Chinese Noodle Soup and Crispy Chicken Recipe
Asian inspired noodle soups seem to be my new go-to dinner choice (although maybe not quite as often as tacos – another big time favourite). Lately I’ve really been craving a steaming bowl of noodles with salty spicy broth, maybe a little chicken or beef, and those perfect just-cooked-enough veggies. Must be the weather. The nice thing with this type of soup is that it can be as involved and time consuming as you want. You can throw together a quick and perfectly tasty soup with just a few ingredients, or if you have the time, craft a rich homemade stock and maybe a crispy chicken garnish. This recipe tends towards the meticulously crafted variety, for those days when you feel like getting cosy in the kitchen. Here’s Tim with the details…
I’m pretty impressed with how much better packaged stocks have become in the past couple of years. That being said, they are still missing one crucial ingredient for great broth based soups – fat. I’m not talking about making stocks that have a two-inch fat cap on them, but the addition of some fat adds flavour and fuller texture.
Adding this fat component to the stock is easier for beef broth soups than for chicken broth, mostly because it is very easy to find beef soup bones at the grocery store. Chicken bones are rarely sold at the store I frequent (some stores do stock chicken backs). So, I rarely fortify my chicken stocks like I do with beef. I would recommend you try it.
Most soups require a decent amount of chopping. This is the perfect time to put your store bought stock on and add some beef bones (roast them first, if you can). If you have time, add some roughly chopped carrots, onion and celery to further enhance the flavour. By the time you have finished all your chopping prep, your stock is now full of flavour and ready to make a spectacular soup.
Chinese Noodle Soup with Crispy Chicken
1 package rice noodles, prepared according to package directions
8 dried shittake mushrooms
1/2 cup of boiling water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mirin
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
1 carrot, sliced on the bias
¼ of a cauliflower head, chopped bite sized
½ a turnip, cut into cubes
2 cups of baby bok choy, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
6 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
1 lime, cut into wedges
2 chicken breasts, skin on *
Read the directions for cooking the noodles, and then follow them (or not).
Place the mushrooms in a bowl and pour the boiling water over top.
Heat the sesame oil on medium high heat in a big pot. Add the ginger and garlic and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened. Pour the mirin in and let cook for other minute.
Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha, and broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
The vegetables will not take long, so this is a good time to start cooking the chicken breast. Heat a pan on medium with just a touch of oil. We are going to cook this like you would cook a duck breast. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes on this side. If the skin starts to darken too fast, lower your heat. After around 10 minutes you should be able to see that the breast is 60% cooked up the sides (this is all dependent on the size). Flip over and cook another 8 minutes. Again, your cooking time may be shorter or longer. The idea is to cook the breast longer with the skin side down so it has a chance to render the fat out and make it crispy. Once cooked, place them on a cutting board to rest.
Add the mushrooms and most of the water they are soaking in to your stock. Watch out, the bottom will have some sediment. Add the carrot, cauliflower and turnip. Cook for 3 minutes (I like my vegetables crunchy in this soup). Add the bok choy and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Taste the broth – do you like it spicier? Add more sriracha. Do you like it saltier? Add more soy sauce. Do you like it with a bit more depth? Add more oyster sauce. This is the time to tweak it, or put these condiments on the table and let everyone make it perfect for their palate.
You are ready to plate. Cut your chicken breasts into slices. Put a handful of noodles into your bowl. Ladle the soup and veggies over top of the noodles. Garnish with the cilantro, green onion and a lime wedge. Place your crispy chicken on top. This is comfort food at its best.
* Optional – For super crispy chicken, I like to dry out the skin as much as I can. This means I pat it dry, salt the skin quite heavily and then place in the refrigerator uncovered for 30-45 minutes. Be sure to remove the excess salt prior to cooking. This method will ensure you get super crispy skin – and if you are going to eat the extra calories, you may as well make it as delicious as possible!