I know, I know. You probably don’t need yet another version of chicken noodle soup. We all already have our favorites, don’t we? I have actually posted one of my go-to versions here, but I was feeling nostalgic for a soup I remembered eating as a child. This version is not something my mother prepared regularly at home (if at all) since it was very common merienda fare (midday meal) in restaurants.
This soup is widely known as chicken mami (mah-mee). Unofficial historical accounts claim that this soup was introduced to the Philippine palate by an enterprising Chinese immigrant who hawked his bowls of noodles as a way to make a living in his new home. And potentially supporting any truth to this rumor, my mother informed me this morning that the most popular accompaniment of the soup is another Chinese favorite, siopao, aka steamed bun.
When I had a craving for this soup last week, what I longed to taste most was the flavorful, peppery broth. It was peppery because I remembered sprinkling lots of ground white pepper and what missed the bowl would tickle my nose. I would mash up the yolk of the hard-boiled egg, which for me, would change the quality of the broth to one that I preferred. It’s how I remembered eating it as a child and it’s what I wanted to relive at home. Besides the egg, the other components are simple, chicken broth, fresh egg noodles, sliced chicken pieces, napa cabbage, sliced green onions and fried garlic.
This was also a clean-out-the-fridge meal so I added sliced carrots, celery and some snap peas to replace the absent green onions. The soup, like all chicken soups, was comforting, filling and best of all, brought back some long-forgotten memories. Though the feeling lasted only until the I slurped the last noodle from the bowl, it felt good to be a kid again.
- Chicken broth (preferably homemade but store-bought chicken stock would work, too)
- Fresh egg noodles (or noodles of your choice)
- Cooked chicken pieces
- Sliced napa cabbage
- Hard boiled egg
- Sliced green onions
- Chopped fried garlic (you can make this at home but it’s also available in Asian stores)
- Not typical but I added celery and carrots as I simmered my stock and topped with snap peas that I blanched in the broth.
This soup is meant to be easy and quick to prepare. If you have all the ingredients, heat up the broth, cook the noodles briefly (in the broth is the easiest), arrange the noodles in bowls, add the broth and top with the remaining ingredients. Garnish with lots of ground white pepper and lemon slices.