Slow-Simmered Vietnamese Noodle Soup


Developed for CFC by Monda Rosenberg


  • 3 to 4 chicken breasts, or 8 thighs (preferably bone-in) or 3 chicken legs with thighs attached
  • 12 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar, preferably brown
  • 10 slices fresh ginger
  • 8 to 10 star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp dried chili flakes or hot-garlic chili sauce (optional)
  • 2-inch wide bundle of dried stick rice noodles, about 80 g
  • 1 cup roughly torn basil and mint leaves
  • Garnishes — green onions, cilantro, lime wedges, Thai basil leaves and mint leaves, thinly sliced Thai bird chilies or dried red pepper flakes, fresh bean sprouts


Turn slow cooker to high. Remove skin from chicken if you like. Leaving it on will give flavor.

Leave pieces whole so they don’t overcook. Add broth to slow cooker along with fish sauce, sugar, ginger, star anise, cinnamon and dried pepper flakes. Add onions, separating into rings as you add. Submerge chicken, bone-side up, in broth as best you can.

Cover and cook four hours on high for bone-in chicken or three hours for boneless. Then remove chicken to a bowl. Break noodles in half (they should loosely fill a 4 cup  measuring cup). Add to simmering soup, separating as you add. Cover and cook until softened, 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the noodle. Stir occasionally to keep separated.

Meanwhile, shred or slice chicken into bite-size strips, discarding any skin and bones. When noodles are almost done, fish the cinnamon sticks, ginger slices and star anise from soup and discard. You can leave them in if you like. Stir chicken back into the soup. Just before serving stir in the basil and mint. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with green onions and cilantro. Soup will keep well in refrigerator at least 3 days.

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