A simple golden chicken broth from simmering a whole chicken, that is richly flavored with dried shiitake mushrooms. This soup takes origins from Chinese history when children were forced to work as farmers but created culinary excellence from nourishing, simple, local ingredients. This recipe is modified into a noodle soup with fried onion and spinach or leafy green vegetable of your choice. A very fast and easy meal to make, but with delicious warm and hearty results.
Ingredients (serves 8)
1 whole chicken (Medium size)
Dried shiitake mushrooms (10-12)
Garlic (12 cloves)
Water (10-12 cups)
Fried red onion
First you'll need some chicken for the heart and soul of the soup. PIctured on top are some options. On the left, you'll see chicken bones and a whole chicken. The chicken bones can be found at an Asian market usually, the whole chicken you can probably find anywhere. On the right is a brown chicken sold at Asian supermarkets. I recommend the brown fresh chicken on the right as the flavors are stronger and the meat taste a bit better in my opinion. But if you aren't picky, any chicken will do.
Dried shiitake mushrooms. I am still experimenting on which brand taste the best as they vary. The best ones I have used come from Taiwan which is obviously hard to obtain here in the U.S. Also shown is 1 whole garlic.
Wash the dried mushrooms and soak in water for about 5 minutes. I used about 14 but 10 should be enough. Also start peeling the garlic cloves and crush them a bit.
Fill a big pot of water and start boiling the chicken parts. I do a parboil for the chicken and bones just to rid the impurities for just a few minutes. You don't want to boil too long or you'll lose all the flavors!
The chicken and bones all cleaned!
Drop the chicken and bones back in a pot with about 10 cups of boiling water.
After boiling for a few minutes, drop all the mushrooms after giving it one more rinse, and the garlic. Lightly boil, just enough for some bubbles, for about 45 minutes with the cover on. You will see the broth start to golden in color.
Take out the chicken and let it cool for about 20 minutes while the broth can be still on lightly boiling with the lid on since there are still bones in there. Start shredding up the chicken with your hands into bite size pieces and save it in a tupperware.
Put the leftover chicken bones back into the broth and boil for another 2-3 hours lightly with the lid on. The broth should condense a bit more and golden up in color more as well.
Strain the broth into another pot and discard all the bones. Make sure you put the shiitake mushrooms back into the broth!
If you want to remove the fat, refrigerate it over night, and skim off the top layer (fat) once it has harden.
Now to prepare the dish, boil your choice of noodles in water. For Taiwanese noodles, boil for 2 minutes, then drop some of the shredded chicken. The chicken is already cooked and this is just to warm it back up. Boil for 1 minute longer, then drop some spinach in and boil for another 1 minute. Strain it and dump it in all in a bowl.
Rearrange the spinach and chicken to the top of the noodles. Once the noodles, chicken, and spinach is set, add the boiling broth with 2 shiitake mushrooms. You can then add some black pepper and fried red onions to enhance the taste.
Finished product. Enjoy!