Yesterday, we were wondering what to have for dinner – it never seems right to have a roast on a hot day – when Sam mentioned that we used to have chicken noodle soup all the time, but we hadn’t had it for ages.
Just so happens that I had a chilli, a lime, and some ginger (I keep the ginger in the freezer anyway) and half a pack of noodles, and it seemed the perfect, fresh alternative to full on Sunday dinner, so it was game on.
This is one of those recipes where you can basically pad it out with any old stuff – replace the chicken with some frozen king prawns, add frozen peas, leftover shredded pork, pak choi, broccoli… whatever you have lying about. Feel free to make it your own. Here’s the general idea:
4 large chicken breasts (or some leftover cooked chicken)
1 litre chicken stock (cube is fine)
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
A generous grating of ginger
Juice of ½ lime
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce (Nam Pla)
1 tbsp brown sugar or honey
I pack fine egg noodles
So first, get the chicken breasts cooking. I like to leave them whole and pan fry them until they’re quite crisp on the outside, then slice them over the finished dish. The crisp chicken brings a bit of much needed texture – but if you want to cut them up and fry them, that’s fine too. Give them a good season with salt and pepper and pop them into a heavy based frying pan.
Next, make up your stock. Make sure you follow the instructions to get the correct strength if you’re using cubes. You might be surprised that you’ll need a few, but you really need that flavour. If you’ve got home made, so much the better (or, I often keep pouches of ready made stock in the freezer too).
When the stock is bubbling, add in the chilli, ginger, lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and honey. Then give it a taste. There should be a good balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. So if something seems a bit lacking, adjust it to taste. Add in any veg you’re using now. I had some green beans in the fridge. Lastly, pop in the noodles.
Try to time it so the chicken breasts and noodles are ready at the same time otherwise the noodles can get a bit slimy if they’re overcooked.
When you’re ready to serve, spoon into bowls and finish with the sliced chicken. Add a slice of lime and some mint or coriander leaves.