What do you think of this steamy, gingery bowl of soup? It’s my non-authentic version of an Asian noodle soup–the perfect winter supper for a family, as each person can build a bowl to his liking. Picky kids can have their plain noodles and broth, but you still get to have a grown-up dinner. Read on for the recipe…
A dish like this is all about the broth. You need a richly seasoned base with lots of layers of flavor. It takes a bit of time to get it where it needs to be, but the majority of that is just simmering time–which is no work at all for the cook. In addition to the whole chicken, I used warm spices like ginger, cinnamon, and star anise in this version; you can easily adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. Once the broth is done, you just need to have all the garnishes ready. Again, you can completely customize your “toppings.” Any leftover green veggies from a previous night’s dinner are game, or try shredded carrot or zucchini. You could also stir in a beaten egg, or add a whole poached one. The garnishes are intentionally simple, as the real flavor comes from the broth.
Chicken-Ginger Noodle Bowls
1 (3-pound) whole chicken
6 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh ginger
3 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
8 large shiitake mushrooms, caps and stems reserved separately
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
1 small pinch dried red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, plus more for garnish
8 ounces dried Asian-style wheat noodles such as udon or lo mein (I love Organic Planet brand)
Blanched green vegetables such as broccoli, broccolini, gai lan, pea pods or kale
Sriracha, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Rinse chicken and trim excess fat from neck and cavity. Place in a large stockpot that is taller than it is wide. Add chicken broth, then enough cold water to cover chicken by about 1/2 inch. Add ginger, shallots, shiitake stems (reserve caps separately), peppercorns, cinnamon, anise, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes (flip chicken occasionally during cooking.) Remove chicken from broth; place on a rimmed baking sheet to cool. Continue to simmer broth until it has reduced to about 10 cups (don’t worry too much about the amount here–it just needs to be a little concentrated.)
- Strain broth through a paper-towel lined sieve into a smaller pot; discard solids. Stir in soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil. If necessary, continue to reduce broth by simmering it over medium-low heat. Slice shiitake caps and add them to the broth; set aside.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain, then cool under cold running water; drain well. Toss noodles with a teaspoon of sesame oil to keep them from sticking; set aside.
- Shred chicken meat, discarding bones and skin; set aside.
- Prepare vegetable garnishes. Bring broth to a simmer; taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Place servings of noodles in bowls, top with shredded chicken and vegetables, and ladle hot broth over each. Serve noodle bowls with Sriracha and extra sesame oil and soy sauce.
*Note: I recently discovered Sky Valley, an organic brand of Sriracha, and really like it. Of course, I love the original Huy Fong variety with the rooster on the bottle, but it contains sulfites. This version is a nice approximation of the original without the sulfites.