Miến gà, or Vietnamese chicken and glass noodle soup, is comfort in a bowl. I love this noodle soup because it comes together fairly quickly compared to other Vietnamese noodle soups. Not only do the noodles cook super quickly, but using a whole chicken creates a flavorful broth without having to simmer any bones for hours at a time.
My dad used to cook this dish for me all the time as a kid, especially if I wasn't feeling well. I'm sure it was because it is easy to make and doesn't take as long as pho, but it still always felt special. That's why this dish is a go-to for me during the colder months!
Use this dish as a jumping off point to make it your own. You can use chicken pieces, like breasts or thighs, to scale down the recipe, or use a different meat all together, like pork riblets. You can use store bought chicken broth to fortify the soup as well. There are many types of miến soups in Vietnam, so the possibilities are vast.
You will need:
- 1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs
- 8-10 cups (2-2.5 liters) of water (you can replace some of the water with store bought chicken broth)
- 1 small shallot or half an onion (you don't have to be precise, this is just an aromatic for the broth)
- 1 knob of ginger, about an inch long (another aromatic)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon msg (optional)
- 1 package Vietnamese glass noodles (cellophane noodles, mung bean noodles, bean thread noodles, miến)
- Chopped cilantro and scallions to taste
- Crispy fried shallots to taste
Miến is also labeled cellophane noodles, mung bean noodles/threads, bean threads or bean thread noodles. They are very fine, and when cooked they are slightly translucent rather than an opaque white like vermicelli noodles are. At the grocery stores near me, they often come in this packaging with hot pink mesh.
If you're buying something labeled cellophane noodles, you'll want to double check that they are made with mung bean starch. There is a Korean type of cellophane noodle made with sweet potato starch, and it has a different texture and won't taste right for miến gà.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add a peeled onion or shallot, ginger and the whole chicken. Cook for about 45 minutes at a light simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a thermometer, you can cook the chicken until the juices run clear when you pierce it with a skewer. Skim any scum that may rise to the top of the broth while the chicken is cooking.
Once the chicken is cooked, take it out and let it rest for 20-30 minutes so the meat can cool down and the skin can dry out a little bit. Remove the onion and ginger and season the broth in the meantime with salt, fish sauce, msg and a handful of fried shallots. If you used store bought chicken broth, you may need less fish sauce and salt than the recipe calls for.
Once the chicken has cooled, shred it by hand.
To cook the noodles, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add a bundle of glass noodles to soak for 10-15 minutes. Some like to eat these noodles al dente but I prefer them super soft. Check on the texture of your noodles as they soak to get the consistency you want.
To assemble a bowl, drain the noodles and add them to a bowl. Top with pieces of chicken, chopped cilantro, chopped scallion and more fried scallions. Ladle hot broth over the noodles and serve!
💭 Tips and substitutions
Using a whole chicken with bones will make the broth more flavorful. If you have leftover bits in the freezer (wings, giblets, etc) feel free to toss them in too. You can use individual pieces of chicken to make less soup, but I wouldn't recommend going boneless or skinless.
You can replace some of the water with chicken broth to make the broth more flavorful if you are using less chicken. You'll need to scale back on salt and fish sauce depending on how salty your broth is.
Miến gà is very similar to a dish using regular pasta. If you can't find the noodles, cook this and spoon over elbow macaroni for an equally delicious soup.
🍚 Serving suggestions
Instead of shredding the whole chicken, you can chop it up into small pieces. I don't have a cleaver that will cut through bone so I prefer to shred it.
Miến gà is often served with a salad made with some of the shreeded chicken. Make this Vietnamese Chicken Salad (Gà Bóp) and serve it alongside the noodle bowls for a nice bright accompaniment.
🥡 How to store or make in advance
You can freeze the broth and chicken separately after making it. It will keep fresh for about 6 months.
As with most soups, this will taste better after reheating the next day. So you can make it a day in advance.
👪 Serving size
One three pound chicken will make 5-8 bowls depending on how big you make them. I like to add about 3-4 oz of noodles for every bowl, but it's completely up to you.
Vietnamese Chicken And Glass Noodle Soup (Miến Gà)
- 1 whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs (1 ½ to 2 kg)
- 8-10 cups water about 2 liters
- 1 small shallot or half an onion
- 1 knob ginger, about an inch long
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon msg optional
- 1 9.6 oz package Vietnamese glass noodles cellophane noodles, mung bean noodles, bean thread noodles, miến)
- chopped cilantro and scallion for garnish/to taste
- crispy fried shallots to taste
For the broth
- Bring a pot of water or chicken broth to a boil and add a peeled onion or shallot, ginger and the whole chicken. Cook for about 45 minutes at a light simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the thickest part of the thigh reads 165° Fahrenheit or the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced.
- Once the chicken is cooked, take it out and let it rest for 20-30 minutes so the meat can cool down and the skin can dry out.
- Meanwhile, remove the onion and ginger and season the broth salt, fish sauce, msg and a handful of fried shallots. If you used store bought chicken broth, you may need less fish sauce and salt than the recipe calls for.
- Shred the chicken once it is cooled.
For the noodles
- To cook the noodles, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add a bundle of glass noodles to soak for 10-15 minutes. Soak longer for extra soft noodles.
- To assemble a bowl, drain the noodles and add them to a bowl. Top with pieces of chicken, chopped cilantro, chopped scallion and more fried scallions before ladling boiling hot broth on top.
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