Recipe video above. This is a really quick and easy soup recipe that's filling and nourishing. The Asian infused soup broth adapted from my Chinese Noodle Soup has a depth of flavour that belies the few ingredients called for. As for add ins - in the spirit of simplicity and speed, I've just used fish and choy sum. But you're only limited by your imagination!
Combine broth ingredients: Place chicken stock, soy sauce, Chinesse cooking wine, garlic and ginger in a small pot over high heat.
Simmer to infuse: Place lid on, bring to simmer then reduce to medium and simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Add rice: Add rice and cook uncovered for 10 minutes - broth surface should be bubbling very gently.
Add fish & stems: Add fish and stems of choy sum, cook for 2 minutes.
Pick garlic and ginger out of soup.
Stir through choy sum leaves (they will wilt almost instantly), sesame oil and pepper. Serve immediately.
1. Chicken stock/broth - just store bought chicken broth is fine here, but get a good quality one (Campbells in Australia is my favourite brand). Don't use chicken stock powder with hot water for this recipe – the flavour is too artificially chicken-y.2. Smashed Garlic - whack the side of your knife onto a garlic clove using the heel of your hand so it bursts open but remains mostly in one piece. This allows the flavour to seep into the soup but can be picked out before serving (or leave them in if you prefer). 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. Light soy will season broth without discolouring it. All purpose soy works nearly as well, do not use dark soy (too strong flavour and colour). Read more about different soy sauces and when you can sub with what here.4. 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, Japanese cooking sake or mirin are good substitutes.If you cannot use alcohol, I think the best sub is as follows:
Reduce soy sauce to 2 tsp
Add 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce (this has umami and will add complexity into the broth flavour to compensate for leaving out cooking wine).
5. Sesame oil - use toasted (brown colour, more intense sesame flavour), not untoasted (yellow, not common in Australia).6. Rice: Virtually any white rice will work in this, except speciality rices like risotto or paella rice. All these white rice will work well:
long, medium or short grain white rice
Brown rice - cook time differs depending on rice type (see How to Cook Brown Rice to learn more), amend recipe as follows:
Brown basmati - follow recipe as written
Medium and long grain brown rice - add 1 cup water, simmer rice for 30 minutes with lid open a crack
7. Vegetables - anything that cooks well in liquid will work great here.
Any Chinese veggies - bok choy/buk choi/pak choi, gai lan/Chinese broccoli, choy sum. Cut Bok Choy into half or quarters lengthwise (pictured / video). For other veg, cut per recipe
Carrots and zucchini sliced, green beans, asparagus, broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower, beansprouts
Put vegetables in the order of time it takes for them to cook. Delicate veg like beansprouts at the end, veg that take longer like carrots halfway through rice cooking time.
8. Fish - Firm white fish work best in this dish. Salmon and trout are also mild enough to use here. Avoid tuna, bonito, swordfish, marlin and kingfish (too easy to overcook) and very oily fish (sardines, mullet, herring, mackerel). Delicate-fleshed white fish like flathead, gemfish/hake and sole can be used, but be careful as they can break up.Alternatives:
Prawns/shrimp - plonk the raw prawns straight into the broth. No need to season beforehand. Large prawns will take 3 minutes to cook, medium 2 minutes, small 1 minute;
Chicken - slice thinly, tenderise using this Chinese velveting method to ensure it stays soft and tender. After tenderising, toss with a pinch of salt and pepper prior to cooking. Use breast or boneless thigh, simmer for 2 minutes;
Pork - as above with chicken (including tenderising). Tenderloin, scotch fillet, chops, thinly sliced into strips. Simmer for 2 minutes;
Cooked chicken - make poached chicken (use this Foolproof Method) or use any other cooked chicken. Dice or finely slice, place on soup after serving;
Other cooked proteins - any other cooked protein that's relatively plain or has Asian flavours. See in post for ideas - halfway down the page.
9. Crispy Fried Shallots & Crunchy Noodles - both sold in the Asian section of everyday grocery stores, see post for photos. A little goes a long way to adding an extra special touch! BUT even without toppings, it's still fabulously delicious - I often have it naked!10. Extra broth flavouring options: star anise, chilli (whole, split lengthwise), green onion (whole, just fold them and tuff in) or onion quarters.11. Leftovers: Separate rice from broth (use colander or slotted spoon). Keeps 4 days in the fridge, or freezer up to 3 months.12. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 4 servings, excludes Toppings (because I have no control over how much you will use!).