Chicken challenge Day 1 – Asian inspired noodle soup

Meals for one are always a challenge.  The amount of time and effort you put into it, is no different than that for a family of four.

So, this week I am challenging myself to the chicken-challenge, to see how many meals I can squeeze out of one whole chicken.  First up is a real winter winner!  A healthy and flavoursome broth for an Asian inspired bowl of goodness.  This is not a ramen bowl, any good ramen broth takes hours to make.  This is a quick midweek bowl to warm the soul and get some food in our tummies without spending hours in the kitchen.

I say that this recipe is enough for 1 person in the write-up but honestly, you can easily squeeze 2 portions out of this and the broth is sufficient for 4 people.  I like to freeze any leftovers for a rainy day when I want to make a quick meal.

You’ll need

  • • For the broth
  • 1 x 1,5kg whole chicken sliced in half if you are only cooking for 1 or 2 persons. (Preferably organic or free-range)
  • 1lt x Chicken stock (use a good quality chicken stock)
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • 2 x small whole red chillies
  • 2 tsp x coriander seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp x cumin seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp x black peppercorns
  • 4 x shallots chopped roughly
  • 4 x slices fresh ginger, about 3cm in total
  • 2 x lemongrass stalks (white parts only and bruised with the flat part of your knife to release their flavour)
  • Fish sauce and lime juice for seasoning
  • • To serve
  • 100g udon noodles per person
  • 1 x soft boiled egg (See note)
  • Beetroot juice (Optional and see notes)
  • A selection of any of the following : spring onion, fresh coriander, jullienne carrots, bok choy, corn, thinly sliced red chillies, snow peas
  • Soy sauce for flavouring


  1. • For the stock
  2. Start by dry-roasting your spices over a medium-high heat until fragrant. (star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin and blackpepper corns)
  3. In a large saucepan add the stock, lemongrass, ginger, red chillies and chopped shallots. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a light simmer.
  4. Add your whole chicken, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes or until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer.
  5. Remove chicken from the stock and when cool enough to handle, discard the skin and tear meat into bite size portions. Set aside.
  6. Strain the stock. You want a clean stock with no bits in it.
  7. Return to the saucepan on a very low simmer to keep it warm. Season to taste with fresh lime and fish sauce.
  8. • To serve
  9. Prepare your noodles as per packet instructions. Usually you place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and to cover it with boiling water for about 4 minutes and then drain.
  10. Place the prepared noodles in your bowl and top with the chopped up chicken.
  11. Pour over the broth and season with soy sauce if necessary.
  12. Now you can start adding your vegetables and garnishes. I have used boiled egg, julienne carrots, corn, spring onions, chillies, fresh coriander and crispy garlic.


• To make a very quick beetroot pickled egg you first have to boil the eggs. (You might as well do extra and keep the rest for a sandwich or something)

• I realise most of you know how to boil and egg but this is my method. Place eggs into a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover. Cook for exactly 9 minutes. Immediately place in ice cold water to stop the boiling process.

• I don't throw my beetroot juice away when the jar is empty, instead I keep it in the fridge and use opportunities like this to pickle any boiled eggs. I like to do this when the eggs are still light warm. Simply remove the shell from the eggs and dunk it into the beetroot pickle juice. Close the lid and let it stand for about 15 minutes or longer if you can. This is a one-time use of the juice, pour it down the drain when done.

• I have used crispy deep-fried garlic and shallots. Although easy to make, I chose the shortcut route by using the store-bought kind. Both can be found in Asian stores.

• You will have some of the broth leftover. Place in a sealable container in the fridge if you know you will be using it within 3 days, if not place it in the freezer. The same with the leftover chicken pieces.

• As this is a challenge to see how many meals I can get out of one whole chicken, I have placed the other half in a sealable bag in my fridge. I will be using it within the next 2 days, any longer and there could be a risk of contamination.

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