I always love getting involved in cookery challenges here at The Madhouse so when Owen Potts offered to send us through all the ingredients we'd need to rustle up some Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, including their new Chicken Stock, I didn't give it a second's thought before saying yes. This is a recipe I've never tried before so I was going in blind, following the recipe to the letter and crossing fingers ! Here's the recipe they sent me to try out and all the lovely ingredients they had delivered :
Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup
An Asian classic, perfect for a healthy lunch or a lighter evening meal
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
- 70g rice noodles
- 500ml Owen Potts chicken stock
- 200g chicken breast, diced
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
- 2cm piece fresh root ginger, thickly sliced
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 150g beansprouts
- 200g pak choi, thickly sliced
- 4 salad onions, finely sliced
- ½ red chilli, deseeded and sliced
- Prepare the rice noodles as instructed on pack.
- Heat the Owen Potts chicken stock, spices, ginger and lemon grass in a large pan with roughly 300ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 15 mins.
- Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the spices, lemon grass and ginger and then stir in the fish sauce. (I couldn't believe that the chicken would cook properly in just a couple of minutes so I added it at a slightly earlier stage to be on the safe side.)
- Bring the soup base back to the boil. Stir in the prepared noodles and pak choi and simmer for 2 mins. (Ooops it was at this point that I realised they'd forgotten to send through the pak choi. I had a quick scoot around online and saw that I could replace it with any other green vegetable but the only thing I had at hand was frozen spinach which I decided wouldn't work ! I therefore just left out the pak choi, which explains why it looks a bit anaemic !)
- Add the chicken and beansprouts to the pan and cook for another minute. Divide between two large bowls.
- Top with the salad onions and chilli.
Sophie wanted to try some and even had a go (quite successfully !) with chopsticks. We had a giggle afterwards because quite by chance, she was wearing her Chinese symbol T-shirt (which I'm hoping says something nice, not some rude word in Chinese !).
The soup is really fragrant, light but filling and deceptively simple. The ready-made stock gives a much fuller, more delicate flavour than stock made with stock cubes and using fresh spices and other fragrant ingredients to infuse it with added depth of flavour (or "flavour bombs", as Laura Santtini calls them), is a fabulous basis for all sorts of soups, risotto and stir-fry dishes. I wasn't sure how well the chicken would cook just by being boiled in stock for a few minutes but it's a fantastic cooking technique, resulting in deliciously flavoured, soft, moist chicken with absolutely no added fat. Again definitely something I'll be exploring more. Sophie's already asked me if I can make this again and she helped with the cooking so - with some supervision from me - I'm pretty sure she could make it herself next time !
Owen Potts’ stocks are made using the very best, natural ingredients sourced from around the world. They are available at an RRP of £2.50 from Tesco. That may sound expensive but if you think of it as a jar of cooking sauce and consider the really lovely flavour and the sheer convenience, I think it's well worth it, particularly for a special meal or dinner party.
for more information : http://www.pottspartnership.co.uk/products/stocks/index.html
Other reviews you may be interested in :