Asian Chicken Noodle Soup
The secret to an exceptional Asian chicken noodle soup is in the flavor and richness of the broth. That's chicken bone broth made with the right herbs and spices.In this recipe, chicken bones were simmered with charred garlic, shallots, peppercorns and a stalk of lemongrass to make the broth.
For the broth
- 1 stalk lemongrass light green portion only
- ½ head garlic
- 2 shallots cut into halves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- ½ kilogram chicken necks (see notes after the recipe)
- ¼ cup rock salt
- fish sauce to taste
For the chicken noodle soup
- 1 large chicken breast fillet
- cooked egg noodles for two
- sliced scallions
- fried shallots (see notes after the recipe)
- fried garlic (see notes after the recipe)
Make the broth
- Lightly pound the lemongrass.
- In an oil free pan, toast the lemongrass, garlic and shallots until charred.
- Using kitchen paper, wipe off any burnt portions of the skins of the garlic and shallots.
- Dump the lemongrass, garlic, shallots and peppercorns into a pot.
- Pour in six cups of water and bring to the boil.
- Rinse the chicken necks then rub thoroughly with rock salt (this minimizes the formation of scum in the broth).
- Rinse the chicken necks well then drop into the boiling water.
- Stir in two tablespoons fish sauce.
- When the liquid reaches boiling point, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer the chicken necks for an hour or longer. Taste the broth occasionally and add more fish sauce, as needed.
Make the chicken noodle soup
- Wipe the chicken breast fillet with kitchen paper then drop into the simmering broth.
- Cook the breast fillet for five minutes then turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the breast fillet finish cooking in the residual heat for another ten minutes.
- Fish out the fillet and transfer to a plate.
- Strain the broth (see notes after the recipe).
- Using two forks, break the chicken breast fillet into bite-size pieces.
- Divide the cooked noodles between two bowls.
- Divide the chicken breast fillet into two portions and add one portion to each bowl of noodles.
- Pour hot broth over the chicken and noodles.
- Garnish with sliced scallions, fried shallots and fried garlic.
Chicken parts with lots of bones make the best broth. In my part of the world, chicken necks can be bought by weight exactly for that purpose. If you can’t get chicken necks, the back of the chicken is great for making broth too. If you’re wondering what can be done with the chicken necks after straining the broth, the little meat can be made into chicken salad sandwich. Be generous with the seasonings though since the meat is really bland after the chicken flavors have been transferred to the cooking liquid. The skins can be air-dried on a rack and fried into cracklings. Fried shallots and garlic are available in Asian groceries. Updated from a recipe originally published in July 4, 2020