Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup with Asian Greens and Chili-Soy Sauce
Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook
Warm, rich broth with silky-juicy chicken. Slippery fresh rice noodles and snappy shrimp.
This recipe for Malaysian Chicken Noodle Soup with Asian Greens and Chili-Soy Sauce is from Chef Robert Danhi’s cookbook, Southeast Asian Flavors Cookbook.
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.
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.
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 Rice Recipe.
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.
From Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore by Robert Danhi
- 1 whole chicken 3 to 3.5 lbs
- 2 inch fresh ginger cut into 1/2 inch slices and lightly smashed
- 1 onion large, cut in quarters
- 6 cloves garlic smashed
- 12 white peppercorns crushed with mortar/pestle or side of knife (or 6 black peppercorns)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound fresh rice noodles about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm.) (1.3 cm.) wide
- 1/2 pound shrimp small
- 1/2 pound Chinese greens such as choy sum, bok choy, yu choy or gai-lan
- 2 scallions chopped
- 4 to 6 Thai bird chilies or other small hot chilies, sliced thinly, about 1/8inch thick
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.).
Combine soy sauce, sesame oil and chilies, spoon mixture into individual bowls for each person.
Bring seasoned broth up to a near boil. Have all ingredients ready, and have a pot of water boiling to reheat the noodles.
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.
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.