Catching Up with @FFwDorie – Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Sauce

Food tragedies come in many forms.  Ingredients can be so elusive they are never found.  The soufflé stays flat and undercooked.  Favorite restaurants close.  Sometimes we need to accept these facts, make the best of what we have or know, and move on.


Despite being a vegetable that grows in all the different US Hardiness Zones, rhubarb is not readily available in the Caribbean.  I’ve never tried it, but wish I had based on what I’ve read about it (and the onslaught of strawberry rhubarb goodies popping all over the food blogosphere).   This week, instead of joining the French Fridays with Dorie crowd in their roasted rhubarb experience, I decided to play catch-up with one of the recipes completed before I joined the group – the spicy Vietnamese chicken noodle soup.  Dorie Greenspan’s award winning Around My French Table is a book that doesn’t shy away from modern influences in French cooking, as you can tell by this and last week’s rib recipes. 

A couple of months ago, our favorite Thai restaurant in Condado closed.  At the time, I focused most of my energies in recreating their red curry dishes but forgot to give the Tom Ka Gai soup a shot.  While reading the recipe for the Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle soup, I couldn’t help but compare it to the flavors in the Thai Tom Ka Gai.  The AMFT version is closer to a pho because the base is chicken stock, accented by coconut milk.  Tom Ka Gai – based on our experiences at Thai restaurants – has a higher ratio of coconut milk, but is also combined with lemongrass, lime juice, galangal or ginger, chicken, basil and lots of cilantro.  We used a wider rice noodle than the suggested vermicelli, and topped the soup with fresh basil and cilantro and generous squirts of sriracha.

This recipe is a keeper for us – we loved the bright flavors and poached chicken, despite of the summer humidity and heat.  Next time I might cut back on some of the chicken stock to try to achieve the richer texture of the Tom Ka Gai.

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

23 Responses to “Catching Up with @FFwDorie – Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Sauce”

  1. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite
    June 17, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    I am so glad you made this recipe this week – it’s one of my favourites from the FFWD ones. I *did* make the rhubarb and was not convinced….

  2. Cher
    June 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    FFwD did this recipe before I joined too. I love that you went back and did this one. I haven’t worked myself up to it yet!It sounds like this one has your endorsement. It looks lovely.

  3. Anne-Marie
    June 17, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I’m sorry you cannot experience rhubarb! We are plagued–I mean blessed–with a lot of it in the Midwest. I hope you’ll experience it some day in a pie or in this lovely little sauce from Dorie. In the meantime, your soup looks fabulous. You’ve inspired me to try it!

  4. Dessert By Candy
    June 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I’m glad you found another keeper in AMFT despite not getting your hands on some rhubarb! This is a recipe I have yet to attempt but your gorgeous picture makes a convincing argument. 🙂

  5. Margaret
    June 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    This was good wasn’t it. I still have some in the freezer waiting for just the right cool day. Course it is SUMMER here and hot, but it will wait!!

  6. Kathy
    June 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    Adriana, Your soup looks spectacular! I’m sorry you could not join in with this recipe! I grow rhubarb in my yard because a few years back I couldn’t find it in my grocery! I wish I could send you some. Love your photo! Have a great week-end!

  7. rosa
    June 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Sorry to hear that you couldn’t try the rhubarb, but I’m sure there are lots of other yummy treats which you have access to in the Caribbean, and which the rest of us can only dream about. The Vietnamese Soup is on my catch up list as well. Yours certainly looks very tasty.

  8. yummychunklet
    June 17, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Great alternative ffwD recipe post! I admit, this is the one recipe I skipped. It just wasn’t in the cards, nor does it seem like it will be for me. Yours turned out delicious looking!

  9. kathleen
    June 17, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    The soup looks very appetizing! I will have to try it since I joined after this recipe, too. I did not do the rhubarb this week as well, didn’t get the time because I was a few days late on making the ribs for nephew’s birthday on Sunday. Can’t wait for next weeks recipe. I love Thai food (guess I love all food) and I am glad to see this recipe is part of AMFT.

  10. Jeff
    June 17, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Wow this looks good! Nothing seems to taste as good as Vietnamese soup, especially when i’m sick. Good job!

  11. tricia s.
    June 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    After reading your post I am now reconsidering playing with the rhubarb again and may instead try this recipe 🙂 Actually Nana is already on the hunt for more rhubarb – has been to 5 stores today since the visiting teenager is coming back and she has promised to make it for us. So for now, we are experiencing the rhubarb tragedies as your described ! I am surprised at how much my curiousity has remained peaked about this ingredient and from some of the amazing recipes I have seen posted, I now need to go back and try more. Right after I find more rhubarb. And make your soup 🙂

  12. Elaine
    June 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

    It is a good week to play catch up. Your soup looks so good and it brings back memories of when the group made this. I like these recipes where we learn about the influences on French cuisine.

  13. Liz
    June 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    You picked an excellent recipe to try due to your lack of rhubarb…I want to make this soup again soon…SO good!

  14. Cakelaw
    June 18, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Your soup looks really good. I enjoyed this one too.

  15. kitchenarian
    June 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Good for you for posting a Dorie recipe anyway. This recipe must have been featured before I joined the group. Thanks for sharing it.

  16. Betsy
    June 18, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Sorry you couldn’t find any rhubarb. This was quite tasty and tart. You made a good choice trying the soup. I forgot how good that one is. I’ll have to make it again. So many recipes, and so little time!

  17. Patty
    June 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I would like to try this recipe as well, it’s definitely on my to make list.Sorry you couldn’t find any rhubarb for this week but you came up with a beautiful contribution to FFWD with your lovely soup;-)

  18. Maya@Foodiva's Kitchen
    June 19, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I couldn’t find any fresh rhubarb either but I desperately used canned ones then realized I couldn’t roast them! But I definitely like your idea of reverting back to a past FFWD recipe, and next time I can’t find a key ingredient, I think I’ll do the same!

    June 19, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Looks like you and I had no choice, but to ditch FFwD this week. 🙂 I need to go and look at this Vietnamese soup in her book…it looks so good!

  20. sanya
    June 19, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    The Spicy Vietnamese dish was before my time with the group as well! You’ve inspired me to go back to it and give it a shot!(My son just watched the latest pirates of the caribbean movie and he is totally obsessed with the word, the place, everything about the caribbean! it’s all he’s talked about for weeks now!)

  21. Maria
    June 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    so glad you made this! I also have to play catch up with my FFwD recipes. but I feel you about the rhubarb. I didn’t know what that was until a couple of years ago since we don’t grow eating this in P.R. It sure looks delicious though 🙂 By the way, your soup looks delicious.

  22. Teresa
    June 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder of this lovely soup. It’s probably time to make it again – a favourite for both my partner and me.It’s great that you used this week as a catch-up opportunity. A few people had trouble finding rhubarb in their regions and for some, it’s totally out of season. Just one of the challenges for a global cooking club, I guess.

  23. Karla
    June 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Oh, your soup looks delicious! I remember loving this too – I’ll get back to it in the fall again, I think! Glad you liked it!

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