I have been making a version of this soup for folks who have not been well. It is super healthy, nutritious and super tasty. This is a soup that warms your soul and makes you feel better. It is loaded with herbs and spices to rejuvenate your body and immune system, chicken for protein, lots of vegetables for health and noodles for carbohydrate. Love in a bowl!
I have given you a number of options in this recipe, essentially you can add or replace any item in this soup, it always turns out delicious. Do not overload any single component, the chicken, too many vegetables, or too many spices, the soup is delicate and wonderful for folks that are recovering. However, feel free to adapt the soup to your tastes.
5-6 cups water
1-2 pieces chicken, with or without bone
5-6 black peppercorns
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
1 very small piece star anise
1 3-inch stem lemongrass, crushed with the edge of the knife but left whole
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup firm tofu
1 carrot, finely diced
1 Thai chili, or other chili, sliced in half along their length, or to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup peas or frozen edamame
1 kaffir lime leaf
Cilantro, to garnish
Scallion, to garnish
A few drops of roasted sesame oil
1/4 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup broccoli
1/4 cup green beans
1/4 cup zucchini
1/4 cup red, green or yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1 small head bok choy, or spinach or any green of choice including lettuce
1 cup cooked thin egg noodles, or thin rice noodles or white rice
In a large stock pot add all the ingredients from the water to the salt. Bring to a simmer and scoop off any scum if present. Allow to simmer gently for 40-45 minutes.
Remove the chicken and cool. If using boneless chicken, cut, or shred with your fingers. If boned, remove bones and shred. Add back to the soup.
Continue to simmer and add one more vegetable from the list below and the peas or edamame and lime leaf. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt.
Cook the noodles or rice as per the instructions on the box minus 1 minute to keep them al dante. Drain and keep separate till ready to serve. They may clump, but do not worry, they will separate in the hot soup. I find that adding the noodles to the soup makes them mushy and the noodles also tend to absorb the liquids from the soup.
To serve, heat the soup to very hot, almost bubbling. Ladle onto bowls and top with cilantro and scallions. Add about 3 tablespoons, just a bit, of the noodles. Serve immediately with lime wedges on the side.