Broth-y and Noodle-y
Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
Right before I make out a grocery list, I sit down and plan out what meals I am going to prepare for the week. I always ask my husband for his input. His usual replies are, “I don’t know,” or “Steaks.”
Last week as I sat down to plot out my meals, I asked the husband once again, “Is there anything you want for dinner this week?” At that moment, he just happened to be watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. It was the episode where Tony travels to Vietnam and he and his traveling companion were just getting ready to sit down and enjoy a bowl of some sort of brothy, noodle-y type soup. “I want that,” he said.
Sure, no problem. If you have ever watched No Reservations, you know that it’s a travel show, not a cooking show, so it’s not like Tony gives out the recipes at the end of the episode. Not only that, most of the food on that show is made from ingredients indigenous to that region. I will have to give my local Kroger credit – they do have a decent international food aisle. And the Asian market down the street does a good job of stocking many of those hard-to-find ingredients. However, it would probably be impossible to find half of the ingredients for that soup in the United States, much less Mississippi.
So I set out to find some sort of brothy, noodle-y type Asian soup recipe that I could easily find the ingredients for and would hopefully resemble the soup my husband saw on TV. Oh, and it had to be ready in less than 30 minutes. I’m a working girl and I can’t come home at 6:30 every night and spend hours preparing dinner.
I found this recipe for Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup. It met all my qualifications – the ingredient list was simple, I could prepare it in a relatively short amount of time, it was both brothy and noodle-y. The first time I made it, the husband and I both agreed it needed a few changes. The original recipe called for Napa cabbage. It gave the soup almost a wilted salad like quality. It also called for you to boil strips of chicken in the broth while preparing the soup, causing the chicken to come out bland and slightly rubbery.
I thought the soup had enough potential to try again with a few tweaks. Instead of boiling my chicken, I seasoned my chicken breasts with olive oil, salt and pepper, baked them in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, and shredded the meat once it was cool enough to handle. This does throw the whole “less than 30 minutes” rule right out the window. However, if you plan ahead you can cook your chicken a few days before.
I also substituted the Napa cabbage for a few tablespoons of dried seaweed. I already had a package in my cabinet left over from making Jaden Hair’s 10-Minute Miso Soup (another good brothy- soup!). This time around the soup was just what the husband wanted.
- 1 (5-oz.) package rice noodles
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon chili garlic paste
- 2 tablespoons dried seaweed, soaked in water
- 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.
Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat.
In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, rice vinegar, and chili garlic paste. Add mixture to chicken broth. Drain seaweed and add to chicken broth mixture along with shredded chicken. Simmer for two minutes.
Drain rice noodles. Place a serving of rice noodles into each bowl. Ladle soup over rice noodles and garnish with green onions.