Easy Chinese chicken noodle soup with homemade chicken stock is a comforting warm noodle soup with the most original taste. This is a food from my childhood. Warming and delicious chicken soup with shredded chicken can be super comforting in cooler mornings.
Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup, or "鸡汤面" as it's called in Mandarin, is a delightful fusion of tender chicken, springy noodles, and a warm, aromatic broth that provides comfort to the soul.
The very basic stock theory of Chinese cooking is to keep the original taste. In Chinese, we call this "原汁原味". We only add scallion and ginger to eliminate the unpleasant raw tastes from the meat without influencing the tastes obviously.
While the exact origins of Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup are shrouded in culinary folklore, it is believed that the dish has roots dating back thousands of years. Noodles have been a staple in Chinese diets for centuries.
Sometimes we make noodle soup for birthdays because it symbolizes good fortune and happiness.
Ingredients and Their Significance
Chicken: Traditionally, for clear Chinese stock, I recommend using whole chicken because it provides a richer taste profile.
Noodles: The type of noodle often varies depending on regional preferences and the cook's personal touch. For this recipe, thin egg noodles, handmade noodles or even rice noodles can match perfectly.
Aromatics: Ginger provides warmth and counters any gamey taste from the chicken, while green onions add a fresh, crisp finish to the dish.
Spices: I only use a very small amount of white pepper to keep the original taste of the stock.
Light soy sauce: I use light soy sauce in the broth of the noodle soup.
Northern vs. Southern Chicken Noodle Soup
The North often favors wheat-based noodles, resulting in a chewier texture. In the South, thin egg noodles or even rice noodles, give the soup a lighter touch.
What to serve with
Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup pairs well with a variety of side dishes that complement its flavors and textures. Here are some suggestions:
- Garlic Bok Choy: Quickly stir-fried with garlic, this dish offers a refreshing crunch and a hint of garlic that complements the warm broth of the soup.
- Chinese Cucumber Salad (拍黄瓜 Pāi huángguā): A cool, refreshing side that contrasts with the hot soup. Cucumbers are lightly smashed and seasoned with sesame oil, garlic, and a touch of vinegar.
- Chinese Pickled Vegetables: These tangy, slightly spicy pickled vegetables can cleanse the palate and provide a contrast to the rich flavors of the soup.
- Chili oil or Laoganma chili sauce. You can enjoy the original flavor of the soup or highlight it with a small amount of chili sauce or oil.
- Mushroom sauce: This is a fabulous sauce for chicken noodle soup with a lovely hot and spicy taste.
Traditionally, we don't add extra vegetables to this clear chicken stock noodle soup. However, some of the common vegetables match well with this soup including all types of mushrooms and root vegetables like radish or carrots.
Vegetables can add extra flavor to the clear chicken stock such as a sweet undertone.
For the chicken stock
- Half a chicken
- 1 thumb ginger
- 4 white peppercorns
- 4 L water
For noodle serving (2 serving)
- 2 blocks of noodles
- 4 green onions chopped
- 6 twists of white pepper powder
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoon of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- shredded chicken meat
Make the chicken soup
- Crush the ginger.
- Prepare the broth: In a pot with water, add chicken, ginger, and white peppercorns. Simmer and remove any impurities that float to the surface. Then simmer for 1 and half hour. You can also use instant pot to make the chicken broth.
Shred and seasoning the chicken
- Remove the chicken, shred it, and mix with ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
Cook and assemble the noodles
- For the noodle soup seasoning, in a bowl, add ¼ teaspoon salt, dash of white pepper powder, 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce, chopped green onions, and then scoop around 1 cup of chicken broth.
- In boiling water, cook the noodles for 2 minutes. Transfer the noodle to the serving pot and then pour the chicken stock to cover the noodles.
- Top the noodles with shredded chicken and serve.
- Optionally, you can serve the noodle soup with 1 teaspoon of chili sauce or Laoganma sauce.
Other Interesting Chinese Noodles
Noodles are quite important in Chinese culture and we are always willing to spend lots of time preparing the broth of noodles (汤底) and the toppings. Here are some of the most renowned Chinese noodle dishes from various provinces and regions:
- Dan Dan Noodles (担担面 Dàndàn Miàn): This is my favorite noodle. It originates from Sichuan province and is famous for its spicy and numbing flavor. I love that crispy meat toppings so much.
- Lanzhou Hand-Pulled Noodles (兰州拉面 Lánzhōu Lāmiàn): These are from Gansu province and are famous for the art of noodle pulling. The dish usually consists of clear beef broth, tender beef slices, radish, and chewy hand-pulled noodles.
- Beijing Zhajiang Noodles (炸酱面 Zhájiàng Miàn): A northern Chinese dish, it features thick wheat noodles topped with a rich and salty fermented soybean paste (zhajiang), often cooked with minced meat.
- Chongqing Noodles (重庆小面 Chóngqìng Xiǎomiàn): A spicy noodle dish from Chongqing, typically served with a peppery and pungent red broth and a variety of toppings like minced pork, peanuts, and green onions.
Ginger provides warmth and eliminates any potential gamey taste from the chicken. Green onions, on the other hand, lend a fresh, crisp finish to the dish.
Using free-range chickens, which are traditionally preferred, results in a firmer texture and a richer flavor in the soup. The part of the chicken used can also influence the taste; for instance, using the whole chicken provides a more rounded flavor, while the breast might yield a lighter taste.
While homemade broth simmered with patience and fresh ingredients is ideal, a quality store-bought version can work in a pinch. To enhance the flavor, consider adding fresh ingredients or adjusting the seasonings according to personal preferences.
While the traditional recipe uses chicken, a vegetarian version can replace chicken with tofu or mushrooms, which both absorb flavors well. Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth. Adjust seasonings and ingredients as needed to ensure a rich and flavorful vegetarian soup.