Viet Chicken Broth with Grilled Soy Chicken and Sticky Rice

This was billed as a restorative meal after a heavy weekend. There was some frozen chicken stock that I’d made using the usual suspects (onion, carrot, celery, parsley, bay leaf) and which I had wanted to make rather more eastern in flavour from the start. However at the time I did not have star anise etc, and just used a cinnamon stick. This was no problem though, because I was able to render it more Vietnamese-tasting after I defrosted it, adding more spices and then allowing them to infuse over a low heat. 

This served four of us. 



Chicken stock made with chicken carcass, onion, celery, parsley, peppercorns and cinnamon stick. Skimmed and then strained. 

A few star anise

A few cloves

Coriander stems

Coriander seeds – about a teaspoon

Good glug of fish sauce

Dessertspoon of white sugar

-added to the broth:

a handful of sliced brown mushrooms

pak choi, leaves washed and separated

a few spring onions, chopped

1 red chilli, de-seeded (optional)

finely sliced garlic clove

½ lime

Big handful fresh bean sprouts and a few coriander leaves for serving.

How I made it:

Gently heat up the defrosted stock with all of the new spices and sugar and allow to infuse on a low heat for an hour or so. Then 10 mins before ready to eat the chicken (see below), remove the whole spices from the broth either using a sieve or a slotted spon and add sliced mushrooms, chilli and garlic and allowed to cook for a few minutes. Then just before eating the pak choi and spring onions. Check for seasoning and add enough fish sauce for a tasty, savoury flavour. Squeeze in the lime.

Serve with fish sauce on table if extra seasoning is needed, rather than soy. Despite the smell it really improves flavour as seasoning and does not taste fishy!

Grilled Chicken


Good quality chicken thighs and legs- skin on

Light soy sauce (stronger, deeper flavour than dark soy sauce)

Toasted sesame oil

How I made it:

Turn the grill on high. Toss the chicken in some soy and sesame oil.  Place under the grill, turn after about 8-10 minutes, baste every now and then. This should take about 20 minutes. The chicken should be moist and cooked through (if in doubt make an incision to the bone and check it is not still pink-looking)

Steamed Rice:

We had Japanese short grain rice cooked in a rice cooker.

Eaten with:

We each had a bowl of broth which we heaped some bean sprouts onto and a few coriander leaves, with a plate with steamed rice and grilled chicken. It worked well to remove the chicken from the bone and add it to the broth. As stated above fish sauce was used for additional seasoning when eating the broth. We had a Vietnamese/Thai smooth garlicky chilli sauce with the rice too. 


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