Chicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms


A simple, light Chinese chicken soup with chicken thighs, shiitake mushrooms and ginger.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Chicken soup doesn’t need to take hours to make.

This is a simple, light chicken soup that is richly flavored with shiitake mushrooms, and brightened with fresh ginger and soy sauce.

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The stock is very light, and comes just from the cooking of the ingredients for less than half an hour. The combination of the ginger, chicken, mushrooms, soy sauce and a touch of salt and sugar is just lovely, and I highly recommend trying this soup.

Chicken Soup Ginger Shiitake

The recipe is an adaptation of one I discovered in a most curious cookbook, The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman.

One doesn’t usually think of this rather painful period of Chinese history, when millions of Chinese urban youth, children of “intellectuals,” were forced into the countryside to work as farmers, for its culinary legacy. But during this period, people learned to make do, and to create nourishing, satisfying food from simple, local ingredients.

The original recipe, upon which this one is based, is for “Steamed Ginger and Mushroom Chicken”. The recipe required a bamboo steamer and wok, neither of which we had, so we decided to make our own version. Same ingredients, somewhat different method.

After the heaviness of holiday food, this one is especially refreshing. Enjoy!

Chicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4

Typically for this recipe one would use bone-in chicken thighs hacked into big pieces with a cleaver, or with poultry shears. The bones help create flavor and richness for the stock. You can use boneless chicken thighs if you prefer. Or use bone-in, and then remove the bones after the chicken has cooked, before serving.


  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (dried is much preferable to fresh in this recipe)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, cut into chunks
  • A 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


1 Soak dried mushrooms: Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water for 20 minutes. Use a bowl or a smaller pot to keep the mushrooms submerged in the water.

2 Marinate chicken: While the mushrooms are soaking, mix the soy, sugar, salt and cornstarch in a large bowl. Make sure there are no cornstarch lumps. Add the chicken and ginger to the bowl, toss to coat with the marinade, and set aside.

3 Slice mushrooms, add to chicken: When the mushrooms have softened, remove from the water (saving the soaking liquid) and slice thin. Add the mushrooms into the bowl with the chicken. If the soaking water has grit in it, pour the soaking water though a fine-meshed sieve lined with a paper towel into another bowl.

4 Cook chicken, mushrooms with mushroom soaking water: Put the chicken mushroom mixture, and the mushroom soaking liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, cover the pot and cook gently for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

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Adapted from "Steamed Ginger and Mushroom Chicken" in The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman.


Cream of Mushroom Soup here on Simply Recipes

Healthy Chinese Chicken Soup - from Steamy Kitchen

Sichuan Style Chicken Noodle Soup - from Appetite for China

The Cultural Revolution Cookbook website

Wikipedia on the Cultural Revolution

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

42 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Jose Mari

    Hello from the Philippines!
    In order to suit it to the Filipino taste, I think I’m going to sauté the chicken with some garlic and onion in the beginning to draw out the the juices in the chicken , then follow the rest of the methods listed and for a little kick, I’ll cut up a green or red chilli to spice things up. Happy cooking everyone! Stay home and be safe, guys. Love and peace! God bless!

  2. Helyn

    Thanks for the recipe. I have just tried it today. Such a very simple recipe yet it turns out very tastyyy & appetizing. My husband & I love it ;)


  3. Richard

    I’d recommend against only using fresh shiitakes. They really don’t have the strength or depth of flavor that the dried ones do, and the broth will not be nearly as savory. You can try and dry them yourself though!

  4. El

    Can you use fresh shiitake mushrooms?

  5. Susan Koepplinger

    This is a delicious and simple recipe but I also did not have the dried mushrooms, only fresh. I decided to forge ahead anyway! I used the fresh and then used chicken stock rather than water. Really delicious. I also served it over rice to make it a bit more hearty. I also love veggies in my soup so right before serving, added zoodles, zoodled carrots, chopped snow peas and red pepper. This was a super simple soup and came out reallly delicious. Someday, I will follow the recipe as written and try again to compare.


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