Chinese Chicken Soup

21 Mar

In three weeks I’m presenting my paper on sustainable architecture in China at my first political science conference.  Do you remember that paper?  You must, I think it’s all I talked about from September-November.  A movie I’ve been waiting four years for is also finally coming out but instead of being in Chicago seeing it and the director at the Music Box I will be in Normal, Illinois talking about buildings and the environment and China to people who are probably really confused about why architecture has to do with political science.

Ah well, I’ll see Upstream Color the day after I get back and it’ll be amazing and wonderful, and I won’t get to see the lovely director/writer/composer/co-star, but I can live with that.  I suppose.

I can feel this becoming a career, though.  Green architecture in China.  I’m already thinking about paper topics for next quarter, but I’m leaning heavily towards how contemporary art in China is an invaluable form of resistance against the government, particularly against the central government’s urban planning policies.  HOWEVER, I have to finish this quarter first, and I’m so close to the end now.

This quarter I actually had the foresight to make one dish that I could eat all week long and that didn’t require a lot of effort, and it has really helped sustain me.  I just finished it off a few minutes ago, and so now I bring to you: Chinese chicken soup!



How is this different from American chicken soup?  Well the broth, for one thing.  The Chinese version has a lot more flavor, using rice vinegar and soy sauce instead of just chicken stock.  Also, the vegetables, which is the biggest draw for me.  I’m not hugely fond of vegetables, but will always eat them in Chinese food.  They’re just better.  Better variety and better cooking methods.

I got this recipe from a very lovely site called A Spicy Perspective and adapted it out of laziness, taking out some ingredients I didn’t feel like getting.  If you really want the full experience, check out the original recipe.


  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, cracked
  • 1 lb boneless chicken… I used breast, but the recipe calls for thighs.  I don’t know what the difference is.
  • 5 oz rice stick/mai fun noodles.  You could use any noodles though.
  • 1 large bunch/1 package green onions
  • 8 oz. mushrooms
  • whatever other vegetables you want to throw in there



To do:

In a large pot, bring the chicken stock, water, vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic to a boil.

Throw in the chicken and simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Stir, or the chicken will clump together and it’ll  be weird.  Trust me.  Chicken clumps are weird.



Add the noodles and then remove from the heat.  Mai fun don’t need to be cooked so much as soaked.  I actually don’t like these noodles, but it’s what the recipe called for and I was on the phone in the grocery store so I wasn’t really paying attention… Also I went to the local grocery store which only sells mai fun.  I should have gone Uptown to the Asian grocery store… They have an entire aisle of noodles.



When you’re getting ready to serve the soup, chop all the vegetables up and put them in little bowls if you’re sharing with a group.  If you’re just keeping it to yourself, chop whatever you need as you need it.

DSC_0336This can be stored… probably indefinitely, but I’ve had it for a week and a half now.  You just have to microwave and then throw some vegetables on top and you’re golden.



Ta-daaaa.  (I went to sleep at 7 am, okay, so don’t judge me based on my coherency right now.)



Now, books.  I’m reading a bunch right now, but what I really want to recommend is this French book.  If you don’t speak French… sorry.  Because I don’t think it’s been translated.  To preface this, I saw a movie a few days ago called Monsieur Lazhar, which is this exceedingly lovely Canadian movie staring a gentleman by the name of Mohamed Fellag.  I really liked him so I looked him up and found out that he was also a comedian and a writer, and my library system happened to have his books.  Luckily I can still read French, and luckier still Fellag is a brilliant writer who is completely readable and very talented.

I’m reading his short stories in C’est à Alger.  They all have to do in some part with Algeria, whether with the Kafka-esque government or the mythology of the area combined with the current political climate.  I would compare it to Persepolis, actually, in the way it shows you this very beautiful portrait of a place in turmoil and its people who are trying to make a life in extreme circumstances.  Anyway, if you can find a translation, hurray, and if you can read French, even better, because the book is great and his writing is even better.


2 Responses to “Chinese Chicken Soup”

  1. ecm5420 21/03/2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Going to try it! Love reading your “stuff”. Did you try my biscuit recipe?

    • thedancingtoast 21/03/2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks! I don’t have your biscuit recipe, but I guess I will have to get it.

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