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Spicy Vietnamese Soup

SoupAddict is really, really, really ready for official soup season to begin.

SoupAddict knows what you’re thinking: How can someone named SoupAddict not eat soup all year ’round?

[Leans in]  Well, let SoupAddict tell you how.

It was hot this summer, People.


SoupAddict rarely ventured outside, except to make sure the irrigation lines were working and to pick the occasional vegetable or herb. Even though SoupAddict has substantial gardens, weeding wasn’t necessary: it was too hot for even the weeds. SoupAddict and air conditioning were BFFs.

Just thinking about consuming hot liquids made SoupAddict’s brain go gooshy. So, she went the soupless, iced-coffee route, June through September, when more days than not, it was over 90° and extremely humid.

Pity poor SoupAddict. She was hot and soupless all summer long.

Until now. October kicked summer out on its butt, and soup is back on the menu. For today’s edition of French Fridays with Dorie, we have Spicy Vietnamese Soup, a nice, simple chicken soup with Asian leanings. SoupAddict is a veteran of many, many chicken soups, and took several shortcuts to make this a one-pot deal. The effort was a relaxing return to a familiar and beloved cooking routine. Viva La Soup!

SoupAddict was really excited to use star anise (center — you know, the star-shaped things), which she rarely remembers she even has. She was also happy to use her home-grown cilantro, lemon grass and coriander seeds (lower right). Per Dorie’s suggestion, SoupAddict made the curry version of this soup. SoupAddict highly recommends it. Which is why Dorie suggested it. Because Dorie is really smart. Not because SoupAddict recommended it. Dorie doesn’t know from SoupAddict, even though SoupAddict still talks to Dorie’s picture as though she does.

(Which, by the way, SoupAddict will deny admitting to that if ever asked. And there will be no proof because this is the interwebs, and the interwebs is safe and private, and information never falls into the hands of people who will use it against you. Like the picture of the shrimp tree incident at the open-bar office xmas party. No, sirreee. Safe as houses.)

SoupAddict has a large collection of dried peppers, so she grabbed a cascabel instead of the regular ole chili pepper called for in the recipe. If she had been more on the ball (it’s a given, of course, that she wasn’t), she would’ve forgone the pepper and instead used these awesome chili threads, which she recently purchased and utterly adores, as a soup topper.

SoupAddict was stunned at how difficult it was to find appropriate noodles for this soup. Cincinnati isn’t necessarily a food metropolis, but most everything can be found. Only Fresh Market had the right noodles, and the lone package was misshelved and unpriced, even in the store’s computer system.

Cilantro and lime — SoupAddict’s very favorite flavor combination. It’s true. As she’s said elsewhere on this site, SoupAddict would bet today’s paycheck that lime grows on cilantro plants, so companionable they are, if it weren’t for the fact that she grows a lot of cilantro and never once has a lime been produced from the effort.

SoupAddict has enjoyed this soup every day at lunch this week, making her grateful that she’s never sought help for her one and only vice. (Yes, one. And only. Don’t make that scrunchy face at SoupAddict. She only tells the truth.)

(As far as you know.)

This post is participating in French Fridays with Dorie, a blogging project where we cook our way each week through the recipes in Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Around My French Table. Given the book’s newborn status, we’ve been requested to not post the recipe. SoupAddict hopes that you’ll understand and will perhaps be inspired to either buy the book or seek out a recipe of a similar nature to try on your own.

Michelle Akers

Friday 18th of January 2019

Maybe I'm losing my mind, but I can't find the actual recipe on this page.


Tuesday 22nd of January 2019

You're not losing your mind -- this is a very old post, from when I was part of a cookbook club. Our group of 50 or so would cook the same recipe, write about it, but only 2 people from the group would post the actual recipe (out of respect for the author). This was practically before food blogs were even an official thing, lol. I'm working on cleaning things up on this blog, but I haven't quite worked my way back to 2010 yet! I'm sure if you google "spicy vietnamese soup dorie greenspan," the recipe is now out there. Just stay away from posts dated in 2010, because those are probably from the group and won't have the recipe :)

Cherry Hanz

Saturday 6th of November 2010

Where, oh where, can we get this cookbook? I am already salivating!! Gorgeous pics and tantalizing descriptions. I also think lime and cilantro are the BEST. Congrats on being fresh pressed.


Saturday 6th of November 2010

Thanks so much! I bought the book on Amazon, but it should be available in-store at most booksellers. I really love this book - gorgeous photographs and delightful side stories make it a treat to read as well as cook from. But then, I love cookbooks!


Friday 5th of November 2010

I don't get it. How do you make this soup without a recipe?

Grace Chung

Friday 5th of November 2010

Sounds so yum. Now, next shopping trip...

Margaret Shock

Friday 29th of October 2010

This looks so delightful!! I need to make this..I am also wanting some Vietnamese Pho soup, I found a location of a Pho restaurant close to my house that I will soon pay a visit. Today, while attending physical therapy, I noticed their lunch cafe's soup of the day was Chicken with dumplings, well, I could not pass that up, it was my mid-morning snack today and homemade bean soup was my lunch. I'm going to make potato soup either today or tomorrow so my soup love is in full force. It always is but you're right, it was so unbearably hot this summer, even I didn't want to eat soup on those days and now that it is getting colder, well, my addiction to the stuff is stronger. I know I should probably bring this issue up to my therapist but soup is one of the simple pleasures in this life that brings me such joy, I'm not giving it care my soup friend,