Chicken noodle soup is a classic recipe, but who wants to eat the same thing all the time? Take a break from your regular chicken noodle soup and try this one loaded with Asian flavors and ingredients like sesame oil, chewy udon noodles, ginger, and bok choy. Add in spicy shredded chicken and this dinner is sure to make the weekly rotation.
I used a box of store-bought stock, a little garlic, and a generous amount of ginger. (Secret’s out, oops.) You can also make your own stock. Shredded cooked chicken flavored with the sweet and spicy fermented chili paste, gochujang, put this soup over the top and also made the bowls of soup look pretty and appealing.
Even with the short-cuts, when I brought this to a friend’s house for dinner, everyone marveled at how flavorful the broth was.
What Are Udon Noodles?
You can really sink your teeth into thick Japanese udon noodles. They are about the size of a fettuccini noodle, made from wheat, and can often be purchased fresh from Asian grocery stores. If you buy them fresh, just cook them in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes.
Dried noodles should be available at large grocery stores in the Asian food section, but if not, you can order them online.
Cook them in abundant boiling water as you would Italian pasta. They take about the same amount of time to cook as linguini, which you could substitute for the udon in a pinch, although I urge you to seek out udon noodles for a real treat.
WHAT IS GOCHUJANG?
Gochujang is a sweet and spicy Korean chili paste. Its color resembles tomato paste, and it is similar to Sriracha in taste, but with less garlic and not as much heat.
SAVE TIME: USE LEFTOVER CHICKEN
This is an ideal soup for using up leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken. Shred the chicken and then reheat it in a skillet with the sauce to add a flavor boost.
TIPS TO STORE AND FREEZE THIS SOUP
Leftovers of this soup will keep in the fridge for two to three days, though the noodles will start to become mushy as they absorb more of the broth.
If you know you’ll have leftovers, prepare the soup and the noodles separately, store them in separate containers, and combine them in the bowl when reheating.
This soup isn’t great for freezing because of the tender greens and the noodles. Plus, it’s so quick to make you can whip it up faster than it would take to thaw.
- Need more freezing tips? Check out our post on How to Freeze Soup, Beans, and Broth!
MORE GREAT CHICKEN SOUP RECIPES
Chicken Udon Soup with Bok Choy Recipe
- 4 ounces dried udon noodles
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 4 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 4 scallions, finely sliced
- 4 to 5 (5 ounces) baby bok choy, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 large handfuls (about 2 ounces) baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 Cook the noodles: In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander, and rinse under cool running water to remove surface starch. Add the sesame oil and toss. Set aside.
2 Make the broth: In the same pot you used to cook the noodles, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
Add the broth, soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Taste and add more salt, if you like. Turn off the heat and start the chicken.
3 Warm the chicken in the gochujang: In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the shredded chicken meat and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until hot.
Add the gochujang to the skillet. Cook and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce evaporates and the chicken starts to brown.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the soup broth to release the brown bits on the bottom of the pan and stir in the scallions. Remove from heat.
4 Finish the soup: Return the broth to a simmer and add the bok choy. Cook for 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Stir in the spinach and noodles and cook for a minute or two, until the spinach wilts and the noodles are hot.
5 Serve the soup: Divide the soup among four bowls. Top each bowl with the chicken. Sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.
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