Friday 17 December 2010

Mark's Oriental Chicken Soup

I am very fond of soup - both eating it and making it. There's something therapeutic about soup. It somehow manages to be soothing as well as nourishing. Ask anyone recovering from an illness what they most fancy eating when they start to regain their appetite, and nine times out of ten it will be Chicken Soup!

Here's my recipe for an oriental-style chicken soup.

Ingredients (serves two)
1 litre best chicken stock - preferably home-made
1 chicken breast, skinned, lightly poached, and sliced
One 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks (Juliennes)
1 medium-sized chilli -- as hot as you like -- de-seeded and roughly chopped
100 grams Beansprouts
3 Spring Onions, finely sliced (don't discard the green bits!)
A quarter of a Chinese Cabbage (What we in the UK call "Chinese Leaves"), coarsely shredded
[Unfortunately I couldn't get Chinese Leaves this time, so I substituted the inner leaves of some Spring Greens]
2 medium-sized mushrooms, thinly sliced
100 grams thin Chinese-style egg noodles
A pinch of 5-spice powder
Salt and Pepper

  • Put the stock in a large pan, together with the ginger, chilli and 5-spice powder, and a fair bit of salt and pepper (You could also add some garlic if you like, though I find it easily overpowers this soup.)
  • Bring to the boil, then turn off the heat and allow to cool
  • Leave for about an hour or so, to allow the flavourings to infuse into the stock
  • Cook the noodles as per manufacturer's instructions, rinse in cold water, and set aside
  • Shortly before serving time, prepare the other ingredients, while warming up the stock
  • Fill some large deep bowls with the other ingredients, in this order
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Noodles
  • Chicken
  • Mushrooms
  • Beansprouts
  • Spring Onions 
  • When the stock is piping hot, pour it into the bowls - hopefully there will be enough to cover everything without "drowning" it!
  • The hot stock will quickly cook the vegetables, without making them go mushy, and warm up the chicken and noodles
  • Serve immediately

What could be easier? It's very healthy too -- lots of veg, but no added fat.


  1. Hi Mark
    This sounds delicious, couldn't agree more soup is like soul food but only in winter. At the moment with our current hot weather we are living on cold meats and salads or of course our traditional braai (barbecue).

  2. Hi Garden Girl; The prospect of barbecues seems very remote to me at present, with the temperature here hovering around -4C ! Do you ever make any chilled soups, like Gazpacho, Vichyssoise, or cucumber and mint? They can be very refreshing on a hot day.

  3. I couldn't decide what we'd have for dinner tonight but soup is an excellent idea!

  4. Your noodle is cold "Ramen(拉麺)" in Japanese, which is very popular among Japanese people. I sometimes make instant noodles like Cup Noodle but never tried to making it from scratch like you.

  5. Aha! Who would ever have thought that I could teach a Japanese person to make Japanese soup!?!
    I just wanted to demonstrate that our food is not always the "meat and two veg" style.

  6. Yeah, you can definitely demonstrate that!
    I wish I could taste your hot noodles...

  7. That looks great, agree soup is the perfect recovery food in the winter time. It's the first thing I try when coming out of a bout of flu, usually a tin of Heinz Tomato does the job. Then when back on my feet it's back to home made again!

  8. Hi Mark
    You just gave me a great idea, we have lots of spinach in the garden at the moment, so a cold spinach soup is now on the menu for Christmas dinner. Christmas dinner is always a real challenge for us, we love the traditional foods but sometimes it is just too hot to enjoy.

  9. That sounds really yummy, I'll have to give it a go.


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