Food for Friday — Cantonese Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is the epitome of comfort food for the suffering souls in Fall and Winter. Certainly, when I was young, my Nana would break out a can of Campbell’s whenever I was feeling under the weather. Now that I’m significantly older and married to a wonderful Chinese fellow, my go-to soup for when I’m sick or caring for others is actually this Cantonese style chicken noodle soup. It’s got a lot going for it, really. To start with, you can pack it full of ginger and green onions which are great for helping you back on your feet. It’s also very easy to make but is miles more tasty than anything that ever came from a can.
And actually, while it doesn’t come from a can it does benefit from two pre-made store-bought ingredients: chicken broth and wonton. If you really want to go all out, you can make each of these from scratch, and I have, but when we’re under the weather, the store-bought versions are a much more appealing option. Heck, even when I’m not sick, I’m totally fine with the boxed broth and frozen wonton. Keep these items – and a bottle of soy sauce on hand – and you’ll be that much closer to whipping up a “feel good” dinner with very little prep time.
- 1 pkg pre-made wontons of your choice; if you’re not sure what you like stick with Pork or Pork and Veggie varieties
- 1 L low sodium chicken stock, or homemade with little or no salt
- 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
- Ginger, chopped into matchsticks
- 1 pkg thin Chinese egg noodles, fresh or dried; sometimes called Wonton soup noodles
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 1-2 heads of shanghai bok choy; or 4 baby bok choy with stems chopped and leaves separated
- 8 shitake mushrooms, whole or coarsely chopped
- Green onions, chopped
- Soy sauce, optional
Cook the noodles to al dente, about 3 – 5minutes, ensuring that you stir the noodles and prevent them from sticking/clumping during cooking. Remove the cooked noodles from the water with tongs, or chopsticks if you’re a pro with them, and distribute them among the 4 bowls. If you’re using fresh noodles, you’ll probably only need 2 – 3 servings of the noodles from the package. Top the noodles with the cooked wontons, about 4 to 6 per bowl.
Return the stock to a boil and prepare to cook the vegetables. Add the longer cooking vegetables first and the faster cooking vegetables last. So, start with the carrots and cook 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes. Add the bok choy and cook for just 1 minute.
Options: You can vary the veggies that you add, though carrots and mushrooms and bok choy are the classics for this kind of soup. Consider bamboo, gai lan, and taro. Also, shrimp is a popular addition to this soup; add it with the vegetables during cooking.
|Bits of our train set take a peek of the soup during dinner prep.|
So, this particular way of making the soup might not be how they make it in high-end restaurants in Hong Kong but this is the way my mother-in-law taught me how to do it.
Of course, when we’re talking about comfort food, don’t we always just want it the way our Mom’s prepared it for us when we were young?
Do you have a favorite comfort food that you prepare ‘just the way Mom used to make it’? Share yours in the comments and stay healthy everyone!