Chinese people, especially more traditional ones, are very particular with soup. My dad used to be one of those people, but he’s mellowed out a lot. Before, he used to demand that my mom boil him soup daily. Sometimes, if my mom made a big enough pot, we’d have leftover soup from the night before, but when we did, my dad would grumble. He’s less crotchety now, even though he’s older. You’d think he’d become more particular while growing older, but instead he’s definitely more relaxed.
I guess it could be all those Chinese soups he drank in his youth. Chinese soups are supposed to have healing, restorative qualities. I’m not too sure about the health benefits, but I do know that they taste good. I’ve never actually made Chinese soup; if want some, it’s just much easier to go back to my parent’s place. Chinese soups are long-boiling, mysterious creatures.
What I do make, instead of those long-boiling pots of soup, is a simple chicken and ginger broth. I love the subtle spiciness of the ginger in this soup. It’s great as the broth for a bowl full of noodles. Add some shredded chicken, shiitake mushrooms, a green vegetable, and some green onions and you have a meal. Not as time-consuming or traditional as true Chinese soups, but tasty nonetheless!
Chicken-Ginger Noodle Soup
1.5 lbs of chicken bones
2 quarts of water
1 3-4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1 bunch of green onions (I only had 2 sad green onions left in the fridge, so I made do)
salt to taste
noodles of your choice
spinach or other leafy vegetable
6 shiitake mushrooms, re-hydrated and thinly sliced
Put your chicken bones in a pot and barely cover with water. Bring to a boil and keep it at high heat for 5 minutes to boil out the impurities and scum. Rise off the bones and give the pot a good wash. Fill the pot with 2 quarts of cold water, add the rinsed off bones and the ginger, green onions and cilantro. Bring to a boil and reduce to a bubbly simmer. Let the stock simmer for up to 2 hours.
When it’s time to eat, strain out the solids and season the broth to taste. Cook the noodles according to the package. Briefly blanch the spinach in boiling water. Put your noodles in a deep bowl and top with shredded chicken, spinach, and shiitake mushrooms. Enjoy!