Deb Perelman’s third cookbook came out in late November and quickly rocketed to The New York Times Best Sellers List. Smitten Kitchen Keepers is a collection of Deb’s “keeper” recipes: the go-to formulas she’s perfected for the recipes she makes most.
This chicken and ramen noodle soup recipe was inspired by the flavours of NYC’s Chinatown. “[The soup] works on a night that we’re thinking about getting Chinese food delivered, and we want something that’s a little more homemade.” Deb says. “It’s really just a very simple weeknight way to make chicken noodle soup, and I love that it has a little bit of those wonton soup flavours in it.”
According to Deb, there’s no shame in cutting the chicken with a knife when you’re prepping your ingredients if fork-shredding isn’t your thing. What’s key to the success of this soup isn’t the shredded chicken, but the malty flavour of black vinegar (also referred to as black rice vinegar and Chinkiang vinegar), which infuses the soup with an umami taste and striking colour. Adding spicy Chili Crisp before serving (we love Zing’s) provides the heat.
From her son to a former assistant, everyone in Deb’s life falls in love with her inspired take on traditional chicken noodle soup. “I hope it has that kind of effect for other people, where you’ve made it once and you’re like, ‘okay, we’re going to make this one again and again,'” she says.
Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 3-inch piece ginger peeled, finely chopped
- 1 bundle (6-8 oz.) scallions thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
- 4 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground white or black pepper
- 10 cups water
- 8 oz dried curly (in a brick) or other dried ramen-style noodles
- 1 cup sliced carrot cut into thin matchsticks (about ½ full- sized carrot)
- ¼ cup black rice vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- crispy chili oil to taste
- Bring the chicken, garlic, ginger, scallion whites (reserve greens), salt, pepper and water to a boil in a 4-to-5-quart pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is very tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- While the soup simmers, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl, and add as much or as little chili crisp as your heart desires.
- Remove the chicken with tongs, and transfer it to a cutting board. Add the noodles and carrot to the broth, following the cooking-time estimation your noodles’ package directions. Use two forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Once the noodles are done, return the chicken to the pot, and rewarm for 1 minute. Taste, adjusting seasoning if needed.
- Divide the soup between bowls. add a handful of scallion greens, and drizzle each bowl with 1 tablespoon of the soy-sauce mixture, adding more to taste.