Tender chicken pieces, gorgeous Asian mushrooms, slippery udon noodles, a spicy and savory broth, juicy wontons, and crisp spring onion come together to make this warming and delicious Spicy Udon Noodle Soup with Chicken & Mushrooms!
Marinate the chicken: Clean and pat-dry the chicken thighs. Trim off excess fat if needed and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a medium bowl, followed by the low sodium light soy sauce, fish sauce, corn starch, ground white pepper, and sesame oil. Mix well to combine, then set aside.
Prepare the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic, ginger, red chilies, and Prik Kee Nu (if using). Transfer to mortar and pestle and pound into a coarse paste, then. Slice the shallots and any of the mushrooms such as shitakes if needed. Set aside.
For the Spicy Chicken & Mushroom Soup:
Cook the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken and immediately spread the pieces out in the pan. Cook for a minute, undisturbed, then flip the pieces over and cook for another minute. Once nicely browned and cooked through, transfer to a clean bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside.
Sauté aromatics: Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shallots and sauté for a minute until slightly softened. Then add the garlic, ginger, and chilies paste, star anise, and dried shrimp. Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the mushrooms: Add the mushrooms and stir to combine for a minute until slightly tender.
Build the broth: Pour in the pork bone broth and water, stir to combine. Season with ground white pepper, black pepper powder, ground cinnamon, low sodium light soy sauce, fish sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, kosher salt, and white sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the cooked chicken back in during the last 2 minutes of simmering. (Or to preserve the texture of the cooked chicken, you can top off the noodle bowls with the chicken pieces when serving instead). Switch off the heat. Fish out and discard the star anise.
To Assemble Noodle Bowls:
Assemble the noodle bowls: While the soup is simmering, cook the udon noodles according to package instructions in a separate pot of boiling water. During the last 30 seconds of cooking, add the Asian greens in the same pot and briefly blanch them. Drain and divide the noodles and Asian greens into three bowls. Add water to pot again and bring to a boil. Add the wontons and cook according to package instructions. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the wontons to noodle bowls.
To Serve: Ladle the spicy chicken and mushroom soup evenly over the noodle bowls and garnish with chopped spring onion. Serve immediately with Chinese chili oil for drizzling if desired.
Mortar and pestle: If you don’t own one, you bend the aromatics in a mini blender instead. Or smash with the flat side of your knife and then finely chop.
Assorted Asian Mushrooms: I used an assortment of fresh shitake mushrooms, shimeji/enoki, and Taiwanese Hsui Tseng mushrooms. But use any type of Asian mushrooms you love, either one type or a combination of several varieties. You can also use a combination of dried mushrooms and fresh mushrooms. Rejuvenate the dried mushrooms by soaking in a bowl of hot water first before slicing. If you don’t have easy access to Asian mushrooms, use brown button, cremini, white champignon mushrooms, etc. instead.
Asian ingredients: Dried shrimp, star anise, pork bone broth, and Shao Xing rice wine can be found in an Asian supermarket. If you can’t get a hold of Asian red shallots, substitute with 1/3 of a thinly sliced medium red onion or use 2-3 French eschalots.
Udon noodles: Dried, frozen, vacuum sealed shelf-stable packs and fresh udon noodles can be found in Asian supermarkets. You might be able to find them in the noodles or Asian ingredients aisle in supermarkets that are well-stocked with international ingredients. They are also available on several online stores that you can order from such as Amazon.
Strain the broth if desired. I don’t mind have bits of fresh aromatics and the chewy dried shrimp in my spicy udon noodle soup bowl. But if you prefer a cleaner broth, sauté the aromatics and dried shrimp, then add the broth, sauces, and seasonings and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the solids, then add the mushrooms and simmer for 5 more minutes or until tender.
If using dried udon noodles. Use half the amount (7 ounces / 200 grams) and boil according to package instructions. The noodles will be approximately double in weight once cooked.
Storing leftovers: Store the spicy chicken & mushroom soup in an airtight sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat the broth in a pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat until hot throughout. Only assemble the noodle bowls when ready to eat. If the noodles are combined with the soup in advance, they will absorb all the broth over time.
See ‘Variations’ section above if you’d like to customize this noodle soup.