We saw a package of "tubular vermicelli" at our local Asian Mart, and as with anything that looked authentic to us, we bought it without really thinking what it was. Upon doing a little bit of research, I was convinced that "tubular vermicelli" is just a fancy name for "fat sotanghon noodles." And I was right.
The difference is that tubular vermicelli is hollow in the middle (sort of like a very thin straw), and it grows five times larger than the regular vermicelli when soaked in liquid. It is also very slippery when cooked.
So since I surmised that this is just a fat cousin of our regular vermicelli, I went ahead and cooked it like I would a regular vermicelli!
What you need:
200 grams tubular vermicelli
Meat of 2 chicken breasts, boiled and flaked
7 to 8 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 a head of garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
8 pieces Chinese mushrooms
chopped green onions
1 tbsp. fish sauce (patis)
What to do:
Soak the Chinese mushrooms in hot water for about 15 minutes. Remove excess water by squeezing it out gently. Discard the stems and slice the caps horizontally.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot. Saute garlic and onion (low heat) until aromatic. Add in the carrots and stir for a minute. Add chicken meat, mushroom and fish sauce. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock afterwards and bring to a boil. Drop in the tubular vermicelli in the soup and simmer for about 5 minutes or until noodles are tender and cooked. Check every once in a while as you don't want the vermicelli to absorb all the broth.
Serve in a bowl and garnish with chopped green onions. Enjoy!
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. If you don't like the smell or taste of fish sauce, substitute with salt.
2. Adding more liquid would cause the vermicelli noodles to swell and get bigger - so add sparingly. Only when it is almost dry.
3. Chinese mushrooms have a very distinct and strong taste. If you wish not to use it, feel free to substitute with regular mushrooms. Just don't soak it in water and put it in with the carrots.
4. In soaking the mushrooms, the water should be really hot and make sure that the 'shrooms are submerged, or there would be portions that would be hard.
5. Don't forget to keep the chicken stock when you boil the chicken breasts!
6. For easier eating with a spoon, break the noodles into shorter pieces before cooking it. If you want to keep it long, use chopsticks.