Thai Chicken Udon Soup
Udon soup is a Japanese dish consisting of dashi broth (made with bonito flakes and kombu), soy sauce, mirin, and salt. Udon noodles are thick and contain wheat flour and salt. There are several types of udon soup, but I usually like to order the nabeyaki udon because it comes with tempura, soft boiled egg, and vegetables. My soup is a milder version of the traditional tom yum gai (Thai chicken soup) with shitake mushrooms, spinach, scallions and carrots.
Like many Asian noodle soups, they’re served cold in the warmer months and hot in the winter months. What’s served with the soup depends upon what vegetables or meats are plentiful during that season. Try chilled noodle soup in the summer if you haven’t yet.
ingredients for soup stock
8 cups water
4 chicken thigh bones
1 chicken breast
6 cloves garlic (bruised or lightly crushed)
1/2 large onion – cut in half
1 medium carrot – cut into thirds
1 celery stick – cut into thirds
1 stalk lemongrass – cut into thirds (inner light parts only)
2 inch piece of galanga
2 plum tomatoes – sliced in half
8-10 dried shitake mushrooms – soak in hot water for 45 mins., discard stems, cut in thirds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
1 lime – juice only
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
4-5 individual packages of udon noodles
2 medium carrots – cut in half, then in half moon shape, then blanched
12 ounces of fresh spinach – blanched
3 scallions – chopped (garnish)
4-5 teaspoons black and white sesame seeds (garnish)
2-3 teaspoons Thai chili powder – 1/2 tsp. per person (garnish)
1. soup stock (part 1): water, chicken bones, chicken breast, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, lemongrass, galanga, tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, kosher salt
In a large pot on medium high heat, bring water to a boil. Add all ingredients for soup stock except for tamarind, lime juice and fish sauce (add these 3 at end). Wait for water to come back to a boil and cook for 10 mins. Remove chicken breast to cool on plate or cutting board. Turn heat to low. Simmer stock for 20 mins.
2. chicken breast
When chicken breast is cool enough to handle, shred chicken to bite size pieces with your hands or fork. The chicken will be not be fully cooked but that’s ok. We will be adding the pieces back into the stock before serving.
3. soup stock (part 2)
Except for shitake mushrooms, remove and discard all ingredients from stock pot by using a hand held strainer or if you prefer a clearer stock use a cheese cloth while straining.
4. tamarind, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, chicken breast
On medium high heat, bring the soup stock back to a boil and add tamarind, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Taste for balance. If stock needs more tartness from tamarind, more saltiness from fish sauce, or a touch more sugar. Then add chicken breast and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn off and get ready to serve.
5. final steps
Divide noodles evenly amongst 4-5 bowls. Add blanced carrots and spinach to each bowl. Add broth evenly to each bowl. Let each person decide which garnish he/she prefers to add. Enjoy!