Easy Chicken Noodle Soup (鸡汤面)

This is an easy chicken noodle soup. You don’t need hours to simmer the chicken, because, with this hot water method, you can get a 3-hour simmering result within just 5 minutes; The soup comes out rich creamy, and hearty. You will be surprised by how flavorful it is. This recipe is also budget-friendly and it is enough to feed a whole family.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb of skin-on bone-in chicken quarters
  • 1 tbsp of cooking oil
  • 2 inches of ginger, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 scallions, tie into a knot
  • 2 shallots, quartered
  • 1 piece of Jinhua ham (optional, can be replaced by a thick cut of bacon)
  • 2 liters of water
  • 5 Shiitake mushrooms
  • 4-5 servings of noodles
  • 1/2 tbsp of fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • A handful of baby Bok choy
  • 2.5 tsps. of salt
  • 1 tsp of white pepper
  • Diced scallion as garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the clay pot (or other heavy-duty stockpots) until nice and hot. Add a little bit of cooking oil to sear the chicken and Jin Hua ham (optional) until golden brown. This will take a few minutes on each side.

Jinhua ham is totally optional, but I just love the rich umami taste that it brings into the broth. You can use other types of cured meat, with a little bit of fat like the piece I am using will be the best.

It is best to have bone-in and skin-on chicken. The skin is going to help us to create the mallard reaction and the bones will build up the flavor foundation for the broth. I usually use chicken quarters because they are affordable. If you don’t like dark meat, you can use chicken breast plus little extra chicken bones.

When you flip to fry the other side, add the ginger, garlic, shallot, scallions.  Stick them in between the gap of the chicken and let them be fragrant. I personally love to use a large amount of ginger in my chicken soup. The heat makes the soup very comfortable.

Once you got enough brown surfaces, pour in 2 liters of boiling hot water. This is my secret – When the boiling water touches the hot clay pot, it will bubble violently (intensely) which shakes the meat and accelerates the protein dissolution. This will instantly make your broth rich and flavorful. You can see the broth turn into a beautiful brown color in a couple of minutes. Normally, it will take you hours to get that result.

Even though the broth is already done but you still have to turn the heat to low and simmer this for about 15 minutes just so the chicken meat can be nice and tender.

During this time, you can slice the mushrooms. These are shiitake, but other types will work as well. I can’t have chicken soup without mushrooms. They pair well with each other. Cut some bok choy. You can use other green leafy vegetables that you like.

15 minutes later, turn off the heat and take out all the chicken. Let it cool. Discard the aromatics. Skim off the chicken fat. This is called an oil strainer. It is super fine that it allows the water to drain down but keeps the oil. So you can skim the oil out easily.

Add the mushrooms. Turn the heat to high and bring the broth back to a full boil. Drop in 4-5 servings of noodles. Just for reference, it will be 400-500 grams of fresh noodles or 250-300 grams of dried noodles from a package. I am using fresh ramen noodles but you can use whatever you have on hand, such as pasta, egg noodles, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, even instant noodles will work well.

You can cook the noodles in a separate pot and then transfer into the broth, so it doesn’t thicken your soup. I actually prefer my chicken noodle soup to be a little bit thick and silky. That’s why I am cooking it in the broth directly.

My noodles are fresh so they just need a few minutes of simmering. Depending on the thickness and the brand, the cooking time may vary. If you are not sure, read the instructions on the package before cooking.

During this time, you can take the meat off the chicken bone and shred it into pieces. Discard the chicken skin now. It is edible. I just don’t like soggy chicken skin like that. To be honest, I have made this countless times for my family, I never shred the chicken. We each take a whole thigh or drum stick and eat it that way. Since I moved to the USA, I noticed that most western people don’t like to eat chicken with bones.

Season the shredded chicken with any seasoning you want. I like to do a mix of soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Sprikle a few shakes of garlic powder and drizzle in some sesame oil. Mix well and set it aside. Give it a taste – um, delicious.

When the noodles are almost done, toss in the baby bok choy. Let it blanch for 30 seconds. Before serving, add some salt and white pepper to taste. Dinner is ready.

Actually, in China, noodle soup is more like for breakfast. I know it is a lot of carbs but it gives you full-day energy, especially my parents used to get paid by labor. This is one of our stable breakfast recipes because it is super easy and budget-friendly. You can get chicken quarters for like 80 cents a pound. A couple of dollars for the noodles and an estimated few dollars for the vegetables and the seasonings, literally, you can feed your whole family with less than 8 dollars.

 

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Easy Chicken Noodle Soup || 20 Min Dinner Recipe

This is an easy chicken noodle soup. You don’t need hours to simmer the chicken, because, with this hot water method, you can get a 3-hour simmering result within just 5 minutes; The soup comes out rich creamy and hearty. You will be surprised by how flavorful it is. This recipe is also budget friendly and it is enough to feed a whole family.  
Servings: 4 people
Cost: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the clay pot (or other heavy-duty stockpots) until nice and hot. Add a little bit of cooking oil to sear the chicken and Jinhua ham (optional) until golden brown. This will take a few minutes on each side.
  • When you flip the chicken to fry the other side, add the ginger, garlic, shallot, scallions; put them in between the chicken pieces so they can be fragrant. A large amount of ginger will make the soup very comfortable.
  • When the chicken is golden brown, pour in 2 liters of boiling hot water. When the boiling water touches the hot clay pot, it will bubble violently which shakes the meat and accelerates the protein dissolution. This will instantly make your broth rich and flavorful.
  • Even though the broth is already done but you still have to simmer this on low for about 15 minutes just so the chicken meat can be nice and tender.
  • Meanwhile, you can slice the mushrooms and cut some bok choy.
  • 15 minutes later, remove the chicken from the broth and let it cool. Discard the aromatics and skim the chicken fat from the broth.
  • Add the mushroom slices and 4-5 servings of noodles to the broth and cook for 4-10 minutes depending on the type and thickness of your noodles. You can also cook the noodles in a separate pot and then transfer them into the broth, so it doesn’t thicken your soup. I prefer my noodle soup to be a little bit thick and silky. That’s why I cook it in the broth directly.
  • Meanwhile, Take the chicken meat off the bone and shred it into bite-size pieces. Season the chicken meat with soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, garlic powder, and sesame oil.
  • When the noodles are almost done, add the baby bok choy and salt to taste. To make a serving, add noodles and broth along with the chicken meat to the bowl, top with some Lao Gan Ma chili flake for an extra spicy kick. Enjoy!

Notes

Jinhua ham (金华火腿) is optional, but it brings in a rich umami taste. You can use other types of cured meat, with a little bit of fat will be the best.
It is best to have bone-in and skin-on chicken. The skin will help us to create the mallard reaction and the bones will build up the flavor foundation for the broth. I usually use chicken quarters because they are affordable. If you don't like dark meat, you can use chicken breast plus little extra chicken bones.
Any type of noodles will work here (pasta, egg noodles, rice noodles, mung bean noodles, instant noodles...). For your reference, 4-5 servings will be 400-500 grams of fresh noodles or 250-300 grams of dried noodles.
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