Chicken Sotanghon

We’re you waiting for a Filipino dish to be posted? I knew it! I’m a mind reader.

Chicken Sotanghon (mung bean vermicelli or cellophane noodles) is one of my favorite bowls of soup, chicken and noodles. My other favorites are sopas (soup, chicken and pasta) and the Chinese chicken noodles.

The warmth of this bowl, the orange color of the soup with chunks of chicken and long sotanghon is perfect for the rainy season. I can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a very, very rainy day.

This is so popular in the Philippines that we have instant cups of Chicken Sotanghon. But of course, it’s always better when cooked at home — especially when it’s cooked by grandma or mom! 😀

My mom taught me this one and now I’ll share it with you.

The ingredients are very easy to find, you don’t need to go to big supermarkets to get these! The annatto powder is optional, it’s basically used just to achieve the orange color. I use Mama Sita’s annatto powder, less hassle than the annatto seeds that need to be soaked in water/oil! 😛

Soak the sotanghon in water for at least 30 minutes. You could do that before preparing everything else so when it’s time to put the noodles into the pot, it will be ready.

Since I couldn’t find boneless dark chicken meat, I had to pull out the chicken skin and separate the meat from the bone myself then chop that into smaller pieces.

I had to debone it because the next day, we’re having this for our packed lunch. It’s quite hard to eat when there are bones.


Like almost every Filipino dish, I diced the onion and garlic. When that’s done, I poured 2 tablespoons of oil into a pot, heated that and then added the onions.

When the onion became translucent, I added the garlic and sautéed that for 1-2 minutes.

Next, I added the chicken to browned it a little.

When it has browned a little, I poured in 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and let the chicken continue to brown and cook in the fish sauce + onion + garlic base. You could add less fish sauce at this point then just add more later.

Next, I added all of the chicken broth. Yes. All 946ml of that big pack. I don’t know about you but my husband and I love soup. If you think it’s too much, you can put in just 500ml of chicken broth and add more later, if needed.

I covered the pot, let it boil like crazy then lowered the heat and allowed it to simmer for at least 30 minutes.

The annatto is optional. If you have it, GREAT! If you don’t, it’s okay! It’s not the end of the world. It will still taste the same.

If you have annatto powder at home, you could do what I did. Get a small bowl, get some soup from the pot and allow that to cool for around 2 minutes. My mom and I have found it easier to mix the powder with the liquid when it’s hot but not boiling hot.

Next, put 1 teaspoon of annatto powder in the bowl and mix. Mix well! We wouldn’t want to have bits of annatto powder in the soup.

After mixing that in the bowl, I poured it back to the pot.

See? I’m not perfect, there’s still some powder. Hahaha! 😀 It is okay! My husband was really hungry and I am rushing to get this done. Yes, he is the reason why I cook and also the reason why I rush sometimes! 😛

I then incorporated the annatto mix with everything in the pot then added freshly ground pepper. We like a lot of pepper. It makes it taste even better!

I checked to see it if the sotanghon has soften — it’s been soaking for more than 30 minutes so I bet it is! I cooked the noodles for 2 minutes, by that time, it was already tender and firm.

If ever you didn’t have time to soak it for at least 30 minutes, I think it’s okay to just cook it in the pot and then wait until it’s tender and firm. Or you could do what was stated in the package, cook it in boiling water for 5 minutes, run cold water then dry it (I think they meant drain it?).

Remember, we don’t want soggy noodles. We want firm and tender noodles.

You see that funny-looking bone there? That shouldn’t be there! I tried to press it to the bottom of the pot. Well, I thought I did but apparently it came floating back up!

Just before the 2 minutes cooking time of the noodles were up, I tasted to see if it needed any more pepper or fish sauce. The soup needs to taste peppery and you need to be able to taste a little bit of saltiness. At this point, I added more ground pepper and 1 teaspoon of fish sauce.

Chop up some spring onions for garnish and additional flavor. I like the parts near the roots. My husband enjoyed this new addition to the Chicken Sotanghon!

It was so yummy, the only thing missing was the rain! The Hong Kong Observatory showed in their forecast that it would rain on the day I made this but I guess the tropical storm didn’t go our way. Oh how I would love to have work cancelled for the day and just sleep in! Last month, we had a signal no. 10 — a hurricane signal! The winds were so strong, it seemed as if someone was knocking on all your doors at the same time.

Bon Appétit!!!

Chicken Sotanghon

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes

  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 small red onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 kilo chicken (For us, best part is the dark meat!)
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp fish sauce (You can put less if you want)
  • 1 Liter chicken broth
  • 1 tsp annatto powder (only if you have it!)
  • 100g sotanghon/mung bean vermicelli/cellophane noodles (how could noodles be called so many things?)
  • ground black pepper to taste (I put a total of 1Tbsp!)
  • diced spring onions for garnish (adds more flavor! I liked this very much!)
  1. Soak the sotanghon in water, it must be fully submerged in water.
  2. Dice the onions and garlic.
  3. Heat oil in a pot then sauté the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and sauté for around 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken and brown them a little.
  6. Pour the fish sauce. You can put 2 Tbsp first or even less then just add more flavors towards the end.
  7. Continue to brown the chicken.
  8. When the chicken has browned, pour the chicken broth into the pot and let it boil. Once it has boiled, lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.
  9. (Optional) Mix 1 tsp of annatto oil with some soup in a bowl. After completely mixing it, pour it into the pot and mix all the ingredients in the pot.
  10. Add the sotanghon and cook until it is firm.
  11. Season with pepper and fish sauce.
  12. Garnish with diced spring onions.

Makes 4-5 servings


2 responses to “Chicken Sotanghon

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