We tossed up whether to refer to this as a Ramen, or a Pho but there seems to be a lot of debate around what traditionally either one of those dishes are – with long-standing traditional methods that one is prepared so we have settled on ‘Asian inspired Chicken Noodle Soup’ to avoid offending anyone of the Ramen or Pho persuasion.
The flavours and the tastes of this soup though may be familiar to you from a Ramen or Pho or similar kinds of dishes but learning how to make it yourself is actually very easy and rewarding.
Why We Chose This Recipe
Sometimes you just want to sit back and let the delicious food cook away while you do next to nothing to prepare it. This is one of those dishes. It’s not a ‘slow-cooker’ type stew but an Asian Inspired Chicken Noodle Soup – not too dis-similar to a Jewish Chicken Soup but with extra asian-inspired flavours. Yes, I know there may be some backlash about the comparison but this is how I adapted a recipe I already loved and made it a little asian influenced and created a different meal which is equally as satisfying and tasty that I just wanted to share.
You can make the base of this soup a day or two ahead and then serve it up for a quick weekday, after-work meal as we have done many times – making this an extremely versatile and convenient meal. Lets face it, after a long day no one wants to cook for long every night of the week.
There are so many different variations and combinations you can play with and you can substitute most of the ingredients for something else or add and remove ingredients to your personal taste. In short its one of those dishes that is hard to stuff up!
Adding some garden-grown fresh mint really adds a new dimension to the over-all taste which I love but others may not, try something else. Perhaps add some coriander or some parsley – even some thyme or thai basil. What ever you have, what ever you like, or what ever is easy to get give it a try and adapt this delicious dish to your own taste.
For the budget conscious this meal doesn’t get much better. It’s hearty, warming and serves at least 4 using what are essentially cheaper cuts of Chicken (omit the breast) and any vegetables you do or don’t have (OK there are a few mandatories, but they are not too expensive!). For those playing at home who saw our post about chopping up your own whole chicken into portions this is where you can really get some bang for your buck and use parts of that in this recipe, whilst keeping around half the chicken (or more) for another meal.
Although you may not get the crystal-clear broth that so many Asian establishments achieve this dish will taste delicious, I promise so don’t at all worry if it’s a little cloudy, judge it on the taste instead! I’m sure if you strained this recipe however and then cooled it, removed the ‘impurities’ and then possibly strained it again prior to warming it up to eat you could get a nice clear broth – but who can be bothered?
Would we make these again?
Of course we would, we have made this plenty of times and will continue to do so!
As an added bonus our little one LOVES this soup and slurps it down, we generally strain the larger solids and put them into a plate she can eat with her hands or attempt to eat with cutlery, with the soup going into a sippy cup for convenience (babies + soup = potential big mess). We’ve even frozen batches before to defrost at a later date for a quick meal for the little one which we make using the soup as a stock, cooking rice, barley and other veggies into it as well. Perfect for a healthy, hearty home-cooked baby meal!
Please note: Please read the method before cooking as some ingredients get added after the initial stock is cooked!
For the Soup-base
- 1x Chicken Carcass
- 2x Chicken Wings skin on
- 1x Chicken Leg & Thigh (Maryland Piece) skin on and any other
- chicken piece you’d like to add.
- 1x large piece of ginger, sliced thinly (when I say large i mean about the length of a thumb or little finger, the more the better for an intense ginger hit)
- 3–4 Kafir Lime leaves (tip: buy a pack of these and keep what you don’t use straight away in your freezer to give Asian dishes a big punch in flavour)
- 1x small onion cut in half
- 2–3 Carrots, roughly chopped (for the soup base)
- 2x stalks of Celery, roughly chopped
- 2x large Mushrooms (if you have any, can be omitted)
- Salt & Pepper
- Splash of soy apx. 1–2tbsp
- 1x Carrot thinly sliced
- 2x stalks Spring Onions chopped finely
- handful of thinly chopped cabbage
- Noodles of your choosing (we are really loving the Hakubaku Ramen Noodles at the moment)
- 1x Asian Bok Choi
- Handful of Green Beans
- Your choice of
- 1x spring of mint per serve, handful torn Coriander, a few leaves of Lemon Thyme or a handful of torn Thai Basil (use what ever you like, choose, have or prefer but at least one makes the soup really pop)
- 1x Chicken Breast if you have fussy eaters who only like the Chicken Breast and not so much the other meat
- Add your roughly chopped carrots, & onion to a roasting pan and then place in your chicken carcass and any other pieces on top and around them. Give a light spray with oil and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a hot (200°C fan forced) oven until the chicken starts to brown and caramalise.
- Remove the Chicken and veg from the oven and place into a large saucepan along with all of the other soup ingredients. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients by around 2-3cms (around 1–2.5L, depending on the size of your large pan). Bring the soup to the boil and then place onto a small burner and simmer on very low. By very low we mean the lowest setting you have – you want slow rolling bubbles not violent boiling splashing everywhere. Simmer the soup for at least an hour, but longer is generally better to really get a good flavour through the soup-base. Make sure you put a lid on to stop the liquid from reducing too much, this is where a low simmer is very important, too high and it’ll boil over and waste your tasty, tasty soup!
- After at least an hour, and up to 4 the task is now separating the large pieces of vegetables and chicken from the stock. Strain through a colander or just use a slotted spoon to scoop out the solids, remembering to keep the soup not to empty down a drain when straining as I’ve done once before – not thinking very well that day! I know some people at this point don’t retain the chicken meat and just keep the ‘stock’ but I’ve always seen it as a bit of a waste to not use it – It’s so soft and delicious and just falls off the bone. At this point I now simply seperate the meat from the bones and gristle as well as getting rid of the skin, retaining all of the meat in a seperate bowl The soft, mushy veg is great for feeding little ones and we have on occasion reserved the mushy veg to accompany our dogs nightly meal (no onions). Of course you can eat it yourself if you wish. I also like to retain the ginger as I really enjoy it as part of my meal, however most people would simply discard with the other veg as well – either way is fine!
- At this point it is worth mentioning that you can now cool and then refrigerate the soup/stock/broth (without solids) for enjoying at a later date, just ensure the broth is kept seperate from the chicken meat. The broth should keep the fridge for at least a couple of days* – or you can even freeze if you like* (I wouldn’t recommend freezing the chicken meat*).
- Place the soup back onto the simmer to keep warm, it should now be free of all solids and just a tasty liquid asian-tasting chicken broth at this point. If you’re serving with Chicken Breast I now add an uncooked chicken breast to the stock now and ‘poach’ the breast in the soup stock. Make sure your liquid is at a rolling boil and that the chicken breast cooks for at least 10 mins in the boiling broth, depending on the thickness of the breast you may need to cook longer. Once the breast is cooked remove and slice into thin slices for serving (you’ll be able to tell if your chicken is cooked at this point, if it looks a little under-done place back into the stock until cooked completely).
- Next you simply need to cook the noodles as per packet directions and then its time to serve with your chosen veg. Serve into (at least) 4 bowls. Start by adding all of the condiments to the bowls, noodles, cabbage, thinly-sliced carrot, spring onion and any other vegetables you like. You can lightly steam any ‘harder’ veg you’d like to include with your soup prior to serving, veggies like asparagus, green beans and brocollini will benefit from a quick steam before serving so you don’t eat them too raw! Add the chicken, either the shredded, cooked chicken pieces from the initial broth and/or the poached breast. Top up the bowls with the soup/stock and add your chosen herbs. Enjoy your tasty, healthy meal.
*Refrigerating/freezing times may be different depending on your fridge/freezer. I’ve eaten this up to 4 days after cooking it after keeping it in an air-tight container in the fridge and been fine, but if you’re not comfortable with that – don’t. Use your own judgement to determine what is the right choice for you and your circumstance. I certainly wouldn’t be giving it to our little girl after 4 days in the fridge, but freezing for a longer period of time is fine. Frozen it’ll keep for a long time (if in doubt refer to your freezer’s manual or your local government food safety guidelines for thorough recommendations).