This Chinese Noodle Soup is perfect for busy weeknights AND end of week fridge clean outs because it’s so fast and easy and you can toss in any vegetables and proteins you have. The soup broth tastes like what you get from Chinese restaurants even though this is made using a store bought chicken broth as a base. And it’s just 332 calories for a big satisfying bowl!
This truly is dinner on the table in just 20 minutes. Made from scratch. And perfect for the cooler evenings we’re now experiencing here in Sydney!
If you’ve ever been disappointed by a recipe for an Asian soup broth before, it’s probably because it was missing basic but essential flavourings. It takes more than just chicken broth and soy sauce to make a Chinese soup broth. The key ingredient that makes a difference is Chinese cooking wine, which can be substituted with sherry or even mirin or sake in this case. I’ve provided lots of substitutions and additional flavourings in the notes for this recipe because it’s a great one to use as a base and adapt to your own taste!
The other essentials are garlic and ginger. Well actually, I consider ginger to be optional but garlic is not! Simmering the broth for just 5 minutes with crushed garlic (and preferably ginger) does wonders to transform chicken broth.
Oops. I just realised that I totally missed scooping up GARLIC in the ladle below, I just got ginger! 🙂
This Chinese Noodle Soup really is one of my classic “back pocket” recipes because it’s so versatile. Here’s a run down of how it goes – and the bare minimum required to make this really tasty:
- Broth – Simmer chicken broth + soy sauce + Chinese cooking wine (or any sub provided) + garlic & ginger for 5 minutes. Additional flavouring options including: sesame oil, sugar (just a touch), star anise, chilli paste, scallions or onions;
- Noodles – Prepare fresh OR dried noodles according to packet directions;
- Toppings – Rummage in fridge and locate vegetables & proteins of choice. Chop roughly and toss into the broth to cook; and
- Serve – Place noodles in bowls. Pour over soup and toppings.
I usually use fresh thin egg noodles for Chinese Noodle Soup which is the type Chinese restaurants usually use. But the beauty of this recipe is that you can use any noodles you want, dried or fresh. Egg noodles, rice noodles, fat noodles, thin noodles. Even ramen noodles. (I put my foot down at spaghetti….but hey, I won’t judge!).
This is the brand I usually get which is from a Chinese grocery store. But honestly, you can find very similar at all the major supermarkets in Australia and I’ve provided links in the recipe so you can see exactly which ones I am referring to.
But if you do want to get yours from a Chinese grocery store and just happen to not be able to read Chinese, look for the helpful pictures on the packet. 😉
This is one of those rare meals that really ticks all the boxes – it’s satisfying, yet healthy (just 332 calories – and you can beef it up with LOADS more veggies), it’s fast to make from scratch and noodles are always a crowd pleaser, aren’t they?
I’ve been meaning to share this for ages, I’m so glad I finally got around to it because this is such a regular in my midweek meal repertoire. No matter how bare my fridge is, or whatever weird random bits of leftovers I have, I always have something suitable to toss into this soup! – Nagi x
PS To those of you in Australia, you may have noticed that the supermarkets now sell Asian Soup Broth (Campbell’s brand). This is better. Promise!
- 3 cups / 750 ml chicken broth (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , smashed (Note 2)
- 1/3" / 1 cm piece of ginger , sliced (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce (or normal all purpose soy sauce)
- 2 tsp sugar (any)
- 1½ tbsp chinese cooking wine (Note 3)
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 6 oz / 180g fresh egg noodles (Note 5 for options)
- 2 large bok choy plus/or other vegetables of choice
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (or other protein of choice)
- 1 scallion / shallot , green part only finely sliced (optional garnish)
Place Broth ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Place lid on, bring to simmer then reduce to medium high and simmer for 5 - 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to packet directions.
Cut vegetables to desired size. For bok choy, cut them into quarters (cut a cross into the base and tear it into neat quarters with your hands).
Pick ginger and garlic out of soup broth. Add buk choi and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken then turn the stove off.
Place noodles in bowls. Divide soup and toppings between bowls. Garnish with shallots if using. Great served with chilli paste or fresh chillis.
1. Just store bought chicken broth is fine. Though of course, homemade would take this to another level!
2. To smash garlic cloves, just wack the side of your knife onto a garlic clove so it bursts open but remains mostly in one piece. This allows the flavour to seep into the soup and easily pick it out before serving. You could just mince the garlic using a garlic crusher but you'll have little bits of garlic visible in the broth, rather than being a clear clean broth.
3. Chinese cooking wine is a key ingredient to transform store bought chicken broth into a restaurant-quality soup broth. Dry Sherry is an excellent substitute. Otherwise, sake or mirin are adequate substitutes.
If you cannot use alcohol, I think the best sub is 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 tbsp of apple juice OR just 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar OR Verjuice.
4. Extra broth flavouring options: star anise, chilli paste or sriracha, scallions / shallots (just fold them).
5. Noodles: Use any you want, fresh or dried. Prepare them according to packet directions - do not add into the broth (it sucks up lots of the broth). I use thin fresh egg noodles (see photo in post), like this one from Woolworths (Australia) which is what Chinese restaurants typically use.
But Hokkien (thin is better, but the fat one is ok too), Singapore Noodles and other egg noodles would also be fine, as well as any dried or fresh rice noodles.
6. Toppings: Cook proteins separately to keep things simple. My "go to" is shredded cooked chicken because I keep little bags in the freezer. Egg is also great - just whisk it lightly, pour it in and whisk to create egg "ribbons". Chinese BBQ Pork Slices is epic - but I never have leftovers.
For vegetables, I cut them and put them into the broth to cook. Put the vegetables that will take the longest to cook in the broth first, and delicate ones last.
REMEMBER: The vegetables will continue to cook while you are serving! So for example, I only add the buk choi 1 minute before taking it off the stove.
Veggie suggestions: Any Chinese veggies (bok choy, gain lan/Chinese broccoli, choi sum) cut into batons or quartered (if small) per photo, carrots sliced on the diagonal, scallions/shallots and bean sprouts are the toppings commonly found on Chinese noodle/ wonton soups.
But these veggies also go well (though not common in Chinese restaurants): zucchini (sliced), cabbage (thick slice), asparagus, broccoli / broccolini and cauliflower, or any other vegetable that can be boiled.
7. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 1/4 tsp of sesame oil is used. The nutrition can be substantially enhanced by adding more vegetables!
Life of Dozer: Baby Hands and Giant Paws. Evidence for anyone who has wondered how small my hands really are. 😉
See how big he is? (aka how SHORT I am??)