Friday, April 13, 2012

Asian Chicken Udon Soup

This is pretty much an "Asian" chicken soup. There are some Japanese and Thai influences going on here so it's by no means a traditional recipe.

While I'll admit that it was a little more labor intensive than I wanted it to be, it turned out really well, so I'll stand by the results. 

Asian Chicken Udon Soup
(from here)

8 cups water
3 tsp. instant dashi
1/2 whole chicken
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion – cut in quarters
1 medium carrot – cut into thirds
1 celery stick – cut into thirds
1 stalk lemongrass – cut into thirds (I used lemongrass paste)
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. tamarind syrup
1 lime – juice only
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar

To serve:
3 individual packages of udon noodles
2 medium carrots
3 scallions – chopped (garnish)
4-5 tsp. black and white sesame seeds (garnish)


Begin by getting your water and instant dashi into a soup pot over high heat.

Add 6 cloves garlic, smashed, 1 large onion – cut in quarters, 1 medium carrot – cut into thirds, 1 celery stick – cut into thirds, 1 stalk lemongrass – cut into thirds (I used lemongrass paste) and 2 inch piece of fresh ginger to the pot.

Nestle the chicken into the broth.

Let the soup come to a boil then drop the heat to med/high and let the whole thing simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

When the chicken is done, remove it and let it cool enough to handle.

Break it down into it's component parts.

Remove the meat from the bones.

Shred it.

Toss the bones and other bits back in the pot for maximum flavor.

I let this go for another coupe hours. Give it at least an hour but plan to let it go for a while to develop flavor.

Meanwhile you can prep the garnish.

Slice up some green onions.

Blanch some carrots for 3 minutes in boiling water.

Shock them in an ice bath.

Slice them on the bias and set aside for now.

When your stock if fully matured, strain and discard all the solids.

Return the broth back to the pot. 

Add 2 tsp. kosher salt, 2 Tbsp. tamarind syrup, 1 lime – juice only, 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, and 1 tsp. sugar.

Give the soup a taste at this point. Adjust for salt or acid or sweetness. You want it all in balance. Sometimes it just takes another squirt of fish sauce or a pinch of sugar.

When your broth tastes balanced, add the chicken to the soup.

Heat over medium until everything is heated through.

To serve, just plop the udon noodles into a bowl and ladle the soup over top.

Garnish with the blanched carrots and onions. You can shake on some sesame seeds too.

This soup was really good. I loved the Asian twist on the very familiar flavors of a typical chicken soup. The tartness of the tamarind and lime worked really well with the saltiness of the fish sauce and the sweetness balanced everything out. The carrots were actually a nice accompaniment and we ended up going back for more.

Overall, a great soup that I'd like to experiment with again in the future.


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