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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.
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!
I’m so glad you like it Diana!
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!
My wife’s top favorite soup, she asks me to make it quite often. Thank you!!
Try adding 2tsp of fish sauce. adds to it. put raw fine diced celery in at the end so still crunchy.
Excellent recipe. My family did it a bit differently. We first cooked the chicken (with water) in a pressure cooker. After it was done, we added shiitake mushroom, fish sauce, sugar and salt and brought to a boil. The cooking time was reduced in half.
Easy and lovely! Just added a pinch of pepper to spice it up a bit. Good tip from Pille to add some scallions, I missed some green in it.
Elise, Your instructions were great. Hacking the chicken thighs to pieces was easier than I thought. The soup was delicious….my husband loved it. Thanks for another great recipe! Best, Elise
I have a bunch of fresh mushrooms sitting in my fridge at the moment and it’s the only difference keeping me from making this for dinner tomorrow. Any suggestions for making this with fresh mushrooms, or is it preferable that I seek out dried shiitakes?
It wouldn’t really work with ordinary fresh mushrooms as a lot of the flavor comes from the very strong liquor from the shitakes. I made it last week and it was delicious, though agree it could do with more liquid. I added some thread noodles and chilli….delicious and so simple.
Hi Jacqui – so much of the flavor of this soup comes from the dried shiitakes I wouldn’t even bother trying to make it with anything else. That said, if you do try it with fresh mushrooms, dry sauté them first (sauté on high heat with no cooking oil until lightly browned and the mushrooms have given up most of their moisture). ~Elise
Elise, I had a soup very similar to this in Lhasa, Tibet. However, they used a different local mushroom called Hericium (it looks like a tiny, fluffy brain and has a milky flavor). Another difference was that the Tibetans would add fresh or dried dates to the soup as well.
The soup also used a popular Tibetan stock instead of water. Many soups in Tibet use this popular mixed-source stock for many of their soups. personally, i couldn’t get enough of it and I was finally able to get the recipe from a local Tibetan cook:
0.5 kg pork ribs, cut up
0.5 kg pig feet, cut up
1 kg chicken feet, cleaned
lots of ginger, sliced thinly
If you want you can lightly char the ginger a bit to give it a caramellized flavor, first.
Braise it all in water for four hours. Strain out the solids and use as desired.
It is, by far, one of the most flavorful stocks I have ever had.
Wow. Once again, I’ve found the most amazing recipe from your site, Elise. Thank you! I was so intrigued by just reading the recipe for this dish that I ordered the Chinese Cultural Revolution Cookbook right away. It arrived a week ago, and it’s a fascinating read. Finally had a chance to go grocery shopping today and immediately tried this recipe. Yum! So natural tasting and delicious. Thanks again!
I too, found this recipe while searching for what to do with my ENORMOUS container of dried shiitakes from costco.
Seriously though….if you love them, you should buy one. I picked mine up for $6.00, and it’s a half pound.
I’ll be making this tonight with the addition of some soba noodles (have to use em up). Thanks for the great recipe, as always.
Elise, I made this for lunch yesterday. I used a wee bit more water (about 1 litre), and sprinkled some finely chopped scallions on top. Utterly delicious – and indeed, so much flavour from such a few ingredients! I loved the sweetness of the broth especially..
Thank you so much for sharing the recipe – and I’ve already ordered the book from Amazon ;)
Hi Elise, I plan to make this tomorrow night or this weekend it looks so good. (Hopefully you can get back to me by tomorrow maybe?) I am going to use the bone-in thighs as you request…the bone-in thighs I bought have the skin on them…I assume I keep the skin on when cooking it for more flavor? Or do I take it off. The other question, I did not quite understand when soaking the mushrooms in hot water, you say to use a smaller bowl or pot to keep mushrooms submerged…does this mean you invert a pot over the mushrooms soaking in the water? so you make sure mushrooms are in the water? Lastly, I am going to try to use a cleaver to chop them up…any suggestions on how? well I suppose you just do it…Thanks. Elise
Hi Elise, great questions all. Regarding cutting the chicken pieces, you can also use the notch in a pair of poultry shears to cut through the bones. To use a cleaver, first work over a thick cutting board. The hand motion of the using the cleaver is hard to describe. You want the chicken to be struck by the last inch and a half of the cleaver, not the edge closest to your hand. As for skin-on or off, you could go either way. We took the skin off and fried it up for chicken-skin tacos. Regarding the mushrooms, just make sure they are submerged in the water. Hope that helps! ~Elise
My mother, who is Taiwanese, has been making a version of this soup for our family ever since I was a child. The recipe she uses has been passed down from her mother, and while I am a fan of your recipe website and fabulous concoctions, the Taiwanese in me has a few suggestions the next time you try this recipe. Authentic Taiwanese cuisine is notorious for the amount of time it takes to prepare each dish! We use a whole, organic chicken and a very large stockpot. The chicken is cooked whole in the pot on medium-low heat for several hours (until done); we use liberal amounts of ginger slices to flavor the stock and season with salt and ground white pepper. Once cooked, we take the entire chicken out from the pot and pull the meat apart with our fingers – not difficult since the meat will easily fall off the bone. Once entirely shredded, we put the meat and bones back into the pot to let the soup absorb more flavor. Shiitake are then added, the soup is skimmed, and the finishing touches are a handful or two of dried goji berries. We have never used soy sauce or corn starch for this soup, as it is supposed to be light, rejuvenating, and infused with the natural flavors of ginger and chicken. At times, my mother has added barley (do this before adding goji berries) especially when she’s making the soup to help us with our colds. At any rate, I am extremely happy you posted this online and I hope you get a chance to try a different version of this soup!
This soup was amazing. So very simple and so satisfying. I couldn’t believe how little seasoning it required. I plan to make it again and again.
We made this soup yesterday and had it for dinner last night. It was wonderful and the ginger and mushrooms were what seemed to make the soup. I would agree with one of the other comments that there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid to make four servings. Could have added a bit more water or some chicken stock though. Thanks for posting the recipe.
This may be a stupid question, but why specify bone-in thighs and then say to cut chicken into chunks. Won’t that be removing the meat from the bones? What is the point of having bones in the first place? Recipe sounds delicious.
No, you would typically use a cleaver to cut through the bone-in thighs, bone and meat. The soup would be served bone-in, and you would eat around the bones. This is the most flavorful way to eat the soup, albeit awkward for many who are not used to eating around the bones. The bones themselves, especially if they are cut to reveal the inner marrow, are useful for creating a richly flavored stock. That said, even if you just cut around the bones, and still use the bones while you are cooking the stock, discarding them later, that would taste better than not using bones at all. ~Elise
Your website is inspirational and nudged me to chronicle my family’s, especially my parent’s recipes. I feel particularly blessed to still have both parents (both 87 yrs old) who were foodies all of this time, except I didn’t know it! I just thought they were great cooks!- especially Mom.
And I think you and your parents are very fortunate to share family recipes and collaborate on new ones together. You’ll all have memories that so many people only dream about.
If you are interested, my mom makes simple home-style Cantonese food and I would enjoy sharing her recipes with you (I’ll even bring her over to cook in your kitchen to demo that you don’t need a wok or steamer to make many Asian dishes. She’ll also want to drag you to the Asian food stores and teach you to shop for the ingredients). She makes a steamed chicken and lop cheung (Chinese sausage) dish that you’ll fall in love with. She’s also adapted the dish as a fast and simple one-dish meal – mixing ingredients together and pouring it over rice as it’s cooking. It’s fast food at it’s best!
Wishing you many reasons to smile.
I’ve never cooked this as a soup, but I use the exact same ingredients (sans the stock) to make one of my favourite stir fries. I also like to add wood ear fungus and lily stems to it. Delish served a generous drizzle of sesame oil, with a big bowl of rice.