Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup with Asian Greens and Chili-Soy Sauce

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Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup is called Ipoh Sar Hor Fun in Malaysia. “Ipoh” is the town that this dish originates from.

I’m a bad, bad blogger. One who eats crumbly chocolate chip cookies while editing photos on a very expensive laptop with nose 2 inches from screen, thinking out loud “is this shade of green more greener than that shade of green?” I never take the time to back up even now I’m a subscriber of multiple backup websites. And I read your very funny blog posts while drinking wine which sometimes results in a spontaneous spew of red, staining liquid that lands on my keyboard.

I’m a bad blogger because Chef Robert Danhi it took the time to chat with me on the phone a couple of weeks ago and I have yet to post the podcast. In fact, I don’t even know where the damn audio file is. It could be because of my upload-then-delete-on-harddrive-without-checking-upload habit that I accidentally slingshot (slingshotted? slingshoot? slungshot?) our recorded phone convo into a gazillion cyber-bytes, each zipping in separate directions.

I’m praying that Google will somehow come across the files, scoop it up and just stick it in his shirt pocket, at least just until I can figure a way to harness that “beam me up” technology to come claim my podcast.


p.s. I have some winners to announce! The winners of the Club Med vacation and the $50 Sur La Table Gift Card will be announced as soon as my jet lag decides it’s had enough (hopefully tomorrow)

But I still have one more giveaway going on – big-green-egg-baby-back-ribs-2475 Dr. BBQ Cookbook Giveaway (ends June 21st 12pm EST)


Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook

This morning we returned from a week in California, and all I wanted to eat was Chef Danhi’s Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup. Warm, rich broth with silky-juicy chicken. Slippery fresh rice noodles and snappy shrimp. So I thought I might as well post this recipe without the podcast, before I lose this recipe and the photos too.

While the recipe is from Robert’s new book southeast-asian-flavors-cookbook Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook, the photos above are mine when I had made his recipe two weeks prior. It’s a stellar recipe that I know you will absolutely enjoy. The James Beard Foundation nominated Southeast Asian Flavors among the finalists for a 2009 Book Award in the international category and it contains over 100 authentic recipes from Southeast Asia and over 700 color photographs that Robert Danhi took himself.

Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook is a must-have in your Asian cookbook collection, because not only are the recipes authentic (Danhi has been traveling and studying Southeast Asian cooking for over 20 years) but the book also incudes anecdotes about the culture and history of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. Also make sure to visit Danhi’s website for this book – tons more photos.

This particular recipe for Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup is virtually fool proof and one of the best recipes I’ve seen for an Asian noodle soup. The reason is because the chicken is slowly poached, resulting in meat that is tender and never overcooked. This is also the same technique that I use for Hainanese Chicken (recipe is in my upcoming cookbook)


A few notes for Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

A few notes on the ingredients and techniques:

  • This method of poaching involves bringing the pot to a boil and then turning off the heat (keep the lid on!) and let the chicken slowly, gently poach in the very hot water until cooked through. It’s almost impossible to overcook the chicken this way, and you’ll get a very silky texture. Once the chicken is cooked through, immediately plunge it in ice-water to stop the cooking process and firm up the skin. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, you’ll use your hands to shred/pull the meat. Whether you keep or discard the skin is up to you (I personally love the skin.) You won’t be using the entire chicken for this Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe – reserve the rest for another meal.
  • Try to get a small chicken, if your chicken is larger than 3.5 pounds, you will have to increase your poaching time. If your chicken is over 4 pounds – once you’ve finished your 45 gentle poach, return the pot to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Let the pot sit for another 5 minutes, then check for doneness.
  • If you don’t have white peppercorns, just use whole black peppercorns
  • I love using fresh rice noodles that you can find in the Asian markets (refrigerated section). If they are super-fresh they don’t need to be boiled…just soak them in warm water until softened. If they are still a bit hard, try soaking them in hot water for a few seconds. If you don’t have access to fresh rice noodles, then use dried, wide rice noodles and follow the instructions on the package for soaking/cooking times.


Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup (Ipoh Sar Hor Fun) Recipe

Recipe from southeast-asian-flavors-cookbook Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook by Robert Danhi

Makes 4-6 bowls as a one-dish meal

1 whole chicken (3 to 3.5 lbs/ 1.4 to 1.8 kg.)
2-inch (5 cm.) piece ginger, cut into 1/2 inch slices and lightly smashed
1 large onion, cut in quarters
6 cloves garlic, smashed
12 white peppercorns, crushed with mortar/pestle or side of knife
2 teaspoons kosher salt

1. Make Chicken Broth: Place rinsed chicken in 2-gallon pot (8 L.), with just enough water to cover. Bring to a vigorous boil; lower to simmer. Skim off foam and impurities; simmer 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, cover tightly, and leave undisturbed at room temperature for 45 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should read 165F / 74 C at the thickest part of the chicken).

2. Carefully lift chicken from poaching liquid and plunge into a large container/pot/bowl of ice water. Leave in water for 15 minutes to stop cooking and firm up meat. Using your hands, pull off skin and discard.

3. Pull meat off breast and thighs into 1/4to 1/2-inch (.6 to 1.3 cm.) thick strips, transfer to covered container and reserve at room temperature (you will have more than needed for the recipe).

4. Combine bones, thighs and poaching liquid back in the pot. Add ginger, onion, garlic, peppercorns and salt; simmer one hour to make a broth. Strain through fine wire mesh sieve. Taste and season well with salt.

1 pound (454 g.) fresh rice noodles, about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm.) (1.3 cm.) wide
1/2 pound. (227 g.) small shrimp
1/2 pound. (227 g.) Chinese greens such as choy sum, bok choy, yu choy or gai-lan
2 scallions, chopped
Soak noodles in lukewarm water 10 minutes, drain; peel apart into individual strands. Poach shrimp in chicken broth until just cooked; peel, devein and halve lengthwise. Blanch whole bunches of choy sum in boiling water; transfer to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds, squeeze dry, and cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces (5 to 7 cm.).

4 to 6 each Thai bird chilies, or other small hot chilies, sliced thinly, about 1/8inch (0.3 cm.) thick
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dark/toasted sesame oil

Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and chilies, spoon mixture into individual bowls for each person.

1. Bring seasoned broth up to a near boil. Have all ingredients ready, and have a pot of water boiling to reheat the noodles.

2. Reheat noodles in boiling water for 15 seconds. Drain, and distribute into 4 to 6 Asian soup bowls. Top noodles with chicken meat, shrimp, and choy sum. Ladle about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of broth into each bowl.

3. Sprinkle with scallions; serve with small dishes of chili-soy sauce. This sauce is used for dipping the subtly-flavored chicken, but can also be added to the soup.

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Comments 33

  1. Nags

    ohhh! I love hor fun but never bothered to try and make it since its so cheap and yummy in Singapore Hawker Centers!

  2. Anh

    Editing photos and eating cookies, that sounds so familiar! πŸ˜‰

    I love noodles, but you know your first paragraph gets me. Hm, chocolate cookies…

  3. Vyanne

    Mmmm…don’t mind a hot bowl of noodles during winter now here in Australia! The dish looks beautiful, Jaden!

  4. Jason Sandeman


    You always have stunning pictures. I wish I had the time to take pictures that would do the plates justice.

    The cookbook sounds gorgeous! Do you know if it is available in Canada? I am going to order it, because it is JUST what I need for advancement. See, I am what they call “gaijin” or “giuy-lo”, so I need to experiment on dishes to recreate them. That is part of the reason – am working in a pan Asian resto.

    As always, you inspire me to keep up blogging, thank you for that!

  5. Sues

    Oooh I love the twist on chicken noodle soup! I can totally relate to the whole “bad blogger” thing. I hope you feel better!!

  6. katiek @kitchensidecar

    this looks so earthy and perfectly clear. YUM. the other day my bf got sick and I wanted to make a cleansing soup. Sad I didn’t have this beforehand. I went with duck soup – some homemade stock I had on hand. Real stock is soooo goood.

  7. The Duo Dishes

    Here in Los Angeles, we’re just barely eeking our way out of June gloom, so this sounds perfect on a cool, gray day. Looks great.

    I came home to FL from LA to hot, sticky humid. I think I’d rather have June Gloom! ~j

  8. patsyk

    Sounds like a wonderful cookbook! One I definitely need to add to my collection! πŸ™‚

    Since we’ve had a cool and rainy spring (all the way into June!), soup sounds like the perfect meal for tonight.

  9. Dawn in CA

    Asian Noodle Soup. Just reading those three words makes me happy. And… I have been counting the minutes (!) since 6/15 for you to announce the Club Med winner! (fingers crossed) πŸ™‚

  10. Jean

    Oh my goodness, I simply have got to make this! We had a wonderful Thai soup last night that I picked up at the Columbus North Market. We fell in love with it. And this looks even better!!! Jaden, you make me want to make every single thing you post on here!!!

    awww thank you! ~j

  11. Gera @ SweetsFoods

    I can call magnificent! to this chicken soup, looks and must taste excellent πŸ™‚
    You aren’t alone eating cookies while editing photos or reading posts, is very common on me too, my keyboard remembers the crumbs often…



  12. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    Simple, light, and delicious! These non heavy meals are great anytime. And your photo is very tempting :).

    You’re not just the only one who eats at the computer. Instead of cookies, I eat fruit, but that can still cause a big mess.

  13. John

    I just love the pictures of this. I am normally not a fan of the direct overhead but #2 just shows off the presentation SO well. Can’t wait to try!

  14. Diana

    Oh yum! This is one of my favorite comfort meals, I’ve never made it myself though. Don’t know if it’s traditional but Hawaii I’ve had it with sliced radishes so I think I’d add some of those from my CSA.

  15. astrorainfall @ beauty box

    Flat rice noodles just make me weak in the knees. I’ve actually been to Ipoh for a week-long holiday and the Ipoh Hor Fun in Ipoh rocked. I love the “dry” version where a brown shoyu sauce is used instead of chicken broth. Shiitake mushrooms are divine when they are soaked in this sauce. Memories… I live in Japan now so such cuisine is far far away.

  16. Jean

    Jaden! I made the soup and it was soooo delicious! I have to admit that I used fresh spinach for my greens because I am a fool for spinach. But other than that I stuck to the recipe. Wasn’t easy hunting down fresh rice noodles but I finally found them (but they weren’t the wide ones πŸ™
    Anyway, both Bob and I loved it! The chicken was awesome. Interesting way to cook it – and you were so right about it being silky.
    Wow! Just a great recipe. Thank you!!!

    oh great! isn’t it the best recipe ever??? ~jaden

  17. shayne

    I made this soup today for my husband’s family who just arrived from Serbia last night and it was a big hit. thank you for a great dish and I hope that you don’t mind if I blog about it on my blog and link back you yours.


  18. Evie

    I’ve used your “silky chicken” poaching method for many other dishes besides this one and the chicken always turns out juicy and fabulous! Thanks for that great idea!

    1. SteamyKitchen

      That’s what RasaMalaysia said too! I think dish should be called Ipoh Hor Fun…but Chef Danhi checked with his sources and said to call it Ipoh Sar Hor Fun. ???

  19. Jason

    Hi Jaden,

    Yeah, in Ipoh, the noodles are called sar hor fun but in other states of Malaysia, we simply call it hor fun. Both names refer to the same dish and it’s usually served in soup. πŸ™‚

  20. Carmen

    Love your blog and this recipe is tops. This is my favorite thing to eat in Ipoh (I was born in Malaysia and my mother’s family is from there) – I used to have it EVERYDAY despite the warm climate. Thanks for writing this up. More malaysian recipes please!

  21. Nik Linda

    Hi Jaden, I’m a big fan of your site. I’m so proud to see Malaysian recipe here. If you wanna try another Malaysian favourite dish, I would suggest Nasi Lemak (rice cooked with coconut milk & pandanus leave) and usually eaten with few other side dishes. It’s an adventurous food for any first timer.

  22. Jagger

    Hi, I miss authentic Ipoh kway tee-ow (kuai teow?) soup. It is simply delicious. It is worth a trip to Ipoh just to try it. Someone said it never tastes as good as the one made from the water from the Ipoh River, but I miss it so much it is worth a try to cook it here in Australia by a Gweilo :).

  23. Alannah

    I just made this tonight! First time making soup and I am really happy with how it turned out. I did get confused at times with some of the little things in this recipe but for the most part it turned out great! One thing I should not have done was poured in 8L of water into my pot, and I wasn’t sure if thats what I was supposed to do but it ended up giving me too much broth and the flavour was a bit watered down…. Soo next time I guess I’ll use 6L? Reeeeaaally not sure. I have A LOT of leftover broth though. I hope it’s possible to keep adding flavour to a broth as you go along because I think I might want to throw this back on the stove with more ginger, garlic, and onions so I can make the flavour of the brother really pop. This also took about 3-4 hours for me to make, even factoring in my bumps along the way but it felt like an all day thing. For the first time making homemade soup I think it could have been a lot worse! So thanks πŸ™‚

    1. Post

      Alannah – yes, you can continue adding to the broth. Making homemade soup is the best! Next time, you can try using a large crockpot and just leave it on overnight or all day.

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