October 5, 2014

chicken soba noodle soup

The sudden drop from warm to cooler fall temperature this weekend made me long for some good comforting soup. I wanted something different from the usual creamy chicken noodle soup I make which we call "sopas" in the Philippines. I went online again to search for alternatives and found this Korean version in Maangchi's youtube channel. She made the noodles from scratch but I decided to use some healthier soba noodles which I already have. Instead of adding garlic cloves to the broth, I toasted minced garlic in sesame oil and served it as a condiment instead. The clear chicken broth enhanced with flavors of sesame oil and a touch of garlic was just what I had in mind. The soba was a healthier option to elbow macaroni. My version was actually more of a Korean-Japanese fusion as I also added some mirin (Japanese rice wine) to the broth. We also have a Filipino version of this simply called "chicken mami" which is often paired with "siopao" or steamed buns filled with pork or chicken.

Layer the cooked soba noodles, vegetables sauteed in sesame oil, sliced green onions and shredded chicken in a bowl as shown above. Bring the chicken broth to a rolling boil and slowly pour over the ingredients in the bowl. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and enjoy the unique flavors of this Asian chicken noodle soup!

Additional sliced green onions, toasted garlic with sesame oil, chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds may be served on the side. For a spicy hot version, add sriracha or red pepper flakes.

For the recipe...
CHICKEN SOBA NOODLE SOUP (adapted from Maangchi's Korean Chicken Noodle Soup)

1-2 chicken breasts
1/4 cup mirin or Japanese rice wine (optional)
2-3 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
fish sauce or salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 zucchini, cut into strips
1 carrot, cut into strips
1 small broccoli, cut up (optional)
sliced green onions
chopped cilantro (optional)
soba noodles

Simmer the chicken breasts in water with peppercorns, salt or fish sauce until fork tender. Allow to cool then shred. This may be done a day ahead. Strain the chicken broth. Sautee zucchini and other vegetables in sesame oil and set aside. Cook some minced garlic in sesame oil until golden brown and toasted then transfer to small serving bowl. Cook the soba noodles al dente, drain in a colander then rinse under running water to separate. Transfer the soba into the soup bowls, top with the sauteed vegetables and chicken. Pour in the hot chicken broth and sprinkle with sliced green onions, toasted garlic in sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds. Add fish sauce and red pepper flakes if desired.

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