STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS WITH PICTURES
Soak 1.5 tbsp of dried shrimp and 4 pieces of dried shitake mushrooms 2 hours in advance. Dice the dried shrimp finely and slice the mushroom thinly. Combine the soaking liquid we will reserve it for the chicken soup later.
This is garlic chives. They look like green onion but the leaves are flat and they have a garlicky smell. That is how they got the name. Cut this into 2 inches long pieces. I like to put a handful of bean sprouts in my chicken soup. You don’t need to remove the roots as they are edible.
Besides that, I have here 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 stalk of celery that I diced finely, about 1/3 cup; 5 shallots that I sliced thinly, roughly about 1 cup; and 1 carrot. I peeled it and slice it into thin rounds.
Last, 3 pieces of boneless and skinless chicken thigh, roughly about 1 lb.
Drizzle in some cooking oil into a clay pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Other heavy-duty stock pots will also work well. We will fry the shallots until golden brown. This is a significant ingredient for Taiwanese cuisine. It provides a strong caramel onion fragrance.
In a few minutes, the shallots should be slightly golden on the edge. Add the minced garlic. Garlic burns faster than the shallots that’s why I add it a little bit late. Keep stirring for a few minutes or until the aromatics are completely golden brown.
That looks beautiful. Let’s add the diced celery, dry shrimp, and the shitake mushroom slices. Keep stirring for a few minutes to activate the aroma.
Season it with 1 tsp of salt, 1.5 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp of Taiwanese soy paste. These are the brands that I am using. I will link them in the description. If you don’t have the soy paste, you can use oyster sauce as a replacement. Keep stirring. This is a heavy duty clay pot. It stores lots of heat so when the soy sauce and the soy paste touches the thick wall, you can see that it is sizzling and caramelizing. That will create a complex flavor, which does make a difference to the taste.
Pour in 1 liter of unsalted chicken stock. Don’t forget to add the mushroom and shrimp soaking liquid because it is packed with umami taste. If you are using salted chicken stock, you will have to adjust the saltiness in this recipe.
Put on the lid and bring this to a boil. Add the chicken tight. If you are using bone-in chicken thigh, you can use water instead of chicken stock. If you are not a fan of dark meat, you can use chicken breast but you will have to monitor the heat porperly so you don’t overcook it. Chicken thigh is more forgivable
Turn the heat to low and simmer the chicken thigh for 20 minutes.
During this time, we can talk about the Taiwanese rice noodles, or what we called Mitaimu (米苔目). It is made with rice flour and tapioca flour. It has a special qq texture, kind of like a mixed feeling of bouncy and gelatinous. It is very hard to find these noodles abroad but it is very easy to make at home, you can check this recipe. However, this recipe is not limited by the types of noodles. You can use Japanese Udon noodles, even pasta will work. The cooking time will vary depending on the types of noodles that you are using.
The chicken thigh has been simmering for 20 minutes now. Let’s take them out. Add the carrot slice in because carrots take a bit of time to cook. Follow up with the noodles. Keep the heat at low as you are working on the chicken thigh.
Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-size pieces. This recipe can also be made with other meat, such as seafood, which you just need a couple of minutes of blanching so you don’t over them. You can also braise tough cuts of pork or beef in that flavorful broth. This recipe is super versatile.
Put the chicken back into the clay pot along with the garlic chives, and bean sprouts.
Let it cook for a minute or 2. and we are done. Give it a taste to adjust the flavor if needed. Mine was perfect.
I like to garnish it with some fried shallots and Japanese bonito flakes for some crunch and smoky flavor. Both of them are optional. This noodle soup is still delicious without them.