If you’re not seeing a lot of sotanghon (vermicelli noodles) in the photo above, well, I have a tendency to use more meat (or seafood) and vegetables in noodle dishes. It’s the same when I cookChinese-style fried rice. That’s why my daughters often say, I cookwhere’s the rice fried rice.
The thing is, when you use more meat or seafood, or both, and vegetables than noodles or rice, the dish becomes a full meal. And that means less work for the cook and the dishwasher. Less stored heat in the house too since the stove is on for a shorter time.
Annatto powder is available in Asian groceries. If you don’t have access to it, you will need to use annatto seeds. Just heat in oil until they have rendered color, scoop out and discard. If tinting the broth is something you find unnecessary, dispense with the annatto altogether.
If you don’t have chicken bone broth, you will have to start making this dish by making broth. Saute onion and garlic, add bone-in chicken thighs instead of fillets, pour in water and simmer until the chicken is done and you have broth.
Chicken sotanghon (vermicelli) soup
- 100 grams sotanghon - vermicelli
- 2 to 3 dried wood ear mushrooms - trimmed and sliced
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- ½ teaspoon annatto powder
- 2 chicken thigh fillets - skin on because fat is flavor
- 3 to 4 cups chicken bone broth
- fish sauce - to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced white cabbage
- ½ cup julienned carrot
- thinly sliced scallions - to garnish
- fried garlic - to garnish
- Soak the sotanghon and wood ear mushrooms in hot water in separate bowls.
- Stir the annatto powder and oil, and pour into a sauce pan, and turn on the heat.
- Lay the chicken fillets, skin side down, in the oil and cook medium-high heat for a minute or two to render fat from the skin. Flip and cook for another minute.
- Pour in the broth. Season with fish sauce and pepper.
- Bring to the boil.
- Dump the cabbage and carrot into the pan.
- Drain the sotanghon and add to the vegetables in the pan.
- Drain the wood ear mushrooms, trim, slice and add to the sotanghon and vegetables.
- Simmer everything together for five minutes.
- Taste the broth and add more patis, if needed.
- Scoop out the chicken and move to a cutting board.
- Cut the chicken into strips and put back in the pan.
- Simmer the chicken sotanghon soup for another five to seven minutes.
- To serve, ladle the chicken sotanghon soup into bowls and sprinkle with sliced scallions and fried garlic.