April 2, 2012

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is the ultimate “feel better” soup.  To this day, any time when my mom hears that I’m not feeling well, her response is always, “Time for chicken soup!!”  Chicken soup has been a traditional remedy for a cold, and every culture seems to have a different version of this healing recipe.

I tend to cook more European cuisine (especially Italian) but decided to learn more Asian styles of cooking this year.  When I started to feel a little tired from allergies with the change of season, it seemed like the perfect time for chicken soup.

What makes this soup so healing?

This soup is low in fat and full of vitamin C, A, and K, thanks to the bok choy.  Ginger is great for relieving achy muscles and helping with digestion.  The pepper helps clear your sinuses.  In Chinese medicine, green onions are a key ingredient in a cold-fighting soup.  Garlic and onions contain immune-boosting properties from their sulfur-containing compounds, which also gives them their “special” smell.  In Chinese medicine, chicken is described as “yang,” which means that it is warming, and warming foods give you the energy to fight off a pathogen.  It also contains iron, which is important to a healthy immune system, and zinc, which activates white blood cells to fight body infections.

This soup is also a great “base” to get creative with additional toppings and mix-ins for new combinations.  Broccoli always brings quite a powerful nutritional punch to any dish with Vitamin C and ant-oxidants.  Carrots would add more beta-carotene, and the body uses beta-carotene to make Vitamin A, which is immune boosting.  For extra protein, you could go traditional Ramen style and add a hardboiled egg.

Chinese Chicken Soup


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, minced (or substitute 1 tsp. ground ginger)
1 tbsp. sesame oil
8 cups chicken broth
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
5 green onions, sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
3 baby bok choy, chopped
8 oz. Ramen noodles (or other Asian style noodles)
Sriracha sauce for serving (optional)
Chopped cilantro for serving (optional)


Heat the sesame oil over medium high heat in a Dutch oven (or a large stock pot).  Add the minced garlic and minced fresh ginger.  Briefly sauté for about a minute.  Add the chicken and the bok choy, and sprinkle with salt.  Sauté for another three minutes or until the chicken has turned white but not completely cooked.

Add the chicken broth, jalapeño, and green onions to the Dutch oven, and bring to a simmer.  Stir occasionally.  After the soup is brought to a simmer, add the rice vinegar and soy sauce.  Cook for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Meanwhile, add cook the noodles in a separate pot of boiling salted water.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

After the chicken is done, add the noodles to the pot and stir.  Serve with chopped cilantro and sriracha sauce on the side, if desired.

(Note: If you are using ground ginger in lieu of the fresh ginger, add the ground ginger when you add the chicken broth, jalapeño, and green onions.)

Source: Slightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run

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