Introducing Mì Quàng Gà, an incredible noodles and chicken dish from Vietnam! Chili, garlic and lemongrass marinated chicken, vermicelli rice noodles, intensely flavorful turmeric broth and a crunchy fresh topping of herbs and peanuts.
This delightful signature dish of Hoi An is easy enough for weeknight dinner and is also great for gatherings. Serve it in big bowls and put out a basket of toppings for everyone to help themselves!
Mì Quảng is a Vietnamese noodles dish that typically features thick rice noodles, pork, shrimp, beef, fish or chicken (Ga), a small amount of extremely flavorful broth, and a variety of toppings such as fresh herbs and salad greens, hard-boiled eggs, and roasted peanuts. Turmeric is used for flavor and to give the broth and noodles their signature yellow color.
I learned how to make Mì Quàng Gà at a cooking class in Hoi An, which is in the region of Vietnam where this dish originated. When my husband Eddie and I sat down and sampled the creation we had just cooked, Eddie's first words were: "I would be very happy to eat this on a regular basis!" Exactly what I was thinking!
What impressed me so much about mi quang ga, in addition to its tantalizing flavors, was how quickly and easily it all came together. Fifteen minutes for slicing and dicing, ten minutes to marinate the chicken. Then once you turn on the heat under your pot, fifteen minutes later you are slurping velvety noodles and tender chicken in rich spicy broth.
Vietnamese Noodles with Chicken in Turmeric Broth
Upon further research I discovered that there are as many different ways to make this dish as there are cooks. And while there are lots of delicious-looking authentic Mì Quàng recipes online, many of them take upwards of an hour and a half to prepare, like this one which has a complex shrimp and pork broth and this one which starts with a whole chicken and has quite an involved series of steps.
Clearly, our Hoi An cooking teacher wanted us to learn an easy version of this amazing signature dish of the region. You may like to delve into some of the more complex Mi Quang recipes at some point, but I hope you'll give this simpler Mì Quàng Gà recipe a try - it is quick, authentic and it tastes great!
Ingredients for Mì Quàng Gà
Here's what you'll need to make this dish. It may seem like a long list, but I think you'll find you already have many of these ingredients in your fridge or pantry.
For the Broth
- Chinese five spice powder - This spice mix is a culinary marvel because it combines five spices - fennel, clove, star anise, cinnamon and Sichuan (or white) peppercorn - that embody the five fundamental tastes: sweet, savory, bitter, sour, and umami. It's a popular cooking ingredient in Vietnam and across Asia.
- Lemongrass - imparts wonderful lemon flavor and other subtle, aromatic flavors. The tough stalk requires peeling, pounding and chopping but it's a worthwhile effort to unleash a unique and marvelous flavor.
- Garlic and shallot - aromatics for marinating the chicken and flavoring the broth
- Small red chili - small, thin red chilies are fiery. The red chili in this dish acts as the thermostat. To turn up the heat, add the whole chili with seeds and all. For less heat, remove the seeds and use half of the chili or a quarter.
- Salt, sugar, black pepper, turmeric - seasonings to flavor and color this dish
- Fish sauce - an essential ingredient in Vietnamese cooking. Surprisingly this doesn't add a fishy flavor; it adds a rich umami (meaty) flavor.
- Boneless skinless chicken breast
- Egg - to thicken the broth
- Yellow onion, tomatoes, scallions - fresh vegetables to enrich the texture and flavor of the broth.
For The Noodles
- Traditional noodles for this dish are thick yellow rice noodles called Quang Noodles. If you have access to an Asian grocer, look for the authentic noodles. Whether they are yellow in color or not, these thick rice noodles hold up well in the broth. If you can't find them, use any packaged wide rice noodles. Soak them for a minute less than the recommended time so they are al dente, as they'll soften more in the hot broth.
For The Toppings
- Herbs and greens such as cilantro, mint, Thai basil, baby lettuces and/or micro greens.
- Roasted peanuts for sprinkling on top
- Puffy Rice Crackers - for serving - traditional Vietnamese crackers served with Mi Quang are Banh Trang Me, puffy crackers with sesame seeds made from rice or tapioca flour. Look for them in Asian grocery stores or order them on Amazon. They look like thin stiff discs but put them in the microwave for a minute or so and they will magically puff up. If you order them, don't be surprised if the package arrives with lots of broken pieces (mine did). It doesn't matter because you want the crackers to be broken into smaller pieces anyway.
How to make Mì Quàng Gà
I suggest you have all of the ingredients sliced and diced and near your pot because once you start cooking this dish comes together fast.
- Marinate the chicken - combine the five spice powder, chopped lemongrass, shallot, garlic, chili, salt, sugar, black pepper and fish sauce in a bowl. Add the sliced chicken and toss to coat. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, you can use this time to wash and prep the herbs you'll use for your toppings.
- Heat oil in a heavy pot with a lid and sauté the chicken until it loses its pink color. Toss in the turmeric and then the egg and stir, to coat the chicken.
- Add water to the pot along with the chopped onion and sliced tomatoes. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chopped scallions.
Now that you have the spicy chicken broth, it's time to assemble the dish.
How to serve it
The traditional way to serve Mì Quàng is to place mixed fresh herbs into each bowl, add a portion of rice noodles and ladle the soup over the top, making sure to keep the level of the liquid just below the noodles. Serve with rice crackers on the side.
But, as we learned in our Hoi An cooking class, every cook has their own unique way to prepare and serve this Vietnamese noodles dish. Presenting the toppings on the side is definitely a great option. It's festive and gives everyone a chance to choose what they like from the pile.
Some of my best recipes have been discovered while traveling and they're often dishes I might never think to try like Turkish Manti, authentic Moroccan Meatballs, Costa Rican Patacones, just to name a few.
Mì Quàng Gà was one of my favorite dishes while traveling in Vietnam and it's such a treat to be able to cook it at home. I look forward to hearing what you think about this recipe! If you make it, I hope you'll report back and leave a star rating and a review in the comments section.Print