Friday, March 6, 2015

Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Andy made a comment this weekend that I've been stepping up my cooking game since I started blogging and it made me smile.  Of course I asked what he meant by that since I don't think I'm cooking any differently now.  He said the presentation is nicer.  Nice save, Andy ;)

In all fairness he's probably right.  I have always loved to cook but now I put more thought into making each step beautiful rather than just getting through it.  I think this recipe falls under the A-game category, since I've never made anything like it, there are a fair amount of steps (adding in then taking out, etc), lots of chopping and layers of extras and necessary garnishes.

Again, thanks to my foodie friend Linda for sharing this recipe with me (she also introduced me to a version of this recipe).  This recipe was out of my comfort zone and it was a challenge to use unfamiliar ingredients but I had a fun time making this soup last Sunday and I'm very pleased with how yummy it turned out!

My first star anise and cinnamon stick experience...

Ever the carrot lover, I added as thinly sliced carrots as I could manage by hand. (My former NYC roommate made me afraid of mandoline slicers!)

Perfectly medium-rare pork tenderloin...

I mistakenly used 2 jalapenos without removing any seeds and it was way, way too hot for me - you've been warned!

Ah, the final, action-packed, slurpy, soul-warming bowl of noodles...yum, yum, yum!

Vietnamese Noodle Soup


Rice noodles
3/4 to 1 lb pork tenderloin
1 large onion halved, outside layer peeled away
1 4-inch piece of ginger, washed, unpeeled and halved
4 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c water
5 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp miso paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 to 3 carrots, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 c shittake mushrooms
1/2 c fresh cilantro
4 scallions
1 c fresh bean sprouts (not pictured because they were out at the store, boo!)
1 lime wedge per person

*By the way, this is one recipe where I found it made more sense to prep the last 7 ingredients after I started, although they were all washed and drying before I started.  I also separated the ingredients on the ingredients list with dashes because this is how I group them in my head as I'm preparing any recipe and I think it is helpful and less daunting this way!


Place a large pot over high heat.  Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until charred but still rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate.  Add the onion and ginger to the pot, the fleshy inside down, cook about 4 minutes.  Add the broth and water, the star anise and cinnamon, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 to 25 minutes.  I added a pinch of salt here, you don't have to.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions, carrots and jalapeno (remove seeds for less heat) and tear the cilantro.  Keep the cilantro and scallions separate.  Halve or quarter any mushrooms that are larger than bite size.  Thinly slice the meat against the grain.

Add the miso paste, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce to the broth and boil 5 minutes, then turn the burner off.  Discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick.  Remove and slice the onion.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, add your carrots, jalapeno, mushrooms, sliced onion and sliced tenderloin in together.  Pour hot (shouldn't be boiling at this point) broth over top of the vegetables and meat.  No need to turn the burner on as the residual heat will do the cooking, bringing your medium-rare tenderloin slices across the finish line while maintaining the perfect juicy texture, and softening the veggies a bit.

Prepare the rice noodles as the label directs and distribute cooked noodles into bowls.  Load up each bowl with broth, meat and veggies from the pot.  Top with cilantro, scallions and beans sprouts, then squeeze a wedge of lime over top and you have yourself a warm bowl of soup, bursting with flavors and textures!

Now, I challenge you to take a step out of your comfort zone and try a new recipe next time you're brainstorming your next meal to prepare.  Take a photo of your creation and tag me on instagram @charlielbl

Good luck!


  1. Looks delicious!

  2. That looks so delicious! :O Seeing Rosie's latest post on thelondoner and now your post makes me wanna cook some delicious soup tomorrow for lunch :)
    Thanks for sharing! Recipe is saved :D

    1. Thanks Livia - you should totally do it soon! Yummy and healthy :) Tag me on Instagram if you do, I'd love to see how it turns out! @charlielbl


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