It’s that time of autumn when the days feel as chilly as winter, so I cooked a potful of Sabaw ng Sotanghon – Sotanghon Chicken Noodle Soup. The simplicity and ease of making sotanghon soup (sabaw) is the reason why it is a classic Filipino favorite starter to meals.
It is the kind of hearty soup that looks light at first glance, but actually brings the unexpected warmth and comfort to one’s soul.
I started by flavoring the stockpot with a good sauté of garlic, onions, celery and scallions. Then, I braised a few chicken pieces till they were slightly brown. That’s when I knew it was time to pour the patis (fish sauce), the achuete (annatto) liquid, and the soup stock. You can use water instead if you’re out of stock. I let the broth and the chicken simmer for more than an hour, to let the flavors blend, and till the garlicky, savory aromas filled the kitchen with the warmth we needed.
Separately, I soaked the dried sotanghon noodles in water for 20 minutes to get it pliant and easy to handle. Sotanghon noodles are clear-white in its dried form. After a good pre-soak in water, it becomes almost translucent. And when cooked, it turns transparent and feels silky. These noodles are a staple in most Asian cooking. They are made from mung bean starch.
When the chicken cuts were cooked, I shredded them and returned the slim slices back into the stockpot, swirling with the julienned carrots and cabbage. With the achuete, the clear noodles turned to a blazing orange hue, and had that slightly nutty flavor. All these blended well into a soothing, calming soup meal
Sabaw ng Sotanghon - Sotanghon Chicken Noodle Soup
- Large Stockpot
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- 1 large stalk celery, chopped
- 2 stalks scallion whites, chopped
- 1 whole medium-sized carrot, julienned
- 250 grams chicken cuts, bone-in; around 2 pieces; breast or thighs
- 2 Tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon achuete (annatto) powder
- ¼ cup warm water, to dilute achuete
- 8 to 10 cups soup stock or water
- 24 oz. dried sotanghon noodles
- 2 to 3 cups shredded cabbage
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 stalks scallion greens, chopped, for garnish
To prepare the sotanghon noodles:
- In a medium-sized bowl filled with water, soak the sotanghon noodles for 20 minutes. Do not soak longer than this time or the noodles get mushy.Drain and discard the liquid. Set noodles aside in a colander.
To cook the Sotanghon Chicken Noodle Soup:
- In a large stockpot, over medium-high heat, pour the oil.When oil is hot enough in about 2 minutes, saute the garlic, onions, celery, scallion whites and carrots.Add the chicken and braise for about 5 minutes till the skin is slightly brown.
- Separately, in a small bowl, combine the achuete (annatto) powder with warm water. Blend till liquid is smooth and there are no lumps. In the stockpot, pour the patis, achuete liquid, and soup stock. Blend well.Adjust the heat to a medium and let the broth simmer for 1 hour, till the chicken is cooked and tender.When the chicken is cooked, take out from the stockpot, and slice into shreds on a chopping board.Return the shredded chicken to the simmering stockpot. Discard the bones.
- Add the shredded cabbage. Season the soup with salt and pepper.Stir and continue simmering for 8 to 10 minutes more till cabbage is soft.Garnish with scallion greens. Serve the soup piping-hot in individual bowls.
- Sotanghon noodles are dried, transparent noodles and can be purchased at Asian supermarkets or online sources. Substitution: I have also used leftover rotisserie chicken, sliced in shreds, for this recipe and it is just as delicious. Cooking time is less because the chicken is already cooked.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
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