30 January 2010

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup with Bok Choy

As noted the other week, I've been experimenting with more Asian-style chicken soup recipes, and got the basics of this one from a Food & Wine recipe. Worked well and there's probably even more ways to go within this basic framework.


  • 1 tbs. cooking oil
  • 1 tbs. sesame oil (not toasted)
  • 1 onion, diced finely*
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2" piece fresh ginger, cut into thin slices
  • 1 tbs. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried red-pepper flakes
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bit-sized pieces
  • 3 tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 c. cilantro leaves plus 1/4 c. chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. thick rice vermicelli
  • 1 lb. bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4 c. lime juice 
*Interesting note: I didn't have any fresh onion and couldn't get out of the house due to snow (right?), so instead used a jar of Cippolini onions in Balsamic vinegar. They were dynamite, so maybe adding a few dashes of Balsamic vinegar to the soup (or soaking the onions in it for a 20 minutes) might be good.

  1. In a large heavy pot, heat both oils over moderate heat. 
  2. In a separate pot, soak the vermicelli until soft and drain; set aside  
  3. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 min. 
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, fish sauce, salt and chicken, coating each thoroughly.
  5. Add the stock and cilantro leaves (if using), and bring to a simmer. 
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked, about 20 min. 
  7. Add the vermicelli to the soup; cook for a few minutes.
  8. Add the bok choy; bring back to a simmer and cook for about 1 min. 
  9. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro, if using. 
  10. Serve in large wide bowl and enjoy!

Freakin' fantastic; very savory and a nice balance between sweet, sour and spicy. I didn't use the cilantro but it'd go well; additionally, if you like it spicier, having a bottle of Sriracha handy would do quite nicely. Veggies can very comfortably sub out the chicken stock with veggie, chicken with tofu, and fish sauce with... well you're on your own for finding some umami.

UPDATE: Upon re-heating, it became clear that given how relatively delicate the bok choy is, this is a better soup to make and eat all of it that night (still fine re-heated, just the bok choy becomes a bit fall-aparty); if you want a re-heatable alternative, sub in kale, collards, chard, etc. and cook for several more minutes.

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