Get out of the winter soup rut with bright and flavorful thai ramen noodle chicken soup. Thanks to quick cooking ramen noodles, this dish comes together quickly with leftover chicken, for a hearty weeknight meal.
What is it about soup that’s so comforting and restorative?
I’m about midway through my yearly knock-down-drag-out cold — it’s a doozy — and all I can think about is my next bowl of soup. (And, I’ll admit, my next nap.) There’s bone broth simmering in the slow cooker as I type this. Chicken soup is on the menu for dinner tonight, and a big mug of leftover Thai ramen noodle chicken soup and a vegetable-heavy green salad is waiting for me for lunch. Hot herbal tea has soothed the throat and warmed the body, but I don’t think I would’ve gotten through this dang virus if it weren’t for soup.
Today’s chicken soup is just the kind of medicine I need to get through the day. Lots of health-supporting ginger, garlic, mushrooms, and — of course — a deeply savory, homemade bone broth, all rounded out by delicious Thai-inspired ingredients like red curry paste, kaffir leaves, and lemongrass.
And it comes together lickety-split, thanks to quick-cooking ramen noodles. Half an hour, and you have dinner on the table. That’s something even a cold-muddled zombie, like my current sad self, can pull together.
Recipe Insights for Thai Ramen Noodle Chicken Soup
- “Why so many ingredients, SoupAddict? Why??” Asian cuisine is masterful at building layers of flavor using the tastiest ingredients, and each region has its own signature flavor palate. Thai foods appeal to me the most, with its puckery, citrus-leaning flavors, like ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir leaves. But no worries: the ingredients are easy enough to source, and several last a long time. Fresh produce, such as leeks, ginger, lemongrass, and shiitakes should be available at most big-box groceries today. Kaffir lime leaves can be a little harder to find – check the produce aisle for fresh, or the spice aisle for dried. Red Thai curry paste, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari/fish sauce, and kaffir lime leaves are long-storing items: refrigerate the curry paste, freeze fresh kaffir lime leaves, and store the other items in the pantry. Once you try this soup, you’ll be happy to keep them on hand.
- Dishes like Thai ramen noodle chicken soup are exactly what leftover chicken was made for! Short on time and nothing in the freezer? Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is an excellent solution.
- To use fresh chicken: remove the skin and bones and brown the pieces in oil, right in the soup pot, first thing. Remove and set aside to cool while the vegetables cook. Then cut up the chicken into bite size pieces and add to the soup as instructed. At the end of the first 15 minutes of cooking, check several pieces to ensure the chicken is cooked through (if not, cook 5 minutes more). Then add the ramen noodles and continue the recipe.
- Salad greens in soup may sound strange in theory, but not in practice. Baby bok choy holds its shape and crunch very well, and adds interest and texture to a cooked soup. (No baby bok choy on the store shelves? Substitute regular bok choy or even Napa cabbage)
- For a creamy variation (similar to this one from the soup archives), substitute, one-to-one, some of the chicken broth with canned coconut milk.
If you love Thai flavors like I do, check out these similar recipes from the archives:
Here’s to the wonderful effects of humanity-restoring soup!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks well cleaned and chopped
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery rib chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms sliced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari soy, or fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups cooked chicken chopped or pulled (leftovers work great)
- 1 kaffir lime leaf optional
- 1 3 ounce package ramen discard seasoning packet
- 1 baby bok choy sliced
- 1 green onion sliced
- salt and black pepper to taste
Heat oil in a 3 or 4 quart pot over medium until shimmering. Add the leeks, onion, carrot, celery, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, and sauté until softened (6-8 minutes). Scootch the vegetables to one side and add the sesame oil and curry paste. Stir until fragrant, then mix in with the vegetables.
Add the mushrooms, the chicken broth, plus the vinegar, tamari (or soy or fish) sauce, and brown sugar. Increase heat to medium-high. When the soup begins to bubble, add the chicken and kaffir leaf, and reduce heat to medium-low (enough to maintain a gentle simmer). Cook for at least 15 minutes, to let the flavors combine. Add the ramen noodles and cook 5 minutes more. Taste, and adjust the salt and pepper.
A few minutes before serving, fish out the kaffir leaf, then add the bok choy and green onions and stir to heat through.