One of the great things about living in Cleveland is when the roads are too icy and snowy and generally in poor condition to make a quick run to the supermarket. Because sometimes your last dregs inspire the most delicious dishes. I love when I throw something together out of necessity and it ends up being a home run dish. This wonderful soup reminded me of a mixture between Vietnamese phở gà and Chinese hot and sour soup in its flavors, but was much, much easier than both of them to prepare. It was on the table 30 minutes after grabbing the first ingredient out of the refrigerator but managed to have a very, very impressive depth of flavor. I could not stop eating this and am seriously considering grabbing another bowl in the near future. It has the perfect mix of spice, citrus, and savory. The textures are also perfect – the slight crunch of the onions and the silkiness of the rice cakes. I really can’t say enough about how yummy this soup is.
I highly recommend homemade chicken stock here, because the broth of the soup is the true star. Additionally, do not skip a healthy squeeze of lime, as it is what really makes this dish sing.
2-3 tsp. canola oil
1 tbs. fresh ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tbs. low sodium soy sauce
1 tbs. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
6 cups homemade chicken stock
2 1/2 cups rice cakes (nián gāo)
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
1 lime, quartered
2 tbs. cilantro, roughly chopped
Non-stick cooking spray
Heat vegetable oil in a medium stock pot over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion and sauté until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, garlic chili sauce and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, roughly 15 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
While simmering, thoroughly rinse rice cakes. Add to broth and cook 1-2 minutes until all rice cakes float and are tender.
Garnish with sesame seeds, lime, and cilantro.