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Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemongrass

Pernille Pedersen

Servings: 4

In this cross between Vietnamese pho and Japanese udon noodle soup, fresh udon noodles are the star. Fat and bouncy in texture, they cook faster and tend to be more delicate than dried udon.


  • 2-1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/4 lb.), butterflied (cut horizontally almost all the way through and then opened like a book)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium shallots (about 4 oz.), peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed, outer layers discarded, halved lengthwise, and smashed with the side of a chef’s knife
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 5-1/2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 3-1/2 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (1-1/2 cups)
  • 9 oz. fresh udon noodles
  • 1 Thai bird chile (or 1 small serrano pepper), sliced into thin rings
  • 8 large fresh torn basil leaves; plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 medium lime, half juiced and half cut into wedges
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce; more to taste
  • 2 medium scallions, trimmed and sliced, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks, for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 500
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 130
  • Fat (g): 15
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 930
  • Carbohydrates (g): 59
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Protein (g): 35


  • Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook without disturbing until it’s browned and releases easily from the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until the second side is browned and almost firm to the touch (just short of cooked through), 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool.Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and the shallots to the pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the shallots start soften, about 2 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, and brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the ginger and lemongrass sizzle and become fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and raise the heat to medium high. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

    Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the noodles, stirring, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a colander and run under cold water to cool slightly. Drain well.

    Use your fingers or the tines of a fork to shred the chicken. Add the chicken and noodles to the broth and cook until the noodles are completely tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Discard the lemongrass. Stir in the chiles, torn basil, lime juice, and soy sauce; season with more soy to taste. Divide the noodles among 4 large, deep bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles, and garnish with the basil sprigs and scallions, carrot, and cilantro, if using. Serve with the lime wedges for squeezing.

Make tonight’s dinner a soup and salad combo: Serve a green salad dressed with Homemade Asian Vinaigrette.


This soup is also a great destination for shredded, leftover roast chicken in place of the chicken breast. Just add it to the soup along with the chiles, basil, lime juice, and soy sauce.


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Reviews (22 reviews)

  • mollydkim | 03/20/2016

    This soup is very flavorful. I didn't have fresh udon noodles so used dry soba noodles and it was delicious.

  • bluntes | 05/19/2015

    We made it with crab

  • grkmama | 01/26/2015

    What a delicious soup! This is a keeper! I love making soups to come home to during our cold northeastern winters. This chicken soup is just bursting with flavors. It was easy to make too. I don't have access to an Asian market so I used the dry udon noodles. I almost doubled the recipe to have leftovers and the 1 package of noodles was plenty, so I would probably use half for the regular recipe. My husband just raved over it! I have never tried any fine cooking recipes before, and this was an easy and delicious surprise!

  • In_a_Pinch | 10/31/2014

    I hold a soup party every New Year's day and make 5 different soups - guests vote on their favorite and it is the only one I repeat the following year. This soup was the winner this year - super easy to make. My tip for lemongrass is to root whole lemongrass from the store in a glass of water and plant in a pot. Now, I have lemongrass whenever I need it and it is a great looking plant.

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