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.