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Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chicken Soup with Shiitake}

A traditional Chinese Chicken Soup

by Shirley
Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤} Chicken Soup with Shiitake

Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤}, or Chicken Soup with dried shiitake mushroom is a traditional home cooking food in China. Especially popular in the Yangtze River Delta area, home to the naturally delicious Huai Yang Cuisine. This chicken soup features fresh cage-free chicken and rehydrated dried shiitake mushroom in a super satisfyingly yummy soup.

Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤} Chicken Soup with Shiitake
Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤} Chicken Soup with Shiitake

Fresh cage-free chicken is the key to Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chinese Chicken Soup with Dried Shiitake}

Fresh cage-free chicken is a must-have ingredient for this soup. They are leaner and have much more tender and delicious meat. The iconic golden hue of the soup is also thanks to the fresh cage-free chicken.

Ingredients for Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chicken Soup with Shiitake}

Shiitake mushroom fun facts

Dubbed as “Xiang Gu” {香菇} in Chinese, which literally translates into “delicious mushroom” or “scented mushroom”, shiitake is an ancient and popular mushroom in Chica. Dried shiitake is more common, as it is easier for storage.

Shiitake has a powerful and unique aroma, even so for the dried ones. For this soup, use the dried shiitake if possible since they are more flavorful. Nevertheless, dried shiitake are usually extremely dry. Soak them in plenty of water at least 6 hours ahead of cooking so that they can get fully re-hydrated and become softened.

re-hydrated dried shiitake vs. dried shiitake

Not only shiitake mushroom is tasty, it also boasts impressive health benefits. They are low in calories, and high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Shiitake also contains immune-boosting and cholesterol-lowering substances.

In addition, research shows that shiitake carries many of the same amino acids as meat. No wonder Chinese buddha’s vegetarian cuisine often uses shiitake as an essential ingredient.

rehydrated shiitake vs. dried shiitake mushroom

How to make a tasty Traditional Chinese Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chicken Soup with Shiitake}?

The first thing first is to prepare ingredients properly

Try to get fresh cage-free chicken. That mandates the yumminess of the soup. Also, get the quality dried shiitake mushroom and soak in plenty of water 6 hours ahead of cooking.

Tip No.2 is to save the dried shiitake soaking water

Save the water used to soak dried shiitake mushrooms and add to the stockpot to prepare the broth base.

Stockpot filled with water and dried shiitake soaking water for cooking chicken soup

Tip No.3 is to simmer the chicken broth properly, the key to tasty Xiang Gu Ji Tang

For a fresh cage-free chicken that weighs between 3-4 lb, which is typical, an 8-Quart stockpot works well for cooking the chicken soup.

Regarding the stockpot itself, a clay pot, cast-iron pot, or quality stainless steel stockpot are among the best pots to simmer chicken broth. These stockpots can retain the heat well, thus cooking the broth wonderfully.

Fill an 8-Quart stockpot with about 70% of water, along with the water used for soaking dried shiitake. Add 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine and ginger slices, bring it to a boil, and then carefully add the whole chicken. Turn the heat to simmer and slow cook for 1.5 hours.

Shaoxing wine and ginger really help bring out all the inherent yumminess of the fresh cage-free chicken.

Cooking Chicken Soup with Shiitake in the Stockpot

Tip No.4 is to add re-hydrated shiitake later

After you have simmered the chicken broth for 1.5 hours, add the re-hydrated shiitake mushrooms into the pot, along with a splash of light soy sauce and salt. Turn the heat to medium-high, bring it to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.

Last but not least is to add blanched baby bok choy to the soup bowl

It is optional, but I always like to add some blanched baby bok choy to the chicken soup bowl. It adds color and texture contrast, and additional nutrition. It also helps further cut down the grease level of the soup. Don’t get me wrong, the cage-free chicken soup is not fatty at all, but still, the leafy vegetable helps further refresh the soup.

Blanch the baby bok choy separately and then add to the serving bowl directly. Do not add the bok choy to the chicken soup itself.

Xiang Gu Ji Tang 香菇鸡汤 {Chicken Soup with Dried Shiitake Mushroom}
Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤} Chicken Soup with Shiitake

Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chinese Chicken Soup with Shiitake} Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤}, or Chicken Soup with dried shiitake mushroom is a traditional home cooking food in China, featuring fresh cage-free chicken and rehydrated dried shiitake mushroom in a super satisfyingly yummy soup.

Ingredients

  • one fresh cage-free chicken, 3-4 lb
  • 2 cups of dried shiitake
  • 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine,
  • 1 small piece of ginger, organic preferred, about 15 g, thin sliced
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp salt, Himalayan pink salt, or sea salt

optional add-on:

  • 1 lb baby bok choy
  • 1/8 tsp salt, Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

Instructions

Prep Work:

  • Soak dried shiitake in plenty of water 6 hours ahead of cooking. Save the water from the soaking for cooking the soup later. Rinse cage-free chicken well, trim any undesired parts, and set aside.
    Ingredients for Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chicken Soup with Shiitake}
  • Wash and rinse baby bok choy well, trim the bottom and cut vertically in half.
    baby bok choy claened and split in half vertically on a plate

Make the Chicken Broth:

  • Fill an 8-Quart stockpot with about 70% water, along with the water used to soak the dried shiitake. Add 1/2 cup Shaoxing wine and the ginger slices, close the lid, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a boil, about 20 minutes.
    Stockpot filled with water and dried shiitake soaking water for cooking chicken soup
  • Carefully add the cage-free chicken into the stockpot, turn the heat to simmer, and slow cook for 1.5 hours.

Prepare Baby Bok Choy - optional

While waiting, blanch the baby bok choy.

Fill another saucepan or stockpot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the prepared baby bok choy and wait for it to reach a boil again.
Blanch baby bok choy in the stockpot

  • Add the re-hydrated shiitake mushrooms to the stockpot, along with 1 tbsp light soy sauce and 2 tsp salt. Use the bamboo spatula to stir and mix well.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil again. After that, turn the heat to simmer again and cook for additional 15 minutes.
    Cooking Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chinese Chicken Soup with Shiitake}
  • As soon as it reaches a boil, turn off the heat, use a stainless steel skimmer to fetch and remove the baby bok choy from the pot, and place it on a plate. Sprinkle the bok choy with 1/4 tsp salt, mix well and set it aside.

Cook the Chicken Soup with Shiitake:

Once the chicken broth has simmered for 1.5 hours, add the re-hydrated shiitake to the stockpot, along with 1 tbsp light soy sauce and 2 tsp salt. Fold into the broth using a ladle.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring it to a boil again. Then turn the heat back to simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
Cooking Xiang Gu Ji Tang {Chinese Chicken Soup with Shiitake}

All done! Turn off the heat.

Serve Chinese Chicken Soup with Shiitake:

Carefully remove the chicken from the soup and place it onto a plate. Be careful, the soup is super hot and the chicken meat becomes so tender that it may fall off from the bone into the soup, which is fine. We mainly just want to remove chicken bones and skins from the soup before serving.

Place 2-3 baby bok choy into each serving bowl, some chicken meat from the plate, and add chicken soup with shiitake from the stockpot. Enjoy an extremely satisfyingly yummy Chicken Soup with Shiitake.
Xiang Gu Ji Tang {香菇鸡汤} Chicken Soup with Shiitake

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 51Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 1023mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 4g

Nutrition calculation is provided by Nutritionix to the best knowledge per ingredients description and isn't always accurate.

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