Stay Fresh

December 14, 2010

Towards the end of last week, I picked up some fresh rice noodles from a Vietnamese grocer on Victoria Street. I was very excited to come upon them, as every time I go out for Pho I adore the beautiful, slippery noodles. For years I have been buying the dried rice noodles, which re-hydrate to some extent in water but are never as texturally pleasing as fresh noodles. Now I don’t think I can ever go back to dried, fresh is best!

On Saturday night I decided to make a chicken soup and add some fresh rice noodles. They were beautiful in the soup – perfectly soft and slippery, just as they should be. This soup helped me Stay Fresh after an absolutely fabulous, fun and delicious work Christmas lunch – which involved a few glasses of wine, naturally.

I used the same stock recipe for the soup as I used in this post, however I added a few slices of fresh ginger. After draining the stock, I added in fresh carrot, celery and peas along with some chicken breast. I poached the chicken until cooked through, then removed it and once cooled, shredded it.

The chicken was a little tough, which I am thinking was because we used breast. Next time we’ll use thigh meat, or perhaps put in a whole chicken and use the leftover meat for sandwiches. Pray tell, what part of the bird do you use when making chicken soup?

Just before serving I added some chopped spinach to the soup and let it wilt slightly, as well as the shredded chicken. Once served into bowls I topped it with spring onion, matchsticks of fresh ginger and a generous dollop of chilli garlic sauce.

This soup was really delicious, despite the tough meat. The noodles were just delightful. I feel like a whole world of noodley possibilities has opened up to me, now that I have discovered fresh rice noodles. I find the flavour and texture are far superior than dried rice noodles. Sorry, dried noodles…it’s true.

Heidi xo
  • blushingstrawberries December 15, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I adore fresh noodles!! Which part of Victoria St was this store?

    As for chicken, it's taken me a while but I've perfected poaching technique for breast. You can see it here:


  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

    I am such a HUGE fan of rice noodles! I just love their texture 🙂

  • Heidi December 15, 2010 at 7:53 am

    blushingstrawberries – fantastic, thank you so much!! I will follow your tips next time. Your dish looks delicious with the olives, yum! I can't recall the exact store location, but we had just had pho for lunch, so it was near Pho Dzung Tan Dinh which is 208 Victoria St 🙂

    Lisa – The texture is the best part! They're so delicious. Perfect for slurping!

    Heidi xo

  • Leah December 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Oh i love fresh rice noodles. I have been buying them from the supermarket for a while now, they are an addiction! I make a wicked peanut noodle satay, with loads of veges and prawns.
    For the chicken you could use thights with bones in, they make a tastier chicken broth, but you have to then refrigerate the stock so you can then take most of the fat off the surface. Much easier than skimming.

  • Kath December 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Delightful! (I'm a BIG friend of Asian soups. :D)

    I always use chicken breast filet (a whole chicen would be too much just for me), but I cut it into bigger pieces and then it doesn't get dry. Your pieces look very tiny. 😉

  • Iron Chef Shellie December 15, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I love fresh rice noodles! I should have them again soon, it's been too long!

    I have to catch up on all your posts, I've been too busy to read blogs! x

  • Heidi December 15, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Leah – your satay sounds delicious! thanks for the freezing tip, that would make it a lot easier! I like the idea of thigh with bones.

    Kath – Asian soups are the bomb! They are tiny, but I did add a whole fillet to cook it – I shredded it after it was cooked 😉

    Michele – I know, it is easy to get behind when you're busy! This time of year, I tell ya! It's Crazy!

    Heidi xo

  • Hannah December 15, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    That looks like the perfect meal for our current summer weather where it's meant to be hot but is rainy half the time! I always used to use the dried vermicelli or refrigerated rice noodles for Pho- clearly I need to shop at an Asian grocery instead!

  • littleaspects December 15, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Mmm – fresh rice noodles are the best! I'm craving pho now!! Your soup looks amazing!

  • Michelle Chin December 15, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    My sister prefer using dried rice noodles over fresh ones. She says that the fresh ones have a weird kinda smell. I also prefer dried ones. Somehow it is thinner. The fresh ones are thicker. Maybe that's just us.

  • Heidi December 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Hannah – yes, it is not quite the picturesque summer…yet – here's hoping!

    littleaspects – thanks, it was delicious 🙂

    Michelle – yes, I always find the fresher ones thicker and dried ones thinner. To each their own 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • Agnes December 15, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I agree that fresh noodles are tons better than dried for soup! And I like to use thigh meat for chicken soup 🙂

  • The InTolerant Chef December 15, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Yummy fresh noodles and their slippery slurpiness! I never use breast meat, it does tend to go tough and stringy.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 15, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    I love the fresh noodles too! They transform so quickly and I find it easier to get a nice char on them too 🙂

  • Anna Johnston December 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Oh yes….. me too. I just love fresh noodles but it isn't often you can come across them. I usually buy the fresh (in a pkt) ones which if they aren't too old & stick together and almost impossible to reconstitute then they're still much better than dried rice noodles. Lucky you finding this place…., sounds like you'll have noodles on tap now.

  • Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets December 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Fresh noodles are the best! I'm lucky enough to live in a diverse metropolitan area with plenty of Asian stores selling fresh noodles. Yum.

  • Heidi December 17, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Agnes – I can't wait to try it again with thigh!

    InTolerant Chef – slippery slurpiness – couldn't have put it better myself 🙂

    Lorraine – oooh the stirfry possibilities!!

    Anna – they're fabulous, I'm so happy I have found them!

    Xiaolu – I wish I loved closer to good Asian grocers, but it is so worth the drive 😉

    Heidi xo

  • hollypop December 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm

    fresh is best! guess who just ate the best fresh rice noodles in thailand today? om om om. xx

  • Heidi December 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    oh my goodness I can only imagine!! I hope you took photos 🙂
    Heidi xo