Chicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms

Soup and StewChineseGluten-FreeChicken

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.

The stock is very light, and comes just from the cooking of the ingredients for less than half an hour. But 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

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  • 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.

Ingredients

  • 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 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Method

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. A blogging pioneer, 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. In 2012 Elise was named "one of America's 50 Most Powerful People in Food" by The Daily Meal. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University. She lives in Carmichael, California.

More from Elise

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

Links:

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

38 Comments / Reviews

No ImageChicken Soup with Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms

Did you make it? Rate it!

  • 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.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Diana

    This is one of my most favorite soups. I cut strips of green onions at the end and add a drop of sesame oil and hot chili oil in my bowl after cooking, leaving the soup pretty pure. Delicious!

  • AE

    I made this the first time for my boyfriend when he got sick last week since it has good-4-u ginger, shittake, and bone broth in it. Now, he kindly passed his illness to me and I’m making it again but for myself. Lol. So good and easy but this time, I had to buy fresh shittake since they stopped carrying dried. Hoping I can get a good result! We will see!

  • Rogue

    My wife’s top favorite soup, she asks me to make it quite often. Thank you!!

  • spaceman spiff

    Try adding 2tsp of fish sauce. adds to it. put raw fine diced celery in at the end so still crunchy.

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