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Spicy Vietnamese Soup

October 14, 2010

SoupAddict is really, really, really ready for official soup season to begin.

SoupAddict knows what you’re thinking: How can someone named SoupAddict not eat soup all year ’round?

[Leans in]  Well, let SoupAddict tell you how.

It was hot this summer, People.


SoupAddict rarely ventured outside, except to make sure the irrigation lines were working and to pick the occasional vegetable or herb. Even though SoupAddict has substantial gardens, weeding wasn’t necessary: it was too hot for even the weeds. SoupAddict and air conditioning were BFFs.

Just thinking about consuming hot liquids made SoupAddict’s brain go gooshy. So, she went the soupless, iced-coffee route, June through September, when more days than not, it was over 90° and extremely humid.

Pity poor SoupAddict. She was hot and soupless all summer long.

Until now. October kicked summer out on its butt, and soup is back on the menu. For today’s edition of French Fridays with Dorie, we have Spicy Vietnamese Soup, a nice, simple chicken soup with Asian leanings. SoupAddict is a veteran of many, many chicken soups, and took several shortcuts to make this a one-pot deal. The effort was a relaxing return to a familiar and beloved cooking routine. Viva La Soup!
SoupAddict was really excited to use star anise (center — you know, the star-shaped things), which she rarely remembers she even has. She was also happy to use her home-grown cilantro, lemon grass and coriander seeds (lower right). Per Dorie’s suggestion, SoupAddict made the curry version of this soup. SoupAddict highly recommends it. Which is why Dorie suggested it. Because Dorie is really smart. Not because SoupAddict recommended it. Dorie doesn’t know from SoupAddict, even though SoupAddict still talks to Dorie’s picture as though she does.

(Which, by the way, SoupAddict will deny admitting to that if ever asked. And there will be no proof because this is the interwebs, and the interwebs is safe and private, and information never falls into the hands of people who will use it against you. Like the picture of the shrimp tree incident at the open-bar office xmas party. No, sirreee. Safe as houses.)

SoupAddict has a large collection of dried peppers, so she grabbed a cascabel instead of the regular ole chili pepper called for in the recipe. If she had been more on the ball (it’s a given, of course, that she wasn’t), she would’ve forgone the pepper and instead used these awesome chili threads, which she recently purchased and utterly adores, as a soup topper.
SoupAddict was stunned at how difficult it was to find appropriate noodles for this soup. Cincinnati isn’t necessarily a food metropolis, but most everything can be found. Only Fresh Market had the right noodles, and the lone package was misshelved and unpriced, even in the store’s computer system.
Cilantro and lime — SoupAddict’s very favorite flavor combination. It’s true. As she’s said elsewhere on this site, SoupAddict would bet today’s paycheck that lime grows on cilantro plants, so companionable they are, if it weren’t for the fact that she grows a lot of cilantro and never once has a lime been produced from the effort.
SoupAddict has enjoyed this soup every day at lunch this week, making her grateful that she’s never sought help for her one and only vice. (Yes, one. And only. Don’t make that scrunchy face at SoupAddict. She only tells the truth.)

(As far as you know.)

This post is participating in French Fridays with Dorie, a blogging project where we cook our way each week through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table. Given the book’s newborn status, we’ve been requested to not post the recipe. SoupAddict hopes that you’ll understand and will perhaps be inspired to either buy the book or seek out a recipe of a similar nature to try on your own. Or better yet, join us on French Fridays with Dorie!
  1. Nick permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:16 am

    Lovely photos, as usual. Great writing, as usual.

    I served in Vietnam, and had some excellent/unusual food there, but never thought to ask for recipes.

  2. October 15, 2010 2:39 am

    i love your pictures and the up close and personal view of the ingredients.

  3. October 15, 2010 4:10 am

    Chilli threads … haven’t seen those before!

  4. October 15, 2010 6:48 am

    Gorgeous photos! I talk to Dorie too. But only when my children can’t hear me.

  5. October 15, 2010 9:54 am

    I was very curious as to what the soup addict would say about this recipe. You did not disappoint. Great post. Awesome pictures!
    And I only tell the truth (as far as you know. haha)

  6. October 15, 2010 10:07 am

    This was right up your alley. You make me laugh every time I read your posts. I want a Lime/cilantro tree!!!

  7. October 15, 2010 10:36 am

    Beautiful! After seeing your broth I wish I had made the curry version too but this was, as it was, already a stretch for me. Great post!
    Trevor Sis Boom

  8. October 15, 2010 12:04 pm

    Gorgeous photos! Where do you find chili threads? I made the curry version too and couldn’t imagine it any other way.

  9. October 15, 2010 5:38 pm

    Beautiful photos of your ingredients and the finished soup. I love the golden colour the curry adds. I made the ‘plain’ version, but loved it too.

  10. October 15, 2010 8:57 pm

    Gorgeous photos!

  11. October 15, 2010 9:28 pm

    Loved your post. Loved your photos. And, love your soup!

    P.S. Is there a 12-step program for soup addicts? 😉

  12. October 16, 2010 3:56 am

    Oh i love dat soup addict:-) has an excitn gardern!!
    The only thing i had from my garden were garlic chives:-)

    And me too so excited to use star anise, i agree how pretty it is!!

    YAY FOR FFwd and for the delicious soup season to begin.ok already begun, at soup addict!!

  13. October 29, 2010 1:00 pm

    This looks so delightful!! I need to make this..I am also wanting some Vietnamese Pho soup, I found a location of a Pho restaurant close to my house that I will soon pay a visit. Today, while attending physical therapy, I noticed their lunch cafe’s soup of the day was Chicken with dumplings, well, I could not pass that up, it was my mid-morning snack today and homemade bean soup was my lunch. I’m going to make potato soup either today or tomorrow so my soup love is in full force. It always is but you’re right, it was so unbearably hot this summer, even I didn’t want to eat soup on those days and now that it is getting colder, well, my addiction to the stuff is stronger. I know I should probably bring this issue up to my therapist but soup is one of the simple pleasures in this life that brings me such joy, I’m not giving it care my soup friend,


  14. Grace Chung permalink
    November 5, 2010 3:31 pm

    Sounds so yum. Now, next shopping trip…

  15. ErikZ permalink
    November 5, 2010 7:36 pm

    I don’t get it. How do you make this soup without a recipe?

  16. Cherry Hanz permalink
    November 6, 2010 2:10 pm

    Where, oh where, can we get this cookbook? I am already salivating!! Gorgeous pics and tantalizing descriptions. I also think lime and cilantro are the BEST. Congrats on being fresh pressed.

    • SoupAddict permalink
      November 6, 2010 4:36 pm

      Thanks so much! I bought the book on Amazon, but it should be available in-store at most booksellers. I really love this book – gorgeous photographs and delightful side stories make it a treat to read as well as cook from. But then, I love cookbooks!

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