It’s probably some sort of blasphemous act to write about a PF Chang’s dish during the same week as Chinese Lunar New Year, but I but I swear I’ve got my reasons.
The main reason is their Chicken Noodle Soup. The udon-like rice noodles, the cherry tomatoes, the shiitake mushrooms – it all combines to be this umami rich deliciousness that might not be authentic, but with flavors that do a body good.
Growing up, my chicken soups were more rice, aromatics and herb-heavy, accented with chilis and bits of cartilage in the broth. Whenever my sister or I get sick, this chicken porridge is the go-to dish you’ll find bubbling on our stove. In my mom’s version of the soup, the rice takes the place of standard noodles, and the ginger, garlic and herbs work overtime to supply your fever-ridden bod with vitamins and anti-viral properties. This copycat version of PF Chang’s chicken noodle soup is sort of a more meaty flavor-based iteration of my mom’s own chicken porridge, with the addition of dumplings and some new vegetables.
This soup works well for freezing cold polar vortex nights, when someone is feeling crappy because of that flu/cold/mono hybrid you probably caught on the 2/3 train or just nights when you have only ten free minutes to throw something in a pot and call it a dinner.
Copycat PF Chang’s Chicken Noodle Soup
6 cups of chicken broth, homemade is best if you have it
1/4 cup light soy
1/4 cup regular soy
1 tablespoon of brown or palm sugar
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 inch of ginger, peeled and julienned
2 pieces of garlic, peel and chopped
1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes
2 baby bok choy bunches, washed and chopped roughly
1 cup of cleaned and sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 small bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped roughly
2 stalks of scallions, dark green tips removed and chopped
2 packs of par-cooked udon noodles
12 chicken dumplings
- Over medium high heat, simmer together the chicken stock, soy sauces, sugar, chili garlic sauce, lime juice, ginger and garlic for at least 5 minutes.
- Lower heat to a simmer and add in tomatoes, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and chicken dumplings. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and put in udon noodles. Stir to break up the noodles and let them warm through.
- Dish into soup bowls and top with cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately.
All ingredients listed here will most likely be the least expensive at your local Asian grocery store. If you only have access to regular soy sauce, no worries – you can double the amount used here and omit the light soy. If you've stocked your pantry with Asian condiments and sauces, you shouldn’t have much to purchase for this recipe. The most expensive purchase was the chicken dumplings, which arguably you could make at home for much cheaper and freeze for future use. All in all, my total for this dinner came to $22.00. Divided by the four (at least!) servings, that comes to about $5.00 a person, but doesn't take into account that you’ll have leftover ingredients – dumplings, mushrooms, herbs and tomatoes – for future meals during the week.