Chinese chicken noodle soup

I love this basic Chinese soup. I make different variations of it, sometimes with chicken, sometimes with king prawns. It’s also easy to add / leave ingredients out, I sometimes add thinly sliced red peppers, as well as sesame seeds on top for visual effect. Also, I don’t always use the egg. The only thing however that is a must to me, is to have my homemade chicken stock in the freezer. I’ve never made this soup with shop bought stock, and I’m not interested in trying it either. This doesn’t mean you can’t try it of course, I just don’t know how that kind of stock would affect the end taste. Sometimes I use chicken cut in pieces, today I wanted to use shredded chicken.

serves 2
1 egg
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 spring onion
2 chestnut mushrooms
half a thumb size piece of fresh root ginger
1 small green chilli
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp light soy sauce
800-900ml chicken stock Homemade chicken stock
vermicelli rice noodles
1 chicken breast

1. Poach the chicken breast in the simmering stock for 10-15 minutes.

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2. Finely chop garlic, ginger and chilli.  Slice the mushrooms and spring onion. Remove the chicken breast from the stock, and cool. Add garlic, ginger,chilli, mushrooms and spring onions to the liquid, and simmer for few minutes.

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3. If using the egg, beat it together with the sesame oil. Add all other remaining ingredients to the stock apart from the egg and chicken. Cook for few minutes, and add the vermicelli noodle. The noodle I use is a packet of 5 ‘blocks’, total weight of 225g. All that is needed is one of the blocks.

4. Once the chicken has cooled, shred it by hand. It will very easily break into strands when you start pulling it apart. One breast gives you surprisingly much. Once shredded, add to the stock.

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5. Pour the egg to the stock in a fine stream. Stock will become cloudy at first, but once the egg is cooked, stock will be clearer again. Pull egg into strands by a fork or chopsticks.

Sweet and sour chicken

As I was driving home from work I didn’t yet know what to cook for dinner. My husband fancied some sweet and sour chicken, and I thought it was a great idea to use up the left over rice we had too, so that was decided. Luckily, I still had one portion of my homemade chicken stock in the freezer too. This was also a good dish to make that didn’t take up too much of my evening once at home.

350ml chicken stock (Homemade chicken stock)
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground white pepper
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
4 tbsp tomato puree
4 tsp potato flour (or corn flour), mixed with 1-2 tbsp water
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2 chicken breasts, cut in pieces
5 chestnut mushrooms
1 carrot
1 red or green pepper
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 spring onions

1. Peel and slice the carrot, and chop the pepper into fairly big pieces. Place in boiling water for 4 minutes. Pour the water away and set carrot and pepper aside.

2. In the pan, heat your chicken stock. I tend to take my homemade stock out of the freezer just when needing it, and I just defrost it by melting in the pan. While the stock is warming, mix the other sauce ingredients, apart from the flour and water. Add to the stock, and bring to boil. Add the carrot and pepper. Mix the flour and water, and add to the stock. Boil for couple of minutes, then reduce the heat to simmer. Stir from time to time.

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3. Fry the chicken in a pan (I use groundnut oil with this dish). Once just about cooked, add the chopped mushrooms, garlic, onion and spring onion, and fry, stirring, for couple of minutes.

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4. Pour the sauce on the chicken, and stir everything together.