Chicken Soup with Angled Gourd
Chicken Soup is heartwarming, comforting, and very soothing. There are many types of Chicken Soup (especially for the Soul), however, this recipe takes the cake for my family. It’s clear and light, but stingy on the flavour. The chicken meatballs themselves are homemade from minced chicken.
The soup’s character comes from the naturally-occurring sweetness of Angled Gourd. Also known as Luffa Gourd or Ridge Gourd, it is one of my favourite vegetables to add to soups. I like mine to have a slight crunch, however, for a softer, melt-in-the-mouth texture, add 2 minutes to the boiling time.
Chicken Soup with Angled Gourd
The main ingredients for this Chicken Soup are minced chicken and angled gourd. The minced chicken made from the breast with a little skin boosts its flavour; complimenting the Thai-marinade seasonings.
The seasonings for the minced chicken are salt, peppercorn, cilantro roots and garlic. As for the soup, I used water to boil the homemade meatballs, oyster sauce, salt, and sesame oil. Egg and spring onions are the additional ingredients for that lovely colour, taste and garnishings.
Making Minced Chicken Meatballs
Firstly, gently ground the peppercorns in a clean mortar with a pestle until fine. Powdered pepper can be used to skip this step if preferred as well. Once turned into a fine powder, add in the garlic and cilantro roots. Continue to pound until they resemble a mixed paste. It may take up to 2 minutes. This is the core seasoning for any Thai-style meatballs.
Add ½ teaspoon of salt and all the pounded seasonings into the minced chicken. Mix until it is well-combined. Although the chicken meatballs may resemble the commercial type, it is very soft and tender, not bouncy or chewy.
Let’s cook them!
Cooking Chicken Soup
Add 150ml of water in a stockpot or a deep pan over medium heat. Add in the seasonings: the balance of the salt, pepper, oyster sauce and sesame oil for fragrance. Instead of water, pre-made chicken broth or stock works very well too. In that case, adjust the seasonings to taste.
Cover the pan and bring it to a rolling boil. This should take around 3 minutes over medium heat.
After 3 minutes, the water has come to a rolling boil. When it has reached this stage, we can add in our seasoned minced chicken. This is important as the boiling water rapidly cooks the outer surface of the minced chicken, strengthening its shape so that it does not break easily.
I used a spoon to scoop bite-sized amounts and gently flick them into the soup, careful not to splash the boiling water. This makes the chicken meatballs’ shape inconsistent, giving them the homemade-esque look. Alternatively, they can be rolled into the desired sizes and dropped into the boiling soup as well.
Cover the pan and let it simmer to cook the meatballs. By the end of 2 minutes, the chicken should be well-cooked and the soup is starting to be flavourful.
Add in all the angled gourd and the white part of the spring onions. Stir to evenly distribute them in the pan. It may look like there are too many angled gourd pieces and not enough gravy, but not to worry. Angled gourds hold a lot of water in them, and as they cook, they tend to release a lot of the liquid and their essence. This is what makes the soup very, very sweet.
Cover the pan and let all the ingredients come to a boil, or after 4 minutes.
When the soup comes to a boil, the angled gourd is just cooked, but still has that firm crunch. This is the texture that my family and I enjoy. If a more tender texture is preferred, let it continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
Give it a taste, and adjust as preferred. The soup should be sweet, yet savoury from the chicken meatballs, and a depth of umami-ness from the oyster sauce. It has a muted peppery aftertaste as well.
Next, crack the egg and beat it lightly, or until it is just mixed. Pour a thin layer of egg around the soup. Switch off the heat as the egg cooks really fast. It will be fully cooked from the residual heat of the soup by the time it is served.
Garnish with spring onions. Optionally, some crispy garlic or fried shallots make excellent toppings too. Dish it out and serve immediately with some fluffy white rice.
This soup is so heartwarming and light. It’s perfect on a cold day, a meal with the family, or even as comfort food. The meatballs are so tender and soft, flavourful from the Thai-style seasonings while the angled gourd has a satisfying crunch. So good and delicious. Enjoy!
Chicken Soup with Angled Gourd Recipe
- Stockpot/ Deep Pan
- Pestle & Mortar
- Soup Ladle
- 750 g angled gourd, luffa/ ridge gourd, washed and cut
- 200 g minced chicken, minced chicken breast meat
- 1 egg
- 500 ml water
- 2 stalks spring onions, cut with the white stems and leaves separated
- 2 cilantro roots, washed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and washed
- ½ tsp peppercorn, washed
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
Prepare the Chicken Meatballs
- Grind peppercorn in the mortar until very fine.
- Pound cilantro roots and garlic together until fine.
- Mix 1/2 tsp of salt and the pounded mixture with minced chicken until well combined. Set aside.
Cooking the Chicken Soup
- Add water, salt, sesame oil and oyster sauce to the pan on medium heat.
- Cover the pan and bring to a boil.
- After 3 minutes, the soup is boiling. Drop balls of minced chicken into the soup with a teaspoon.
- Cover the pan and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add in the white parts of spring onions and angled gourds.
- Stir until well distributed.
- Cover the pan and simmer for 4 minutes.
- Stir to evenly distribute the flavours.
- Taste the soup. Adjust as preferred.
- Beat the egg until lightly mixed in a separate bowl.
- Pour egg into the soup and give a short, quick stir.
- Switch off the heat.
- Garnish with spring onions, and serve.
- Best consumed immediately while hot.
- Can be kept until the next day, after completely cooled and refridgerated
Chicken Meatball Storage Instructions
- After mixing, it can be kept until the next day in a clean, air-tight container in the fridge.