The day had dipped into a chill after the storm passed. There was no other place I’d rather be than in my kitchen with a pot of my mom’s chicken sotanghon soup simmering on the stove. With Dennis immersed in his book in the couch. With Stanford curled up on the floor next to him. With Eponine crying in the background. With our parol twinkling in the porch and our Silvertip glowing in the corner next to the windows.

It had been raining all weekend, which I didn’t really mind. Fiddling around in the kitchen was a welcome change from the chaos of past weeks. A perfect pause to enjoy our new home without moving boxes and packing tape, without paint brushes and pruning shears.

The kitchen smelled of browned garlic and onions. It smelled of just cooked rice. I ladled the soup into bowls and sprinkled slivers of green onions and chicharron, the same way my mom serves it. Accompanied by a small dish of patis, of course.

I could hear the quiet crackle of chicharron in my soup. Like the quiet click of the rice cooker, it was music to my ears. Dinner’s served — it triumphantly declared! I wrapped my clammy hands around the bowl of hot soup to warm them. No other place I’d rather be, indeed.


Chicken Sotanghon Soup Recipe, makes 4 to 6 servings

3.5 ounces (100 grams) dried sotanghon or mung bean noodles
2 tablespoons achuete oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup julienned (cut into thin long, strips) carrot
1 cup julienned (cut into thin long, strips) green cabbage
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast, boiled and shredded
6 cups chicken or pork stock
2 tablespoons fish sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
green onions, thinly sliced

Soak sotanghon noodles in water for at least 10 minutes. When the noodles have softened cut them into shorter lengths using a pair of kitchen shears. Keep them in water and set aside.

Heat achuete oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute garlic until lightly browned. Add onions and saute until fragrant and softened. Add carrots, cabbage, and shredded chicken breast. Toss to coat chicken and vegetables with oil. Add chicken stock. Drain noodles and add them to the pot. Add fish sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer until vegetables and noodles are cooked. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper top taste.

Garnish with green onions and chicharron and serve hot.


Cooking Notes:

1. Sotanghon noodles, also called Chinese vermicelli, cellophane, glass, or bean thread noodles, are made of mung bean starch. It shouldn’t be confused with rice vermicelli, which is made from rice. Dried sotanghon noodles are available in most Asian stores in 3.5-ounce (100-gram) or 7-ounce (200-gram) packages.

2. The soup can only be as good as the stock. For a more flavorful chicken stock, roast chicken bones before simmering them in water with celery, carrots, and onions. Also, add pork bones or pork belly to the mix.

3. Chicharron makes great croutons for noodle soups.


Chicken Sotanghon Soup