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    Gingered Chicken Soup

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    Gingered Chicken Soup

    • Preparation time: 120 minutes to 180 minutes
    • Cooking time: 10 minutes
    • Total time: 2-3 hours plus chilling overnight 25 minutes

    Serves: 4 - 6


    • For the soup
    • Bunch of coriander
    • 6cm piece of ginger
    • Pinch of salt
    • 300g beansprouts
    • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
    • Squeeze of lime juice, plus 1-2 limes cut into wedges for serving
    • Bunch of mint
    • For the stock
    • 1 boiling chicken, or ordinary medium chicken, about 1.5kg
    • 3 litres water
    • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 6cm piece of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
    • 1-2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
    • Salt, to taste


    1. A boiling chicken is the best thing for chicken soup, but they are increasingly hard to find. An ordinary roaster will do, but you must remove the meat after an hour or so or it will be too dry.
    2. Put the chicken into a large pot and add the water and peppercorns. Bring to the boil over a high heat. In a dry frying pan, scorch the ginger and onion until they begin to blacken, then add to the pot. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, turn the heat down and leave the chicken to simmer. If you've used a roasting chicken, remove it after an hour, pick off the meat and coarsely shred it. Put the carcass back into the pot and simmer for another hour or two. A boiling chicken doesn't have to be removed after the first hour: just cook it for 2-3 hours and then remove the meat and shred it.
    3. Strain the stock and discard the carcass. When the stock is cool, refrigerate it for at least 3 hours or overnight. You will then be able to skim off a layer of fat, which can be dolloped onto the soup, when you serve it, if you want to.
    4. You can make this stock 2-3 days in advance; just make sure the shredded chicken meat is kept in an airtight container in the fridge or it will become dry.
    5. When you want to eat the soup, bring the stock to the boil and let it simmer, adding more fish sauce and salt to taste. Peel the ginger, mince finely and put it in a small bowl with the salt and a little water. Beat to a paste with a fork.
    6. Distribute the beansprouts between 4 or 6 bowls and top with the chicken (which should have been taken out of the fridge to get to room temperature). Add the spring onions and ladle in the stock. Squeeze in a little lime juice and put a dollop of ginger paste (and some chicken fat, if the idea appeals) into each bowl. Generously sprinkle over freshly chopped mint and coriander.
    7. Serve with bowls containing more ginger paste, mint and coriander, and some lime wedges, for people to add as they eat.

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