This weekend my kitchen was a cook's worst nightmare. I made a salad that was seriously disgusting. Then I made cupcakes that were soggy. Yup. Then, while making more cupcakes, I burned my hand over a double boiler and broke a glass bottle of olive oil all over my kitchen floor. For the second time. That damn tile is killer- also shattered my iPhone not too long ago. The only truly great thing to come out of my kitchen this weekend were onion rings. Which my husband made. And the next thing to go wrong was that right when I went to take pictures of this soup, my camera battery died, so you get an iPhone photo.
It can be really frustrating when I just keep failing in my kitchen. How can I teach you how to cook if I can't even do it myself? But the thing is that I can and that's why I fail. Because I am in my kitchen cooking every day. And if you cook, you will fail. And it will be okay because you will get another chance. Three times a day you will get a chance.
I've had whole wheat pita bread in the cue here for a couple of weeks now. And something better just keeps coming up. Or I can't find anything exciting to say about pita. I made this soup this afternoon and it's flavors sing. It's a great alternative to the traditional chicken noodle and the aromatics here will definitely clear your winter sinuses and bring a little brightness to your winter blues. Ginger really has a way of doing that so feel free to add more if you love it.
Sesame Ginger Soba Noodle Soup
Substitution Ideas: This soup could really be adapted in so many ways. You could use bone-in chicken breasts or legs (just increase the simmering time). If baby bok choy isn't your thing, you could easily substitute broccoli florets or baby spinach (though you may just want to add the spinach right at the end). And instead of soba noodles, feel free to use vermicelli or brown rice noodles or even regular thin spaghetti. You can see pictured above a bowl of arugula which I didn't end up adding, but I think it would be a nice addition right at the end as well.
4-5 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. tahini (optional, it just gives a subtle sesame flavor)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated (about 1-2 inches)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz. dry soba noodles
1 spring onion or a few green onions
2 bunches baby bok choy
2 tsp. sunflower oil (or grapeseed or peanut or canola if you must)
kosher salt & pepper
sriracha sauce for finishing
1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot (or Dutch oven) to medium. Lightly season chicken breast with salt and pepper. When oil shimmers, add chicken to pot. Let brown on all sides (a few minutes per side). Tip: If you try to grab the chicken and it sticks to the pot, it just isn't ready to be flipped. Wait another minute and try again.
2. Once chicken is browned, add 4 cups chicken brother, 2 cups water, tahini and a pinch of salt. With wooden spoon, scrape brown bits from the bottom of the pan (this is the flavor, you want this).
3. Add garlic and ginger. Let simmer 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through (This will depend on the size of your chicken and whether or not you use chicken with a bone or not). Remove chicken to cool. Turn off the heat.
4. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer. You want to remove all the bits of tahini and garlic and ginger to give the broth a more smooth texture. The flavors will be infused in the broth. (Don't worry if you don't do an awesome job straining.. I only have a really small strainer and was using my Dutch oven so I had my 4-year-old hold my strainer (he did awesome) while I poured and I poured a bit too quickly so some of the bits still remained. It's no big deal).
5. At this point, start a large pot of water to boil noodles. In the meantime, shred chicken with 2 forks and prepare your veggies. Slice onion thinly and chop each piece of bok choy into a few pieces. Boil noodles according to package instructions (the ones I use take 4 minutes).
6. While your noodles boil, add bok choy and chicken back to the pot of broth. Turn heat to medium-high. When noodles are finished boiling, add them to the broth (I like to use a tongs and transfer directly from pasta water to broth, but feel free to drain if you prefer). Now your bok choy should be tender and everything should be heated through. Taste the broth and add a pinch or two more of salt if you like.
7. Transfer to bowls and top with a drizzle of sriracha if you like (trust me, you like)