Vietnamese food is full of flavor, spice, and depth, sure to warm your heart and soul on a rainy day. In this article, we are going to focus on Vietnamese soups, bringing you three wonderful recipes. These are definitely worth trying, even if you’ve never made a broth before, as the finished product will bring such warmth and satisfaction to your heart and soul!
What Is Vietnamese Soup?
Vietnamese soup is usually a rich, flavorful broth made from vegetables, meat, or a combination of both. These are not like soups we traditionally eat in the west – though you can click here for some inspiration on that front. These soups contain a ton of noodles, veggies, and an array of toppings, herbs, and spices to make for a full meal of slurping from a bowl. Commonly called Pho, these following recipes are a treat for anyone who likes a wholesome, hearty, and healthy meal.
Bún gà Huế (Spicy Chicken)
Central Vietnam is famous for its spicy dishes and spicy chicken soup is a local option that you can easily make at home. You will need chicken thighs, onion, ginger, fennel, cloves, coriander, fish sauce, salt, and sugar for its broth and cook for a minimum of 2.5 hours before being strained – some recipes mix rest and simmering for up to 16 hours!
The difference here is, we will then make a spicy base to add to the bowl, which is a combination of garlic, onion, lemongrass, chilies, and oil, effectively making thick chili oil. This adds it a rich red color and hot, spicy taste and is balanced out with sliced chicken, noodles, beansprouts, mint, and more chilies for a super bowl of soup.
Phở chín (Vietnamese Pho with Beef Brisket)
A traditional Vietnamese pho involves cooking beef in the stock. For this recipe, your stock ingredients will be mainly the same as above, but with beef and pork bone to cook the broth instead of chicken. The secret is to put all the herbs (onions, ginger, star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds) in a small cheesecloth and tie it up. It will help keep the broth clear while all the flavors are infused in the soup. Place your chosen brisket in cold water along with beef bones and pork hocks. Bring this up to a simmer and carefully skim the scum off the top of the water. Then, drain, replace the meat and bones in the same pot and add your veggies.
At this point, you’ll add the same herbs and veggies as the chicken stock and cook for 1.5 hours. After 1.5 hours, remove your brisket and wrap it up for later. Simmer for a further 1.5 hours while preparing the rest of the dish. Finally, combine again with noodles, beansprouts, coriander, mint, and spring onion, before placing your sliced brisket on top. Don’t miss the hoisin sauce and some chili sauce if you’re into some spices.
Phở chay (Vegan Soup)
The only difference with a vegan recipe is we must make a nice vegetable broth with as much flavor as the chicken or beef stock. There is only one great way to replicate the deep taste of a meaty broth: mushrooms. A combination of fresh white mushrooms and dried shiitake mushrooms will give a beautiful rich broth. Cook for 3 hours, and combine with all the regular toppings. Traditionally, seasoned and fried tofu would be the topping of choice, but in today’s market, you can use any of the widely available vegan meat alternatives.
They take a bit of time and effort, but what you get in return is authentic soul food. Grab a big bowl, spoon, and chopsticks and tuck into a home-cooked pho today!