The next time you roast a chicken, save the leftovers for this satisfying noodle soup. Save unwanted bits—bones, pan juices—and add them to the broth for extra oomph. Cut or shred the succulent flesh for the topping. To get the required 285g of meat, debone half a breast plus a thigh or drumstick from a roast chicken, or two chicken thighs.
- 4 large or 6 small dried shiitake mushrooms
- 470ml hot water
- 2 large spring onions
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled, cut into 4 or 5 coins, and bruised
- 1.4l chicken stock
- 285g deboned rotisserie chicken or roast chicken, cut into bite-size pieces, plus the leftover chicken carcass, bones, unwanted parts, pan juices, and skin
- 1 tsp Chinese five-spice
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tsp maple syrup, or 1 tsp sugar
- 1½ tbsp soy sauce
- 225g dried Chinese wheat noodles, ramen, or soba, boiled according the package directions and drained
- 5g coriander, chopped
- 285g baby bok choy, halved lengthwise and cut diagonally into pieces about 1 inch wide and 2 inches long
- Ground black pepper
Place the mushrooms in a medium bowl, add 235ml of the hot water, and let soak for 15 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and set aside.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the green parts of the spring onions and set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining white sections into pinkie-finger lengths and bruise them.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the sesame oil. Add the bruised ginger and white parts of the spring onions and cook until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, chicken bits, mushroom soaking liquid, and remaining water. Partially cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then adjust the heat to a simmer. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface and add the five-spice powder, 1 tsp salt, maple syrup, and soy sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes. If needed, skim off any fat.
Pour the broth through a mesh strainer into a clean pot. (Line the strainer with muslin for super-clear broth.) You should have around 1.6 litres. if needed, return to the stove top and boil down to concentrate flavors or add water to dilute.
Stem and quarter the shiitake mushrooms, then add to the broth. (At this point, you can transfer the mushrooms and broth to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.) Return the broth to a simmer over high heat, adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer.
Meanwhile, divide the noodles among four noodle-soup bowls. Arrange the chicken on top in one layer. If the noodles and chicken are cold, warm them in the microwave with 20-second blasts. Top with the sliced spring onion and coriander.
Add the bok choy to the simmering broth and cook for about 1 minute, until bright green and slightly soft. Taste and, if needed, season the broth with more salt. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, then divide the broth and vegetables among the bowls. Drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with pepper to serve.
Tips and Tricks
If dried shiitake mushrooms are unavailable, use 6 medium fresh mushrooms. There won’t be any soaking liquid, so add an additional 1 cup water to the broth.
If you’re short on meat, boil a few eggs and add them, halved, to the soup bowls. (Cook the eggs in the pot you use to boil your noodles.)
Andrea Nguyen’s Vietnamese Food Any Day, Ten Speed Press, £25.