This recipe is an amalgam of about three different soup recipes I found when I went searching for some way to use up my chicken, bok choi, udon noodles, limes and stock. This would be lovely on a cold evening that needs warming, but was also quite welcome on a recent hot night that demanded very little time in the kitchen and certainly no oven blazing. Homemade stock is always the best choice, but the organic boxes of the stuff from your grocery store will suffice in a pinch. If you don’t have bok choi on hand, spinach, chard or kale substitute nicely. If you are a mushroom fan, add in a cup of button and shitake mushrooms to round out the flavor. This soup is also happily finished with a poached egg per serving, but I didn’t have time for that business. If you don’t have or eat chicken, some tofu, tempeh or any protein would substitute well here. Enjoy!
Farm Style Udon Soup with Bok Choi and Chicken or Tofu
8 cups chicken stock
2 whole star anise
1 stick cinnamon
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 cube of fresh ginger (peeled 1″ square piece)
2-4 crushed cloves of garlic
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce or fish sauce or combo of both
1 lime zest and then in wedges for squeezing
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (or tofu or other protein)
1 bunch bok choy leaves, sliced into ribbons, stems chopped into bite sized pieces
6 oz cooked Udon Noodles (I had one packet left from a previous recipe. More noodles would be welcome if you have them).
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp Garlic Chili Sauce (found in the Asian food section of most markets. I like to frequent McPhee’s grocery in Port Angeles for needed world market ingredients)
Optional: 1 cup mushrooms (button and or shitake with the stems removed) and one poached egg per serving
In a 4-6 quart saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add star anise and cinnamon and simmer for 5-10 minutes to infuse the flavor while getting the rest together.
In a separate pan, bring sesame oil to a shimmer. Add ginger and garlic and swirl around until aromatic, but not burned (about 2 minutes). Add soy sauce, lime zest and then add chicken and cook over med-low until almost done. Add bok choi and mushrooms (if using) and sauté until greens are wilted and mushrooms are soft (only takes a few minutes).
Remove star anise and cinnamon with a slotted spoon, then add chicken mixture to stock mixture. Bring back to a simmer, then add noodles and continue simmering for a few minutes, or until all of the flavors are mingled well. If you can fish out the ginger chunk, do that now. If you are poaching eggs, this is when you would slip them into the soup. Add more soy and or/fish sauce and lime juice to taste.
Serve into bowls with green onions and chili sauce on top to taste with one egg for each serving.