Mi quang (pronounced mee-kway) is a classic Vietnamese meal made from ground beef or chicken cooked in a broth seasoned with fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other herbs and spices.
The name mi quang comes from its origins as an inexpensive dish for people who were living on a tight budget
The word “mi” means cheap, while “quang” refers to a bowl used by farmers to hold water for their animals
So, mi quang literally translates to “cheap water.”
What Is Mi Quang?
In Vietnam, mi quang is known as the national dish of the country
It is considered one of the most popular dishes among young adults because it can be easily prepared at home without much effort
In fact, mi quang has been around since ancient times where it was originally called bún chả gà hột (or bun cha ga haht)
This is because the dish consists of fried meatballs wrapped inside thin rice noodles.
Traditionally, mi quang is made with ground pork but many restaurants will also include pieces of boneless chicken or seafood instead
There are different ways to prepare the dish depending on what ingredients are available in your local market, so there isn’t any set recipe that all versions must follow
However, the general idea behind this dish is to cook the meat until the outside becomes crispy while the inside remains moist and tender.
When preparing mi quang, use fresh rice vermicelli which should not be too thick
If they are thicker than 1/4 inch, then soak them in cold water to soften before cooking
You may have seen dried rice vermicelli sold in Asian grocery stores, however these tend to come in large packages and won’t work well when making mi quang unless you want to buy more noodles after eating half of the batch!
To add flavor to the broth, try adding some chopped lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal root, Thai basil, coriander root, mint leaves, kaffir lime leaf, cilantro roots, turmeric, cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, peppercorns, Sichuan pepper flakes, chili peppers, or bird eye chillies.
There are three main steps involved in making mi quang:
- Cooking the meatball mixture.
- Making stock using the leftover bones.
- Adding the broth to the noodles and garnishing it with sliced green onions, roasted peanuts, crushed red pepper, shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds.
If you don’t like spicy food, then you might consider skipping the hot peppers if you live somewhere with milder climates.
How Do You Make Mi Quang?
Making mi quang can be time consuming but it isn’t difficult.
It takes about two hours start to finish.
You will need:
- 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
- ¼ cup oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar (adjust amount according to your taste)
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- ⅓ cup freshly grated ginger root
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 5 tablespoons fish sauce
- 4 green onions chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons)
- 6 ounces thin rice noodles (or any type of long grain rice noodles)
Start off by cutting up the chicken into bite size pieces
In a large pot over medium heat, combine the chicken, oyster sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger root, stock, and 4 tablespoons of fish sauce
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low
Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes
Add the onion and cook another 10 minutes until the meat is tender.
Once everything has simmered down, add the noodles and stir well
Continue cooking them for 5 more minutes until they are done
What Are The Ingredients In Mi Quang?
Ingredients vary based on which region of Vietnam you live in, but generally speaking, mi quang includes meat, noodles, onions, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, and tofu
You can also add seafood such as shrimp, squid, and clams depending on what part of the country you hail from.
There are many different recipes floating around out there when it comes to making mi quang, so here are some typical ones that you might see at your local grocery store.
- Chicken Mi Quang Recipe – This recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken thighs marinated overnight in a mixture of lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and salt before cooking them in a stockpot until they reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. After removing the chicken from the pot, the bones are removed and then discarded, and the remaining meat is shredded into bite-sized pieces. Then, the stockpot containing the shredded meat is brought back up to temperature before adding the sliced onion and chopped bell pepper along with fresh basil leaves and black bean sprouts. Lastly, the mushrooms and carrots are added just before serving.
- Pork Mi Quang Recipe – Pork is often used instead of chicken in this type of cuisine because it contains less fat than chicken, making it more suitable for those watching their cholesterol levels.
- Vegetarian Mi Quang Recipe – If you are vegetarian, try substituting vegetable stock for the chicken stock found in most recipes. Vegetable stock doesn’t have any animal products in it, meaning you won’t be eating any meat, but you will still get all the benefits of having a hearty meal full of nutrients.
How Long Does It Take To Make Mi Quang?
Since mi quang is traditionally eaten at lunchtime, you will need about 1 hour to prepare your meal.
This includes cooking the meat and making the stock.
If you have time before work or school starts, you can also prep some of the ingredients ahead of time so they can be ready when you get home.
Preparing the meat
- Grind the chuck roast into strips using a sharp knife or food processor
- Add the strips back to the pot over medium heat and cook until browned (about 10 min)
- While the meat cooks, peel the ginger and slice it thinly (if you don’t have a mandoline, use a vegetable peeler)
- When the meat has finished cooking, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly
- Once cooled, dice the onion and add to the pot along with the carrot and celery
- Stir everything together well to combine and season with salt and pepper
Making the broth
- Cut the lemongrass stalk in half lengthwise and then chop finely
- Remove the leaves from the cilantro stems and cut them into small pieces
- Slice the green onions and chile, if desired
- Place all of the chopped ingredients into a large pot and cover with enough cold water to completely submerge the veggies
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let the flavors develop for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes of cooking, strain out any debris through a fine mesh sieve
- Return the strained liquid to the pan and bring to a low boil again. Reduce to a simmer and let the flavors continue developing another 15 minutes
- At this point, the flavor should be rich and flavorful. Add the star anise pods and stir to incorporate thoroughly
- Next, turn off the burner and allow the liquid to come down to room temperature. Remove the star anise pods and discard them. Pour the remaining liquid into storage containers and refrigerate overnight
What Is The History Of Mi Quang?
According to food historian Dr
Phan Ngoc Minh, mi quang was first created during the French colonial period when the French introduced Vietnamese cuisine to France
It was then brought back to Vietnam during the American War, where it gained popularity among soldiers stationed there.
Since then, the dish has become one of the most popular dishes in the country, serving as both a comfort food and a staple in everyday meals
In fact, it is considered so important that restaurants serve it at least once per day throughout the year.
Although mi quang can be prepared using any type of meat you want, many prefer to use chicken because it is less expensive than beef
Chicken also contains more protein, which makes this dish filling and nutritious.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
- 1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock
- 6 ounces mung bean noodles
For the best results, cook your own chicken stock rather than buying canned stock.
You can either roast the bones until they’re charred or boil them for 30 minutes before adding cold water to cover.
This will allow you to remove all of the impurities found in store-bought stocks.
How Many Calories Are In Mi Quang?
To determine how many calories you can expect to consume when eating mi quang, we need to understand what makes up this dish.
Mi quang contains meat, rice noodles, vegetables, and seasonings, so it’s not exactly known for being low calorie.
A typical serving size will contain anywhere between 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup of meat, usually about 2 ounces (57 grams), but some recipes call for more
Rice noodles make up most of each serving since they are usually the largest part of the dish.
Vegetables also play a large role in mi quang because they add flavor, texture, and nutrients
You may find yourself adding your own favorite veggies into this dish to increase the nutrition content
Each vegetable has varying amounts of carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and protein, which adds up to quite a bit of nutrition per serving.
So, if you eat two servings of mi quang per day, then you could be consuming around 300 calories total over the course of the week
That number jumps even higher if you include alcohol consumption, which is common at parties where mi quang is often served.
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Mi Quang?
While mi quang can be prepared using any type of meat, it is most commonly made with poultry such as chicken or duck
Some versions include seafood like prawns or squid mixed into the broth, but this isn’t typical.
In general, mi quang has plenty of protein, which helps you build muscle if you eat enough of it
In addition, mi quang also contains vitamins B1, B6, C, D, E, K, niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, selenium, potassium, and calcium.
However, the biggest nutrient found in mi quang is fiber
Mi quang has more than 20 grams per serving! That’s almost double the recommended daily intake of 15 grams per day for women and 30 grams per day for men.
As far as specific nutrients go, there are several types of carbs in mi quang
You get three varieties of carbohydrates: simple sugars, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fiber
Simple sugar includes glucose and fructose, while complex carbohydrates contain both starch and fiber
Dietary fiber consists of polysaccharides—long chains of sugar molecules—that help prevent digestive problems and promote weight loss.
What Are Some Mi Quang Recipes?
You will find mi quang everywhere in Vietnam
It has been adopted into many cuisines around the world, including Korean cuisine, Chinese food, Thai food, Japanese food, Filipino food, Spanish food, American food, and French food.
In this article, we will be focusing only on the Vietnamese version of mi quang because it is one of the most popular dishes among Americans
If you have never had mi quang before, here are two different ways to prepare it.
- Beef Mi Quang Recipe 1: This is the more common way to eat mi quang where you cook the meat first then add all of the ingredients together. You also need to use short grain white rice instead of long grain brown rice.
- Beef Mi Quang Recipe 2: This is another option if you want to avoid cooking the meat first. In this case, you just sauté everything in a pan until tender, then pour over your desired noodles and enjoy!
How Can I Make Mi Quang Healthier?
One of the most important things you need to know about eating mi quang is that it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet
While this dish has been traditionally associated with poverty, it is also one of Vietnam’s favorite dishes because it is hearty and filling but doesn’t have a lot of fat.
Because of its simple ingredients, there isn’t much room for substitutions when making mi quang
If you do want to add more protein, go ahead and use ground meat instead of just using bones
You could also opt to replace the stock with vegetable broth, which will keep your calorie count down.
If you choose to add more veggies to your mi quang, don’t hesitate to try out different types of fresh produce
Try adding spinach leaves, broccoli florets, bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, snow peas, mushrooms, and cucumber slices to give your dish variety.
You can even add tofu if you feel like your body needs extra calcium and protein
Just remember that if you decide to go vegan, be sure to check out our article listing the best plant milk alternatives.
When it comes to cooking time, you shouldn’t worry too much
This dish cooks quickly so you won’t notice any significant difference between how long it takes to cook depending on what kind of broth you use
For example, if you use chicken stock, expect your pot to take around 45 minutes to 1 hour on medium heat
On the other hand, if you choose to use vegetarian stock, you may only need about 25 minutes of simmering.
What Are Some Common Mi Quang Toppings?
You can serve many different types of meat in mi quang, but the most popular options include beef tendon, tripe, chicken feet, pig ears, whole pigs head, and pig skin — all of which have distinct flavors and textures when eaten raw
You may also find it to be easier if you cook your own meats instead of buying them pre-cut
If you don’t want to eat any type of animal products, you can use tempeh, tofu, mushrooms, or eggplant instead
To add variety, try adding fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, Thai basil, lemon grass, galanga root, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, limes, chiles, and scallions.
Some people will choose to put more emphasis on certain ingredients than others depending on their personal preferences
For example, some prefer to use only one kind of meat, such as using just beef tendon, while others might opt for a mixture of several kinds of meat
Then again, there are those who think nothing beats eating every single type of ingredient possible!
If you do decide to go this route, you should definitely check out our guide to making homemade beef tendon so you know exactly what to buy
It is easy to cut into pieces, and once you get started, you won’t even realize how much time has passed until you finish cooking everything.
- 500 g chickens cut into pieces
- 10 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh-turmeric chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 small bowl chili oil
- 2 hard boiled eggs peeled
- 1.5 L water
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons fried shallots
- 2 tablespoons roasted peanuts
- fresh noodle khao soi
- fresh chili
- Chicken should be marinated in a mixture of oyster sauce, turmeric, oyster sauce, and salt. Combine and wait for 20 minutes.
- Have a large saucepan ready after 20 minutes, and add roughly 2 tablespoons of oil and garlic. Chicken that has been marinated is added after the garlic is lightly browned. Stir fry for a few minutes, add the chili oil, and stir fry for a further few minutes. Add water after that. It should cook for about 20 minutes at medium heat with a lid on.
- Add the hard boiled egg and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- You can add msg if you like, or you can adjust the seasoning. Turn off the heat after that.
- To serve, take a large bowl, top with lettuce and green herbs, then layer noodles on top. Then, add chicken and a delicious soup. Finally, top with a hard-boiled egg and garnish with sliced green onions, fried shallots, and roasted peanuts. Enjoy! Yummy!