I hope you all enjoyed my blog yesterday ‘Gemma’s Marvellous Medicine #1 – Honey & Lemon Drink’? If not, do have a little read, as it will hopefully help you to start feeling better, as there are a lot of colds and bugs going around at the moment.
The other thing I made for myself this week, to give me a little boost, is this ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’. As a little girl, whenever I was ill, my mummy would make me chicken soup – now this was generally the tinned variety, but if you have had a similar experience, you will know what I mean when I say it makes you feel better instantly. Me and my friends call this recipe ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, as it is the ‘pick-me-up’ you need – a hot, tasty and fresh soup, which warms the cockles of your heart. It is delicious!
This recipe also costs very little to make – my calculations for how much it cost me are below (though remember I bought all of my ingredients in a local supermarket in central London, so the price will be slightly higher due to that). It cost me £3.62 to make this recipe and I took the other portions to work for my lunch, so per portion it was 90p. BARGAIN! So lets get cooking this tasty, cheap, Chinese chicken noodle soup!
PREPERATION TIME: 5 minutes
COOKING TIME: 30 minutes
MAKES: 4 portions of soup
- 2 Chicken Thighs (98p)
- 1 tin of ‘naturally sweet’ sweetcorn (you can use any you like, but I think that this is the tastiest) (65p)
- 1 bunch of spring onions (£1)
- 2 chicken stock cubes (50p)
- 1 egg (29p)
- 75g noodles (I use wholemeal noodles for an extra health boost, but any noodles are fine – or even fine spaghetti if you cannot buy noodles) (15p)
- 1 tbsp cornflour (5p)
- 1 pint boiling water
- Black pepper to season
HOW TO MAKE THE SOUP…
Grab a large pan and place it on the hob. Fill the kettle with cold water and get that boiling. Open the tin of sweetcorn and pop this in the pan, then dice the spring onion into small pieces (about 5mm) and throw this in the pan. When I work with people from the community, teaching them to cook, the first thing they do with Spring Onions is to chop the top 6 – 10 cm off and throw them in the bin. This makes my heart sink! NO! The green tops of the onion are fantastic for us. You may want to tidy the spring onions and cut off the first 2mm, but you really must use all the spring onion. The green part holds different vitamins and minerals (such as vitamin C, iron and folic acid) which are essential for our good health. So, please do not waste any of this fabulous vegetable.
Place the chopped spring onions in the pan together with the 2 chicken thighs and then add the pint of boiling water. Turn the heat on – to a medium heat so that the water is gently simmering/bubbling, but you don’t want it on a rolling boil – this is too hot. Now add the 2 stock cubes and the black pepper (I use quite a lot of this) and then give this a good stir, to dissolve the stock cubes. Place a lid on the pan and leave the soup to cook and the flavours of the chicken, sweetcorn and spring onions to come out and flavour the liquid.
We need to allow time for the chicken to cook through – this should take about 20 minutes. After this time, remove one of the thighs, place it on your chopping board and cut into it. If there is no blood it is cooked. Remove the other thigh, repeat this process and then leave the chicken to one side. If they are not cooked, pop them back into the water and leave for 5 minutes then repeat the checking for blood.
Now we need to work on our soup, so lets add the noodles and let these cook – this will take about 10 minutes. Whilst this occurs crack your egg into a mug/cup and whisk – as if you are going to make scrambled eggs. In another mug add the 1 tablespoon of cornflour and add water to this to make a fairly thin mixture.
The noodles will be cooked by now, so get a fork, place this into the soup and make small whisking motions in the centre. Continue doing this whilst you very slowly pour in the whisked egg and you will see small bits of white egg form in the soup. This is what you see in all the chicken and sweetcorn soups you get from the Chinese take-away/restaurant, and when you eat one of these later it will be just delicious, but it also adds to the Chinese authenticity of this dish. YUM!
The soup will be quite thin and watery now – unlike those in the Chinese, so we need to thicken it. This is where your cornflour and water mixture comes in. Stir the soup with a large spoon and slowly add the cornflour, you will notice the soup thickening. Add as much/as little cornflour as you like to make the soup the consistency you want. Once the soup as cooled it will thicken much much more, so go steady and use less rather than more!
Finally, shred the cooked chicken thighs using forks (if they are hot) or your fingers. You want to make lots of little chicken strands, not huge chunks of chopped up chicken – for some reason it just doesn’t taste the same, or wrap around the noodles and egg if you chop the chicken, so avoid this and get your hands in!
Add the chicken to the soup, stir well and after 5 mins (once the chicken is heated through again) serve this in a large bowl. You can add more pepper to taste if you like!
Ps. My soup (as per the picture opposite) looks very purple! This is right and it is not your eyes playing tricks on you! I used wholemeal noodles which I get from my local Vietnamese supermarket and when you cook with them they look like little purple worms in your soup. I also went a little overboard on noodles – so my soup was very purple and quite stodgy. Kids will love the purple noodles, you could even rename the soup chicken worm soup – just to get them to give it a try!