Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chinese Chicken Soup

I've been cooking very little these last two weeks as I have been traveling, teaching and seeing clients and going out to eat. Now I'm heavily into the last part of writing the second edition of my book as the deadline for submission is fast approaching. So, I've been taking just enough time to fix something that's easy and nothing is better for me or more comforting when I am stressed than chicken soup. This soup recipe is based on a classic Chinese chicken broth made with Chinese Rice Wine, ginger, garlic along with regular and green onions. Like many Chinese soups, the noodles are cooked separately and the green vegetables - in this case Bok Choy - is stir fried before they it is all put together in the bowl. You can change the vegetables to suit what is in your fridge. It is very good with spinach, bean sprouts, Napa Cabbage and regular green cabbage too. You could egg drop if you want more protein - just beat one of two eggs in a bowl and add them in at the end - swirling the soup while you are pouring. Then let it cook for just a few minutes. You can also use rice noodles or rice instead of wheat noodles. It is seasoned with just a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil to finish and it is a wonderful bowl of savory, soothing goodness.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken legs and thighs, skin left on
8 cups water
1 small onion, cut into big pieces
1 - 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into pieces
8 green onions - roots cut off and white parts cut for broth, green part sliced and reserved
2 clove garlic peeled and smashed
1/2 cup Shaoshing Rice Wine

Place chicken pieces in a large pot and add water, onion, ginger, white parts of green onion, garlic and Rice Wine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off foam. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove chicken pieces from soup and cool and then take meat off the bones and cut into bite sized pieces. Strain soup and return back to the pot - keeping the soup at a simmer.

1/2 pound of Wheat Noodles or Rice Noodles
1 small head Bok Choy or 3 - 4 baby Bok Choy, end cut off and cut into about 1" pieces
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 - 3 teaspoons Tamari
1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles according to package instructions - usually 5 minutes for Rice Noodles, 5 - 10 minutes for Wheat Noodles. Drain and put aside.

In a small frying pan, heat oil until hot and add Bok Choy. Stir fry until wilted and add soy sauce and sesame oil.

Place noodles in bowls until half full. Add about 1/4 cup of Bok Choy. Pour in soup with chicken meat over the noodles and vegetables with a ladle. Sprinkle with green onions. Serve with Sriracha Hot Sauce or Chili Garlic Sauce on the side.

Five Element Analysis

Soup is by its very nature a Water dish and the soy sauce and sesame oil contribute a bit more. But the chicken, wheat noodles and Bok Choy bring in a lot of the Wood Element. The rice wine and the chili sauce that you add at the end add the Fire Element and the green onion tops, the garlic and ginger add some Metal Element. The long cooking onions are the only representative of the Earth Element so adding mushrooms or using regular cabbage might be good or you could serve a fruit dessert to balance out the meal.


  1. I need to buy shaoshing wine, I've tried similar soup before and its comforting.

  2. It is wonderful and the rice wine has so many other uses. It can substitute for sherry but is also essential for marinating meat in Chinese cooking.