Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup

Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup

9 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2010

What is so obliging about this hearty chicken soup is that you can add any vegetables that suit your fancy: napa or Savoy cabbage, mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, broccolini, onions, leeks, mustard or turnip greens, celery or whatever tickles your bonnet. Just be sure that you don't overcook the vegetables. Spice it up with Asian-style chile sauce, such as sriracha, and/or serve the soup over noodles to make it a more substantial main dish.

Ingredients 8 servings

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Original recipe yields 8 servings
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  • ½ ounce (about ½ cup) dried shiitake or mixed dried mushrooms
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil or canola oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6⅛-inch-thick slices peeled fresh ginger
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 2-to-3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 scallions, whites cut into 2-inch pieces and greens chopped, divided
  • 1 pound bok choy, preferably baby bok choy, white stems sliced lengthwise and greens chopped, divided
  • 2 cups (4 ounces) mung bean sprouts (see Note)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Lime wedges for garnish


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Place mushrooms in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with boiling water. Soak for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. Remove the mushrooms from the water, remove and discard stems (if any) and cut into ⅛-inch slices; set aside. Strain the soaking liquid and reserve.
  2. Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Pour in the reserved mushroom liquid, broth, soy sauce, cinnamon stick, star anise and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in fennel, scallion whites and the reserved mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add bok choy stems, return to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in bok choy greens and bean sprouts. Cook until the greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes more.
  4. Discard the cinnamon stick and star anise. Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish each bowl with scallion greens, cilantro and a ¼-teaspoon drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
  • Note: Mung bean sprouts (germinated mung beans), often simply labeled “bean sprouts,” are white with a light yellow tip and are thicker than more common alfalfa sprouts.
  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1¾ cups
  • Per serving: 257 calories; 11 g fat(3 g sat); 3 g fiber; 13 g carbohydrates; 27 g protein; 79 mcg folate; 76 mg cholesterol; 5 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 2,920 IU vitamin A; 29 mg vitamin C; 107 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 789 mg sodium; 831 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (58% daily value), Vitamin C (48% dv), Folate (20% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 1½ vegetable, 3 lean meat

Reviews 9

January 10, 2017
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By: meadry
I have made it several times. The broth works quite well. Sometimes I add a bit of fish sauce or rice wine vinegar. The veg party I use what I have on hand, sliced thin and added according to cooking time needed. Adding peanuts or other nuts or seeds on top bulks up the the soup, especially if I'm short on meat. This basic recipe is a keeper.
January 06, 2017
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By: Laura
Made this today and found it delicious and totally enjoyable. I would make two suggestions: edit the measurement for the ginger 61/8" slices, looks like six and 1/8 inches of sliced ginger. I peeled a six inch piece of ginger and then saw the 1/8th inch which made me look closer and realize the mistake I was just about to make. Secondly, beware, the whites of the bok coy cook quickly and become mush. Next time I will add a greater variety of vegetables. I also appreciated the heads-up on cutting in advance, this saved time and made the actual cook time simpler.
October 12, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
Yummy! Made this today after looking for a recipe that will help build immune system - feeling a cold kick in and wanted to fight it off. I prepared the ingredients before getting the cooking going - found this to make things soooo much easier. I also added a little of sirachi to the soy sauce. I definitely suggest this recipe. We didn't even miss the noodles found in most chicken soups; the bean sprouts and other veggies were amazing. Pros: Balance of Greens & Sweet with Spice, Crunch from Bean Sprouts and Cons: Lots of Ingredients - but this is not a con!! :)
May 10, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
August 07, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I made this the other night for my husband and my sister. Only halfway through constructing the soup did we find out that we were all out of soy sauce. We' weren't going to just quit, so I opened up the fridge and looked for a substitute. We ended up throwing in some fish sauce and some oyster sauce to replace the absent soy sauce. In the end, my sister and I both really liked it, and my husband wouldn't even eat his. However, I'm adding the recipe to my favorites; i'll just make sure I actually have the soy sauce before I make it again. I might use vegetable broth and replace the chicken with tofu to try it vegetarian style next time. Final words: good flavor for such a low calorie soup packed with so many vegetables. -Mrs.C
March 20, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Take the time to get all of the ingredients. The star anise is available at Chinese grocery stores. I only made one substitution, spinach instead of bok choy. I couldn't get out to the Chinese store. Luckily I keep the rest of the ingredients around. The cilantro and sesame seed oil add a lot of flavor. Don't omit them. I never leave comments. However, this is so good if you like Asian food , that I just had to let you know. If you don't like peppery recipes cut the pepper to 1/4. Even at a 1/2 it was very peppery.
March 20, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Take time to get all of the ingredients. You can buy the star anise at Chinese grocery stores.The only substitute I made was spinach instead of Bok Choy. I couldn't get to the Asian store, which is 10 miles from here. Luckily I keep the other things around. This is a truly delicious recipe. The cilantro and sesame seed oil as toppings really add a lot of extra flavor. If you have anyone in your family, who is not into peppery cut the pepper down to 1/4 tsp. Even at a 1/2 tsp. it is very, very peppery. I never leave comments, but this is so good if your tastes run to Asian food, that I had to tell you.
March 08, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I also love this recipe -- i did not find a fresh fennel bulb, so threw in a few fennel seeds instead -- followed the recipe pretty closely, but also added sliced water chestnuts. saved about half of the bean sprouts, bok choy and green onions to add when i reheated for lunch at work and that worked well.
March 01, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
This soup was wonderful, although I should note that I made a lot of substitutions. I didn't have bok choy or bean sprouts, so in addition to the fennel I added a lot of additional carrots. As the recipe notes, this would be good with pretty much any veggies you have around. The key to the flavors are the dried mushrooms, the ginger, the soy sauce, and the scallions---so I think I would consider them NECESSARY for the soup, but everything else could be substituted. Oh yeah, I also didn't have a cinnamon stick, so I used one shake of powdered (worked fine--smelled very interesting there at the beginning!), and I didn't star anise, so we went without. I decided to add Asian noodles (I used Japanese somen noodles) so I could tell the kids it was "Asian chicken noodle soup." The 9-year-old liked it; the 5-year-old found it tolerable after adding Parmesan cheese (in her mind, if there are noodles, there should be parm....ah well, she's only 5). I had never served fennel to my family before, and worried that it would taste too strongly of licorice (which my family likes, but I didn't know how they'd feel about it for dinner)--but no one said anything about it; I guess the cooking mellows the flavor. The sesame oil and sriracha sauce were wonderful additions. Anyway, I loved it. Thanks EW!
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