 ounces dried rice noodles
Vietnamese Chicken Broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, using bottom 3" section only, smashed
  • 1 slice ginger, the size of a quarter, peeled
  • 1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
Soup Ingredients
  • 2 handfuls of bok choy, cut up
  • ½ cup shredded poached chicken or roast chicken
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 lime
  • 2 red Thai chilies, chopped
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • fresh Thai basil leaves
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  1. Cook rice noodles until just done. Rinse and drain. Divide between two bowls.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine all Vietnamese Chicken Broth ingredients and bring to a simmer. Let cook for 5-10 minutes so broth becomes infused with ginger and spices. Add bok choy and chicken and cook until bok choy is just tender and chicken is heated through.
  3. Ladle broth, bok choy and chicken on top of noodles in bowls.
  4. Sprinkle each bowl with a little fish sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Top with chilies, scallion, Thai basil and cilantro.
I used thin dried brown rice noodles that I found at the local Asian grocery store. Use any size dried rice noodles and green vegetables that you like.

If you’re interested in joining our group as we cook our way through this list of 50 influential women in food, just ask Mary from One Perfect Bite.

Please stop by and take a look at what the rest of the group made this week in celebration of Barbara Tropp:

Annie from Most Lovely Things
Linda from There and Back Again
Val from More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne from Eats Well with Others
Taryn from Have Kitchen Will Feed 
Susan from The Spice Garden
Heather from girlichef 
Miranda from Mangoes and Chutney
Mary from One Perfect Bite
Sue from The View from The Great Island
Barbara from Movable Feasts
Nancy from Picadillo
Kathleen from Bake Away With Me
Veronica from My Catholic Kitchen
Mireya of My Healthy Eating Habits
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook

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  1. This is a soup in honour of your friend Thuy. Of all of the Women Game Changers Donna hay is the one I can relate to the most. I love her cookbooks and always have her magazine on my coffee table.

    • This noodle soup definitely reminded me of Thuy. I thank her for introducing me to Vietnamese food and for teaching what courage is all about.

  2. looks fabulous! I love your recipes

  3. This soup is just so lush and beautiful … Donna Hay would, no doubt, be happy with the way you styled your recipe! Such beautiful presentation! The connection you have made with your friend, Thuy is very sweet … a nice tribute to her, Jeanette!

  4. I adore Pho – any version and have bookmarked this (I seem to be bookmarking Donna Hay like crazy today). The inspiration for your blog – while tinged with sadness is such a thing of beauty.

    • Thanks Claudia – I learned a lot from my friend Thuy and she was indeed one of the inspirations for this blog, so I thank her.

  5. Jeanette,
    This sounds like a perfect spring soup, it’s quick to make, light but spicy and flavorful. Your soup looks very appetizing…I’m going to have to go get something to eat.

    • Yes, Mireya – this is a light soup, but with lots of flavor and spice. I especially love all the fresh herbs that are eaten with it, adds such a nice contrast to the warm soup.

  6. Fantastic flavours Jeanette – I am so craving warming foods right now and soup is right up there!

  7. Delicious! I live in Pho country (Seattle lol) and have yet attempted to make it at home. I may start with this Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup and work up to it. YUM!

  8. This sounds like a wonderful soup. What great flavors…I know I would love it! Love your photos!

  9. Love how you arrange the ingredients in the bowl, so artistic. Yep, I can have noodle soup for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

  10. Jeanette, what a beautiful bowl of soup — and inspirational as well. I have a very close friend whose husband has cancer and we’ve been making nutrient rich stock for soups for him. She’ll be quite excited by your wonderful recipe. Donna Hay has always been an inspiration to me. She truly deserves this recognition.

    • Thanks Kelly – so sorry to hear about your friend’s husband. Cancer is so tough. Thankfully you all are right on top of it and making soups for him. I will email you links to some recipes I’ve made for friends with cancer, most of which are soups and smoothies.

  11. I cant wait to try this soup. Your pictures make it almost impossible to resist! you picked a wonderful recipe from Donnas collection.

  12. Good healthy food feeds not only the body, but also the soul and this is proof. i feel like this is the perfect combination of spices and flavors…and that just has to lead to inner peace.

  13. That is a big bowl of beautiful right there. I think I’d enjoy it with beef or chicken…and all of that green- awesome!

  14. Christine Robinett says:

    I see beautiful soup like this and get frustrated on where to start. I miss Aisan food but can’t eat anything soy (any legumes) or any grains. The grass grain sensitvity for me is so bad I can’t use distilled white vinegar. I recently bought a book of GF Asian cooking in the hopes it would have recipes for making the sauces from scratch but it relies on packaged items. I’ve scoured the internet looking for recipes but instruction on how to make my own fish sauce, hoisin, plum sauce, etc, don’t seem to exist. I found “soy-free” soy sauce only to see the ingredients include Worstershire and Buillion that contain soy! Might you have any resources for making sauces from scratch? I have discovered coconut aminos and coconut vinegar.

  15. This is such a lovely soup. The colors and the flavors are hard to beat. It was a great choice to use to highlight her recipes. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  16. I have a not so secret love of Donna Hay. I bought one of her cookbooks today in fact. I’m really excited! More than any one person should be for buying a cookbook. What a great choice to highlight the simplicity of her recipes that are yet so packed with flavor.

  17. these rice noodle soup looks delicious. i loved eating pho, so i think i would love this soup! i have yet to play around with rice noodles though other than when making spring rolls!

    • Thanks Mary and France. Junia, you must try some rice noodles. They cook very quickly and are great in soups.

  18. Donna Hay is a woman I greatly admire. Love this tribute to her & this soup looks wonderful ~ love all of the flourishes on the top!

  19. Donna Hay is an incredible woman and accomplished so much. This soup just speaks to the freshness and simplicity of her recipes.

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