This Vietnamese Macaroni Soup with Pork, or Sup Nui, is the ultimate comfort food! Macaroni noodles, soft carrots, and ground pork are nestled in a homemade pork broth. It's a popular Vietnamese breakfast but also great as a light lunch or dinner, especially on sick days.
The Best Vietnamese Comfort Food
Growing up, my mom would often buy me a small take-out container of Sup Nui for an after-school snack or if I was feeling under the weather. I loved the simplicity and nourishing aroma of the sweet pork broth. Sup Nui is simple but the light yet comforting flavors makes it wonderfully delicious.
Vietnamese cuisine is known for their broths. And cooking pork broth from scratch really takes this dish to another level! Don't be intimidated - it's a lot easier than you think. It just takes a little bit of time to let the flavors develop. This recipe's signature is the crystal clear and mild pork stock. The sweetness makes it a favorite with kids.
Chewy macaroni noodles, soft boiled carrots, and hearty ground pork makes this dish tasty and nutritious. It's light but still satisfying. If you're looking for a fun twist on chicken noodle soup or need something cozy for a sick day, this is the recipe for you!
Why You'll Love It
- Homemade broth is easier than you think and the results are incredibly delicious! You'll be able to brag to all your friends and family about it.
- This recipe is budget-friendly. Pork bones are less expensive than chicken or beef bones.
- Sup Nui is a kid favorite and perfect for colder weather, family dinners, or sick ones.
- We only simmer the bones for an hour, which is much faster than traditional broths. You'll still end up with a rich and flavorful stock!
- It's versatile enough to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Pork bones: Bone are easy to find at Asian markets or specialty butcher stores, sometimes in the freezer section. Pork ribs are the most traditional for this recipe but you can save money and use neck, leg, trotter, or a mixed bag of bones instead.
- Ginger: I like to use a small amount so it doesn't overpower the mild broth.
- Shallot and onion: Use both aromatics to flavor the broth.
- Cilantro: Best served fresh but I like to simmer hearty stems in the broth for this particular recipe. The version I grew up had a prominent cilantro flavor and using it in two ways helps achieve this.
- Yellow rock sugar: Very common in Asian pantries and traditional in Vietnamese broths like pho. It's crystallized cane sugar and has a purer but more mellow flavor than granulated sugar. Use a mallet or hammer to break it into small pieces. You can find it at Asian markets or on Amazon.
- Fish sauce: A must-have in Vietnamese recipes. It's used to season and add umami to the broth.
- Whole peppercorns: Adds heat and flavor.
- Elbow pasta: Use any short pasta you'd like but elbow pasta is my favorite.
- Carrots: Diced finely and boiled to add nutrition, sweetness, and texture.
- Ground pork: Reinforces the pork flavor and adds heartiness.
How To Make Sup Nui
- Blanch the bones. Soak the bones in water for 30 minutes. This will draw out the blood to help achieve a clear broth.
- Hard boil the bones. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the bones. Boil for 5 minutes, removing scum and foam that rises to the top. Blanching the bones is another step to ensure a clear broth. Drain and scrub the bones under cold water. Clean the pot or use another large stockpot.
- Simmer the broth. Add the bones to a clean pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, removing any scum or foam. Then add onion, shallot, cilantro, peppercorns, fish sauce, and rock sugar. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 45-60 minutes, trying not to shift the bones too much.
- Cook the remaining ingredients. While the broth is in progress, bring a smaller pot of salted water to a boil. You can use one pot to cook everything else, as long as it's in the right order. Start with the pasta, cooking 1-2 minutes shy of al dente, and use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate to let cool. Then boil the carrots, transferring to an ice bath once it's tender. Lastly, add the seasoned ground pork and boil until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
- Serve. Drain the broth and season to taste. To assemble, add pasta, carrots, and ground pork to a bowl. Pour in broth and top with freshly cracked pepper and cilantro.
- Soak and blanch the bones to remove impurities and blood from the bones. This will help achieve a clearer, purer broth.
- For a clear broth, also make sure to keep it at a gentle simmer. Higher, more aggressive boils will create a cloudier broth.
- If your bones have meat on them, don't throw it out after the simmer! They'll be very tender and delicious. My husband loves to gnosh on them on the side. You can even skip the ground pork if there's enough meat on the bones.
- After washing the cilantro, pick out any wilted (but not soggy) and hearty stems. Pluck the leaves from 15-20 stems as well. Save the leaves for garnish and the stems for the broth.
Substitutions & Variations
- You can replace both the pork bones and ground pork with meaty pork spare ribs.
- Substitute yellow rock sugar with ½ tablespoon white granulated sugar.
- You can use any short pasta you'd like, including fusilli, shells, or egg noodles.
- Several broth recipes recommend charring the vegetables (onion, shallot, and ginger) to create a richer, more flavorful broth. I personally don't like to do that for Sup Nui because I want a sweeter, more mild flavor profile. However, feel free to try it if you'd like! Char or broil the vegetables over an open flame, remove any charred bits, and add it to the water with the bones.
- Same as the vegetables, you could also char the bones for a deeper flavor. Roast the bones in the oven until caramelized brown, then blanch and continue with the recipe.
- This pork broth only needs 45-60 minutes to achieve great flavor. If you want a more gelatinous bone broth, simmer it for longer.
- Add more toppings if you'd like. Try fresh lime, green onion, or chiles.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Let the broth, pasta, carrots, and pork cool down completely. Then store separately in air-tight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing: You can double the broth and freeze it so you can have Sup Nui easily in the future! Let it cool completely and store in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container for up to 3 months. I personally don't think it's worthwhile to cook and freeze the pasta, carrots, or ground pork. Instead, make the broth in advance to freeze and then cook the remaining elements fresh.
Reheating: Assemble a bowl with the broth, pasta, carrots, and ground pork. Warm in the microwave and then top with fresh cilantro. Alternatively, you can bring the broth to a boil in a small pot on the stove. Assemble a bowl with the remaining ingredients and spoon hot broth over it and let sit to warm through.
There isn't a very clear answer but both generally mean a liquid made from meat and/or vegetables. Stock is specifically made with bones and simmered for several hours, while broth is made from meat for a shorter amount of time. But I honestly use both terms interchangeably.
Sure! You can buy it pre-made but the flavor profile will be completely different. You can try simmering some vegetables and sugar in the purchased broth. It'll still taste different but will help save time if you're in a rush.
You'll need a large stockpot or Dutch oven and bones. That's pretty much! It's also helpful to have a strainer but it isn't completely necessary.
Looking For More?
This Sup Nui is one of the dishes I loved when I was younger. I've been recreating some of my childhood favorites and some fun recipes worth trying are:
- Vietnamese Chayote Squash with Beef (Su Su Xao Thit Bo)
- Vietnamese Stir Fried Macaroni with Beef (Nui Xao Bo)
- Instant Pot Chao Ga (Vietnamese Rice Porridge)
- Vietnamese Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage (Xoi Lap Xuong)
- Vietnamese Chicken Curry (Ca Ri Ga)
Vietnamese Macaroni Soup with Pork (Sup Nui)
- 2 lbs pork bones
- 2½ liters water (10 cups) plus more for blanching
- 1 inch knob of ginger peeled and halved
- ½ shallot
- ½ onion
- 1 bunch cilantro 15-20 wilted and large stems set aside
- 20 g yellow rock sugar about a 1 inch piece
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 2½ cups (12 oz) elbow pasta
- ½ cup carrots minced
- ¾ lb ground pork
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place bones in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Then drain and rinse the bowls.
- Bring a large stockpot or Dutch oven of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the bones, hard boiling for 5 minutes. Carefully drain and thoroughly rinse and scrub the bones clean of any blood or residue. Clean the pot and wipe dry.
- Add bones back into the pot, along with 2.5 L water and 2 teaspoon salt. Bones should be covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, removing any scum or browned bits that floats to the top.
- Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down to a gentle, rolling simmer. Add ginger, shallot, onion, cilantro stems, rock sugar, fish sauce, and peppercorns. Simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour, removing any foam or scum on top. Limit stirring the bones.
- While the bones are simmering, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cooking 1 minute less than box instructions say. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a large plate. Set aside. Add more water if needed, then add carrots and boil until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to an ice bath and set aside.
- Season ground pork with salt and pepper. Add to pot of boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
- Once the pork broth is done simmering, strain and season to taste. You should end with about 6 cups of pork broth. Reserve meat on bones, if any.
- To serve, add pasta, carrots, ground pork, and fresh cilantro to a bowl. Pour over pork broth and top with a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.
- Storing: Let cool down completely and store the broth, pasta, carrots, ground pork, and cilantro separately in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezing: To freeze the broth, let cool completely and store in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or container for up to 3 months
- Substitutions and Variations:
- You can replace both the pork bones and ground pork with meaty pork spare ribs.
- Substitute yellow rock sugar with ½ tablespoon white granulated sugar. Season to taste.
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