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Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger, Chile & Cilantro

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger, Chile & Cilantro

When we get our first hint of cooler weather I all of a sudden have an uncontrollable urge to cook like a madwoman. I’ve cooked a bunch of things this week, but soup has been really compelling. First was the curried carrot soup in the previous post, and now is a delicious, and pretty quick, chicken noodle soup with an Asian twist to it. Once the prep work was completed, the soup was cooked, start to finish, in maybe 10 minutes!

My twins were away on a school trip, my husband was away on a bike trip, and Amanda’s back at college, so it was just India and me. A strangely quiet house for a mom used to chaos most of the time. India, however, is by far my pickiest eater, and I thought the fish sauce called for in here might throw her, so I opted to omit it. If you’ve got picky eaters you might do the same, but you will need to compensate by salting the soup. I also thought a good dose of pepper was a necessary addition, although white pepper might be more appropriate than black. Fish sauce varies in its saltiness from brand to brand. So it’s a good idea to prepare the soup with the modest amount specified in this recipe, and then at serving time, pass around the fish sauce so people can season their portions with a touch more if they wish.

The original recipe called for 4 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles (they said to look in the produce section of your supermarket). While I have seen these in supermarkets many times before, of course there were none to be found at the market I was at today. I substituted a 5 oz. package of Japanese Curly Noodles (Chuka Soba), which looks just like the dried noodles you get in a package of ramen noodles. These seemed to work perfectly well, but I did cook them a little less than the fresh noodles called for.

Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger, Chile & Cilantro

From Fine Cooking #77, p. 56, February 1, 2006. Altered (slightly) by Crafty Farm Girl, September, 2011.

Yields 7 cups, serves four.

1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
6 cups homemade or canned low-salt chicken broth
5 oz. Japanese Curly Noodles (Chuka Soba), or 4 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles
2 Tbs. fish sauce (preferably Thai Kitchen brand); more to taste (optional, see above)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (this is easier if the chicken is partially frozen)

Chicken is so much easier to slice thinly if you partially freeze it first.



Finely grate 1 tsp. of zest from the lemon and put in a small dish. Add the cilantro and ginger, and mix together. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze it to obtain 3 Tbs. of juice. Thinly slice two of the chile halves crosswise.


In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemon juice, fish sauce (if using), and the 2 remaining chile halves to the boiling stock. If you are using fresh Chinese egg noodles then you’ll add those now. If you are using the dried noodles, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer about two minutes. Add the noodles, cover, and cook the soup until the noodles are almost cooked, about 3 minutes.


Remove the chile halves. Stir in the chicken and chile slices and return to a boil. separate the slices with two forks if necessary while they’re cooking. Remove the pan from the heat, making sure the chicken slices are just cooked through. Taste and add a touch more fish sauce, if you like. Divide the soup evenly among four serving bowls. Divide the cilantro mixture among the bowls, stir, and serve. (I did add a bit of the mixture to the pot of soup, and then divided the rest among the bowls of soup.)







Lemony Chicken Noodle Soup with Ginger, Chile & Cilantro

From Fine Cooking #77, p. 56, February 1, 2006. Altered (slightly) by Crafty Farm Girl, September, 2011.

Yields 7 cups, serves four.

1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, halved, and seeded
6 cups homemade or canned low-salt chicken broth
5 oz. Japanese Curly Noodles (Chuka Soba), or 4 oz. fresh Chinese egg noodles
2 Tbs. fish sauce (preferably Thai Kitchen brand); more to taste
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (this is easier if the chicken is partially frozen)

Finely grate 1 tsp. of zest from the lemon and put in a small dish. Add the cilantro and ginger, and mix together. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze it to obtain 3 Tbs. of juice. Thinly slice two of the chile halves crosswise.

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemon juice, fish sauce (if using), and the 2 remaining chile halves to the boiling stock. If you are using fresh Chinese egg noodles then you’ll add those now. If you are using the dried noodles, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer about two minutes. Add the noodles, cover, and cook the soup until the noodles are almost cooked, about 3 minutes.

Remove the chile halves. Stir in the chicken and chile slices and return to a boil. separate the slices with two forks if necessary while they’re cooking. Remove the pan from the heat, making sure the chicken slices are just cooked through. Taste and add a touch more fish sauce, if you like. Divide the soup evenly among four serving bowls. Divide the cilantro mixture among the bowls, stir, and serve. (I did add a bit of the mixture to the pot of soup, and then divided the rest among the bowls of soup.)