How many times a day do people pay £10 for a bowl of pho from Viet Eat or Pho…. or a bowl of ramen from Shoryu, Ippudo or Canada Ya? Or even £6 for one of LanZhou’s super yummy budget offerings?
What do I do when the universe throws a super discounted chicken at you? Well, make chicken ginseng soup of course!! =) Some people would call this bone broth. If I use anise, cinnamon & onion instead of ginger, garlic & ginseng, I would have ended up with pho-type soup. If I I had added kelp or bonito, this would be dashi… Whatever you call it… every culture has a version of chicken soup. It is warm, it is comforting, and it has magical healing immune-boosting properties.
Anyway…. this time I combined that chicken on the right with some Chinese herbs, a couple of carrots, dried shiitake, and some pounded ginger and garlic, and et voila!! Chicken Soup!
I used a pressure cooker for 30 minutes, but it can also be done on the slow cooker for 4-8 hours, or on the hob for 2 hours. I then took the chicken out, deboned it, reserved the meat, and stored the soup. For the rest of the weekend, I will be heating up single portions of soup, adding noodles and vegetables, and eating it. The recipe doesn’t include salt. Flavouring is usually left right till the very end and when I’m at home I tend to eat soupy noodles with preserved olive leaves, and umami laden condiment which goes amazing well with noodles.
If you read other, perhaps more traditional, cooking blogs, you might have come across people insisting on using black free range chicken (which is supposed to be the best chicken for chicken soup), or corn-fed organic chicken.. perhaps even sparkly chicken with superpowers… BUT, while there may be some merit in these traditional practices, in reality, with food costs rising everywhere, ‘the best’ is really ‘the best we can get’. And the best I am willing to pay for is this yellow stickered supermarket offering. Me of the budget meals…… the frozen vegetables, and the discounted foods. I do not believe that more expensive = better. A balanced diet with lots of, and a good variety, of fruit and veg is what the body needs, and this is exactly what this noodle – soup is. And the two best things about this compared to something from a restaurant? It has no MSG, and it costs about £1/meal.