I was feeling a little under the weather yesterday and I needed something to make me feel better. I hate having to take medication but the right food always seems to make anything better. So I made myself a classic American comfort food to warm me up – Chicken noodle soup.
Although the variety of soup in Hong Kong is abundant, chicken noodle soup isn’t as much of a staple as it is in the United States. Unless you’re dining in a western restaurant or buying sachets of instant versions from your local grocery store, it’s not often you’d conveniently find a bowl of the American classic on a day when your soul most needs it.
For those of you who don’t know, I love to cook as much as I love to eat, and I love making cooking dishes from scratch just as much. So instead of grabbing some instant soup from the store, I decided to make some for myself. It’s amazingly easy and quick to cook. And trust me, a home cooked chicken noodle soup beats the instant stuff ten folds and costs four times less than what you would typically pay for at a restaurant.
I never measure my ingredients when I cook. I usually leave it to my senses as I go along, but to make 1-2 medium size bowls of this dish, you’ll need:
1 cup pasta
2 cups of chicken broth
1 stick of butter
1 chicken breast
A traditional recipe of the classic chicken noodle soup consists of a much longer process, having to reduce a whole chicken with the vegetables and herbs to make the broth before straining it into another pot before adding the pasta and tearing the tender chicken into the soup. However, despite how much I prefer to make everything from scratch, I didn’t have 3 hours to make the broth myself, so using store bought chicken brought with as little to no MSG in it was the next best alternative.
In Hong Kong cuisine, butter is not often used in cooking local dishes. Instead, here we use peanut or vegetable oil. Because, I did brown my chopped chicken breast before adding my vegetables and broth, using butter instead of oil leaves the color of the vegetables to remain vibrant while giving the soup a smoother texture than if I had used oil. No one likes an oily soup.
There are different variations in seasoning a pot of chicken noodle soup, it really depends on your preference but for mine, I used:
– Garlic Powder
– Salt & Pepper
Note: if you’re using dried rosemary leaves,
remember to grind them before adding it to your pot. Otherwise, you’ll have to pull out a hard dried strand of rosemary leaf after each slurp.
Other herbs you can use to season your soup are: Basil and Thyme.
You can use pretty much any pasta in cooking your own version of this dish, but I prefer using spaghetti just because there’s less chewing involved. (I make work hard in the kitchen, but I’ll find every other opportunity to be lazy)
If you are using spaghetti, or any lengthy pasta, remember to snap them into bite sized pieces before adding it into your boiling pot of broth. Unless, you prefer eating it as if it were a bowl of Chinese-style noodle in soup, then go ahead. To each his own!
Once you’ve browned your chicken, added your vegetables and seasoning and brought your broth to a boil, you can add your pasta to the pot for about 5 minutes, or until it’s cooked.
Don’t forget to taste your dish and add extra seasoning if needed, but be careful not to burn your tongue, or at least blow on it before putting it in your mouth. I made the stupid mistake of sipping on a steaming spoon of soup because I was too compelled by the smell of it.
When it tastes perfect enough for you. Get it into a bowl, toast a slice of bread or two, and enjoy yourself a bowl of hot chicken noodle soup…for your soul.
Follow me on instagram @iforloozer to see more home cooked dishes and things that I eat, laugh or cheers to that make the rainy days beautiful.