Chinese Noodle Soup is incredibly quick and easy – if you know the secret seasonings! With fresh ginger and garlic flavours, you’d swear the Asian soup broth is from a Chinese restaurant, it’s that good.
10 minutes, just 352 calories for a big bowl. Use any noodles, any vegetables, any protein – or not! Terrific fridge forage food.
Fast Chinese Noodle Soup!
This Chinese Noodle Soup really is one of my classic “back pocket” recipes because it’s so versatile and it’s incredibly quick. Here’s a run down of how it goes:
- Broth: Simmer chicken broth + soy sauce + Chinese cooking wine (or any sub provided) + sugar + sesame oil + garlic & ginger for 10 minutes (even 5 minutes is fine).
- Noodles: Prepare fresh OR dried noodles according to packet directions;
- Toppings: Rummage in fridge and locate vegetables & proteins of choice. Chop roughly and toss into the noodle cooking water OR broth to cook; and
- Serve: Place noodles in bowls. Pour over soup and toppings.
See? 10 minutes!
Seasonings for Chinese soup broths
If you’ve ever been disappointed by a recipe for an Asian soup broth before, it’s probably because it was missing basic but essential flavourings. It takes more than just chicken broth and soy sauce to make a Chinese soup broth!
what all you need:
- Chinese cooking wine – the key ingredient. Just 1.5 tablespoons adds complexity and depth of flavour to the store bought chicken stock. Without it, the broth will taste “flat” ie missing something. Substitute with: dry sherry, mirin or cooking sake. Best non alcoholic sub for this recipe: substituting some of the soy sauce with oyster sauce (which adds extra “umami” into the broth to compensate);
- Garlic and ginger – smash the garlic and slice the ginger to allow the fresh flavours to infuse into the broth. Keeping them whole makes it easy to pick out later – you could very well grate them straight into the broth using a fine grater, but you will get little bits in the soup (rather than being a clear broth);
- Sesame oil – for the flavour!
- Chicken broth/stock – use low sodium otherwise the broth may be a touch too salty for your taste. Use a decent one, because it’s the foundation of the soup broth (
I use Campbells. Better than Continental);
- Soy sauce – either all purpose or light soy sauce will work here. Don’t use dark soy sauce or sweet soy sauce – the flavour of these are too intense; and
- Sugar – just a touch, to balance out the flavours.
What goes in the noodle soup
And here’s what I put in the soup:
- Noodles – Chinese noodle soups are traditionally made with thin egg noodles (pictured above, and below in the soup). Fresh ones (sold in the fridge section) have a better texture than dried. But any noodles will be fine here – fresh or dried, rice noodles, white or yellow noodles, Hokkien, Singapore noodles, wide, thin, vermicelli, ramen noodles (yup!), diet noodles (like konyaku – been there, done that), zoodles (been there too). Really. ANY noodles will be great in this broth!
- Buk Choi – or any vegetables. I like buk choi because you just split them in half down the middle and bam! You’re done! (Recipe notes includes an extensive list of chopping and cook directions for common vegetables)
- Cooked Shredded Chicken – or any other protein, as desired. Because everybody keeps little containers of cooked shredded chicken in the freezer, right?!
- Green onion or coriander/cilantro, or chives, or even finely sliced onion (red, white, yellow brown) – something for a little hit of freshness.
How to make Chinese Noodle Soup
And here’s how it happens in 10 minutes. (And to all those cheeky buggers who will point out that if you have to simmer for 10 minutes, then it takes longer than 10 minutes – fine! You can take a 2 minutes off the simmer time!
PRO TIP: Never cook noodles in the soup broth unless a recipe specifically calls for it. Noodles suck up loads of liquid when they cook, so if you do that you’ll end up with way less broth than you expect. Learnt this the hard way.
So while you can in fact just cook the vegetables in the soup broth, do not cook the noodles in the broth.
Make it even HEALTHIER!!
Being this is a noodle soup recipe and all, noodles are a key ingredient here. Even so, it clocks in at just 352 calories for a bowl.
But if you want to cut down on the carbs and calories even further, just skip the noodles and loading it up with tons more vegetables to make a Chinese vegetable soup. In fact, it’s one of my “go-to” diet dinners (which should happen more frequently than it does…).
Do I miss the noodles? Of course I do. But I console myself with a healthy dose of chilli paste and lots of fresh herbs, Chicken Pho style.
But before you make it diet, try it the way it’s intended. THEN healthify it!!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Chinese Noodle Soup
- 3 cups chicken stock/broth, low sodium (Note 1)
- 2 garlic cloves , smashed (Note 2)
- 1.5 cm / 1/2″ ginger piece, cut into 3 slices (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce , or normal all purpose soy sauce (Note 3)
- 2 tsp sugar (any)
- 1 1/2 tbsp chinese cooking wine (Note 4)
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp sesame oil
Toppings & Noodles
- 180g / 6oz fresh egg noodles (Note 5 for options)
- 2 large bok choy plus/or other vegetables of choice
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (or other protein of choice)
- 1 scallion / shallot , green part only finely sliced (optional garnish)
Place Broth ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Place lid on, bring to simmer then reduce to medium high and simmer for 5 – 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Meanwhile, cook noodles according to packet directions.
Cut vegetables to desired size. For bok choy, cut them into quarters (cut a cross into the base and tear it into neat quarters with your hands).
Pick ginger and garlic out of soup broth. Add buk choi and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken then turn the stove off.
Place noodles in bowls. Divide soup and toppings between bowls. Garnish with shallots if using. Great served with chilli paste or fresh chillis.
2. Smashed Garlic – wack the side of your knife onto a garlic clove using the heel of your hand so it bursts open but remains mostly in one piece. This allows the flavour to seep into the soup but can be picked out before serving. You could just mince the garlic using a garlic crusher but you’ll have little bits of garlic visible in the broth, rather than being a clear clean broth.
3. Chinese cooking wine is a key ingredient to transform store bought chicken broth into a restaurant-quality soup broth. Dry Sherry is an excellent substitute. Otherwise, Japanese cooking sake or mirin are adequate substitutes (if you use Mirin, skip sugar).
If you cannot use alcohol, I think the best sub is as follows:
- Reduce soy sauce to 1 tbsp
- Add 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce (this has umami and will add complexity into the broth flavour to compensate for leaving out cooking wine).
4. Extra broth flavouring options: star anise, chilli, green onion (just fold them) or onion quarters.
5. Noodles: Use any you want, fresh or dried, here’s a guide on quantity.
- Fresh noodles, thin (ie from fridge section) – 90g / 3 oz per serving
- Fresh noodles, wide and flat (like thick Thai rice noodles) – 150g/ 5 oz per serving (much denser, so you need more)
- Dried noodles, pasta (yes, really!) – 60g / 2 oz per serving
- Ramen – 1 pack / “cake” per person
Prepare according to packet directions – do not add into the broth (it sucks up lots of the broth). I use thin fresh egg noodles (see photo in post), which is what Chinese restaurants typically use.
6. Toppings: Cook proteins separately to keep things simple. My “go to” is shredded cooked chicken because I keep little bags in the freezer (poaching keeps is juicy). Egg is also great – just whisk it lightly, pour it in and whisk to create egg “ribbons” like in Hot & Sour Soup and Chinese Corn Soup. Chinese BBQ Pork Slices is epic – but I never have leftovers.
For vegetables, I cut them and put them into the broth to cook. Put the vegetables that will take the longest to cook in the noodle cooking water or broth first, and delicate ones last.
Veggie suggestions: Any Chinese veggies (bok choy, gain lan/Chinese broccoli, choi sum) cut into batons or quartered (if smallish, like the Buk Choi in the photo), carrots sliced on the diagonal, green onions and bean sprouts are the toppings commonly found on Chinese noodle/ wonton soups.
These veggies also go well (though not common in Chinese restaurants): zucchini (sliced), cabbage (thick slice), asparagus, broccoli / broccolini and cauliflower, or any other vegetable that can be boiled.
7. Nutrition is per serving, assuming 1/4 tsp of sesame oil is used. The nutrition can be substantially enhanced by adding more vegetables! Sodium reduces to 552mg per serving if low sodium soy sauce and chicken broth is used.
Originally published June 2016. Long overdue for a video to be added with brand new photos and process steps!
MORE ASIAN SOUPS YOU’LL LOVE!
- Ham Bone Congee (Chinese Rice Soup)
- Wonton Soup
- Chinese Corn Soup
- Hot and Sour Soup
- Vegetarian Dan Dan Noodles Soup
- See all Asian Recipes
Life of Dozer
Baby Hands and Giant Paws. Evidence for anyone who has wondered how small my hands really are.
See how big he is? (aka how SHORT I am??)
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