Last winter while I was battling a mild cold, I thought I would do a culinary round-the-world tour of chicken noodle soup. I started in North America, then jumped to Asia, zigged back to South America, went across the pond to Europe and finally ended in the Middle East. It was a fun culinary ‘tour’ and was a great way to try some new ways to dress up an old classic. Sure, grandma’s chicken noodle soup, we all agree, is the best in the world, but it’s still fun to explore.
This version pays homage to Thai cuisine with the addition of brightly colored turmeric and ginger, yet adds a hint of Japan with the soba noodles (mainly because that’s what I happened to have in my cupboard).
Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast (can substitute boneless for faster cooking)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 medium yellow onion, quartered
- 2 medium stalks carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. black peppercorns
- 1 tsp. lemongrass paste
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 1/2 tsp. fish sauce
- 4 ounces dried soba noodles
- 2 scallions, diagonally sliced
- 2 tsp. chili paste
- Over medium-high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and add the chicken breast, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, peppercorns and salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken breast at it’s thickest part is 160°F. Transfer chicken breast to a plate, let cool for about 5 minutes then shred with a fork.
- If using bone-in chicken, return the bones to the stock, turn heat to medium-high, add another cup of water and boil until stock is reduced by a third, about 30 minutes.
- Strain the stock to remove solids and return stock to the saucepan on medium-low heat, discarding solids. Return shredded chicken to the stock, add carrots and cook just until carrots are tender, about 5-6 minutes. Taste, and add more salt as needed.
- While the stock is simmering, cook the soba noodles according to package directions in a separate saucepan, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop noodles from cooking.
- Add the noodles to the bowls then ladle chicken soup over the noodles. Garnish with sliced scallions and chili paste.