I have really been into making Asian foods lately—and who could blame me— they are so good! Since it’s been cold out, I have been turning to lots of soups from all over Asia to warm me up such as Chinese Wonton Soup, Korean Kimchi Jiggae and now this fantastic Japanese recipe for Chicken Udon Noodle Soup.
This soup combines basic ingredients like chicken thighs, spinach, scallions, and egg with some of my favourite Asian ingredients. These include shimeji mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, udon noodles, nori snacks, and kombu (also known as seaweed). If you are unfamiliar with these types of Asian mushrooms that I just referred to, check out my last post “What’s In Season- Mushrooms” for the low-down.
Asian ingredients all in one warming, healthy bowl!
I have only recently began experimenting with more Asian ingredients after moving to Vancouver Island and finding a large gap in the quantity and variety of Asian cuisine available. I came from Vancouver, so there is no comparison with what Vancouver offers! While there are a few good Asian restaurants here, I don’t eat out too often since it can get expensive pretty quick. Plus, I love experimenting with new ingredients and learning new skills and techniques in the kitchen, so why not make things from scratch?
An Asian Twist on Chicken Noodle Soup
This Chicken Udon Noodle Soup was inspired by classic Chicken Noodle Soup, but I just put an Asian twist on it! For the broth, I simmered dried kombu (seaweed), soy sauce, and dried shiitake mushrooms in a basic chicken broth. The seaweed gives the soup base a slight fishy/ocean taste while also imparting lots of vitamins and minerals into the soup. I used store-bought udon noodles to add some carby and filling substance to the soup as well. Plus, you have to have udon noodles in udon noodle soup! Fresh shimeji and enoki mushrooms, blanched spinach and fresh scallions are the main vegetables in this soup, and are all actually pretty seasonal! Chicken thighs, fried chicken skin (drool!), a 6-minute egg, and some black and white sesame seeds are also added for some extra protein and fat. When all these ingredients are combined, they provide a well-rounded and healthy meal!
That chicken skin though! <3
Prepare, prepare , prepare!
The trick to pulling this soup off is to get all the garnishes prepared in advance, just like in any Japanese udon shop. This way you aren’t doing 20 things at once! I blanch and chill the spinach, cook and peel the egg, chop the scallions, and fry the chicken thighs and chicken skin so that they are ready to add right on top of the soup when I am ready. I also cook the udon noodles separately and have those in the bottom of the bowl prior to ladling the broth and mushrooms over top. You don’t have to worry about these ingredients getting cold as the hot broth will instantly warm everything up once it’s in the bowl!
If you enjoy this recipe (and Asian recipes in general) be sure to follow my blog or my Instagram! Also, get ready for lots of Chinese New Year recipes coming very soon!
Get the Recipe!
Chicken Udon Noodle Soup
- 1.5 litres chicken broth
- 1 piece of dried kombu seaweed, 4-5 inches long
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 8 shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
- 1 piece ginger peeled, about 1 inch long
- Water for boiling
- 4 chicken thighs with skin
- 1 package brown shimeji mushrooms about 1 cup
- 1 package enoki mushrooms about 1 cup
- 2 scallions finely sliced into strips
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 2 large eggs
- 2 packages udon noodles about 2 cups total
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds I used both black and white
- 8 nori seaweed snacks
- Begin by preparing the broth. Add the chicken broth to a pot and bring to a boil. Add the dried kombu, soy sauce and soaked shiitake mushrooms. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the soup simmer for 30-40 minutes covered with a lid.
- In the meantime prepare your garnishes. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach leaves to one pot and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted and bright green in colour. Once cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Bring another pot of water to a boil. Add the eggs gently to the pot and cook over medium-high heat for 6-7 minutes. Once cooked, rinse the eggs under cold water until cool to the touch. Crack the eggs, carefully peel them, and set aside. Do not slice the eggs open yet!
- Next, fry the chicken. Gently remove the chicken skin from the meat and set aside. Cut the chicken thighs into small, bite-sized pieces and add them to a pan with a bit of olive oil to fry. Fry the chicken over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. If there is any leftover juice or fat in the pan, add about 1 tablespoon of that into the soup pot.
- Next, fry the chicken skin. Add the chicken skin in an even layer into the pan that you fried the chicken thighs in. Fry the chicken skin over medium-high heat until crispy and golden brown. Once it’s done, remove the chicken skin from the pan and drain on some paper towel.
- Now to finish the soup. Remove the kombu, ginger and shiitake mushrooms from the pot and set aside to cool. Add the enoki and shimeji mushrooms to the pot and bring them to a boil. Once the shiitakes are cool enough to handle, slice them up and add them to the pot again. Cook the mushrooms for 5-10 minutes, or until the enoki and shimeji mushrooms have softened.
- In the meantime, bring another pot of water to a boil and add the udon noodles. Cook the noodles for a minute or so less than the directions on the package as the noodles will continue to cook in the hot soup.
- Finally, let’s assemble! Add the udon noodles to a bowl to form a base. Top them with the chicken thighs, spinach and the mushrooms from the pot. Next, pour the soup into the bowl, covering these ingredients to warm them through. Garnish the soup with half of an egg with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, some scallions, a piece of fried chicken skin and two sheets of nori snacks on the side.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!