Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sesame-Ginger Chicken Soup with Somen Noodles (Ma You Ji / Mwa Yiu Ge)

This traditional Taiwanese dish is da bomb, especially on a cold winter day, which have been few and far between this year in SoCal. But I had a craving, so I made it anyway - a pox on our ridiculously warm February weather! The ingredients are few - just black sesame oil (darker than regular toasted sesame oil and with a stronger flavor), Chinese rice wine (Michiu), ginger root, scallions, and water - but the results will warm the cockles of your heart. Sesame chicken soup is also traditionally part of the postpartum diet for Asian (especially Taiwanese) moms after giving birth, providing them with warmth and nutrition. Over the years, my mom has drilled into my head to nevah evah use salt in this recipe, and she's totally right about that - if you do, you'll regret it, because it'll just take away from the pure flavors of the sesame oil and rice wine. Somen noodles are optional, but I strongly recommend adding them for that "chicken noodle soup" vibe. Goji berries are also optional, but they add a nice touch of sweetness to this dish.

  
Ingredients:
4 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
10 slices ginger
3 scallions, cut into 1" sections
6 tbsp. black sesame oil
4 cups rice wine (Michiu)
4 cups water (or enough to cover)

2 tbsp. dried Goji berries (optional)
Somen noodles (optional)

Sliced scallions for garnish

1. Heat sesame oil in a hot pan; add the ginger and scallions sections and saute for 10-15 seconds. Add chicken and saute until lightly browned.

2. Add rice wine and water (enough to cover the chicken), goji berries (if using) and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 30-45 minutes.


DO NOT ADD SALT TO THIS DISH.


4. Bring a medium pot of water with a pinch of salt to a boil. Add the somen noodles and cook for 2 minutes. 


5. Drain the noodles and portion out into individual serving bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, top with some of the chicken, and garnish with sliced scallions


Jidori chicken from 99 Ranch Market. I used this whole chicken the first time 
I made this dish, but some of the white meat came out kinda tough, 
so I now opt to use only chicken thighs or drumsticks. 

 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.


Black sesame oil, rice wine (Michiu), sliced scallions and ginger root. 


Heat the sesame oil in a heavy pan (I'm using an enameled cast iron pot here). 


Saute the sliced ginger and scallions until fragrant. 

Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned.

Add the rice wine and enough water to cover the chicken, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.


Somen is really super thin wheat noodles, available in the Asian section of  
most supermarkets.


Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the somen noodles and cook for 2 minutes.  


Drain the noodles and portion out into individual serving bowls.  


Ladle the soup over the noodles in each bowl, top with some of the chicken, and garnish 
with sliced scallions. 





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