Vietnamese Soup in a Teapot


Encourage kids to assemble their own meal at the table by presenting the aromatic broth, noodles, vegetables, and garnishes for this flavorful soup from Laurie David's "The Family Dinner" cookbook in individual serving bowls. Photo credit: Maryellen Baker


  • 8 ounces flat rice noodles or cooked angel hair pasta

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 onion, halved

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled

  • 2 whole star anise

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 bunch fresh leafy herbs such as mint, basil, Thai basil, or cilantro

  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

  • 2 tablespoons sliced scallions

  • 2 medium carrots, grated

  • 1 fresh red or green chile, very thinly sliced

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced or 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, plus more for serving

  • Juice of 1/2 lime

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Asian chile sauce

  • Hoisin sauce


  1. If using rice noodles, place in hot water to soak; soak for 15 minutes and drain; set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, and brown sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add chicken and simmer until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully skim surface of any impurities and discard. Remove chicken from liquid and cut into bite-size pieces; set aside, reserving liquid.

  3. If using rice noodles, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer noodles or pasta to a large serving bowl; toss with vegetable oil and set aside.

  4. Fill a glass halfway with water and arrange herbs like a flower arrangement; set aside. Place bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, chile, lime wedges, and shallots each in individual small serving bowls. Set aside.

  5. Return chicken cooking liquid to a simmer; stir in fish sauce and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Strain broth into a teapot and keep any remaining broth heated on the stove. Fill serving bowls as desired with chicken, noodles, herbs, bean sprouts, scallions, carrots, lime wedges, and shallots; add hot broth and garnish as desired with fish sauce, chile sauce, and hoisin sauce. Serve immediately.

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