Asian Chicken Soup
An Asian-inspired chicken soup features a delicate mushroom broth laced with fresh ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and black peppercorns. Tofu provides protein and contrasting texture, while fresh herbs add color. You can use the mushroom broth in other soups and recipes as well; it is particularly good in risottos. For a heartier version, add cooked and drained soba or udon noodles, or serve brown rice on the side. This soup can be prepared through step 2 up to three days in advance; for best results, store the broth separately from all other items. Proceed with step 3 the day the soup will be served.
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup mixed dried mushrooms, such as porcini, shiitake, oyster, or wood ear
- 1 whole chicken breast (about 10 ounces)
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- Juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, and add mushrooms; let sit until softened, at least 30 minutes. Strain mushrooms through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove any sandy grit; discard mushrooms.
Return mushroom broth to a clean medium saucepan, and add chicken, carrot, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring just to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer over medium heat 20 minutes, or until broth is reduced to about 4 cups. Strain through a fine sieve back into saucepan, reserving broth and discarding everything but the chicken.
Remove chicken meat from the bones, and shred the meat. Return chicken meat to mushroom broth; add sugar, tofu, lime juice, herbs, and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Transfer soup to a covered container, and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve.