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Here's an easy, savory Oriental type soup that can serve as a first course or make a meal in itself.  It's quick, especially if you use a pressure cooker, and full of healthy veggies with vitamins and antioxidants.  What a delicious way to get your daily dose of cruciferous vegetables.  Try this next time you have the sniffles, too!   It'll soothe the tummy and help clear the head.

Chicken Noodle Soup, Asian Style

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon
1/4 chicken, or 2 thighs or drumsticks, or 1 whole breast  (Note #1)
1 small onion
1 bay leaf

1 sprig of cilantro OR large pinch dried cilantro

1 pinch of 5-spice powder
pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes

4 oz. (1/2 cup) tomato sauce
water to cover
1-1/2 qt. chicken broth
OR 3 heaping Tbsp. chicken soup base + 1-1/2 qt. water (Note #2)
1 large onion
1 carrot
1 large stalk celery
1 medium zucchini
1/2 large green bell pepper
1/2 red sweet pepper
1/4 head of a medium-sized green cabbage
2 green onions
3 large mushrooms (or 6 small ones)
3 large cloves garlic
1 lump of fresh ginger (size of 2 or 3 dried beans)  (Note #3)
black pepper
3 tablespoons soy sauce
8 oz. medium egg noodles or similar thin pasta

Heat oil in a large heavy pot or pressure cooker it shimmers. (Note #4)   Add salt, 1 coarsely chopped small onion and chicken.  Sauté until chicken and onion start to brown.  Add cilantro
, red pepper flakes, 5-spice powder and bay leaf.  Stir and sauté a moment longer to enhance the flavor of the spices.   Add tomato sauce.  Cover with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cook until chicken is tender but not falling apart.

While chicken is cooking, cut the other onion in half, stem to root, and trim.  Cut into thin half-slices.  Cut carrots and zucchini into thin julienne strips or straws 3" to 5" inches long.  Cut peppers into strips.   Slice celery thinly on the diagonal.  Remove core from cabbage half, then shave into long shreds.  Cut green onions the long way into quarters, then cut into 3" to 5" long pieces.  Cut mushroom stems into little rounds, then slice mushrooms thinly. 

Remove chicken to a plate to cool.  Strain broth and return to pan.  (Note #5)  Add remaining chicken broth OR water and soup base (or chicken bouillon cubes). 

Add vegetables.  Finely mince the garlic and ginger and add with the soy sauce, and black pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes.  Shred chicken by hand into strings.  Bring soup back to a boil and stir in noodles and shredded chicken.  If it looks like it needs more water, add it, but be prepared to add some more soup base or bouillon and/or soy sauce if needed; the broth should have a rich taste.  (This makes a somewhat thick soup, but with the veggies and noodles still floating around freely.)  Cook until noodles and veggies are thoroughly tender.  Check for salt and other seasonings.   Serve hot.  You'll really enjoy this one!

Note #1:  Remove excess fat and loose skin, unless you intend to skim the broth.

Note #2:  If you don't have chicken broth or soup base, you may use chicken bouillon cubes.  Note they are very salty; you may need to eliminate the salt in the first step of cooking the chicken.

Note #3:  A generous pinch of ground ginger can be substituted, but believe me, it won't be the same.   Try to get some fresh ginger  for this recipe.  What you don't use, you can mince and "candy" by cooking in a strong sugar syrup.  Store in a closed container in the refrigerator to use like fresh ginger in future recipes.

Note #4:   I think a pressure cooker brings the flavor out of the seasonings, chicken and chicken bones better, plus it saves time and fuel costs.  About fifteen minutes after it reaches full pressure should do it.

Note #5:   De-fat or skim the broth first if low-fat is a priority.

The Sneaky Kitchen
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