Dem Bones- Quick Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

It’s Mojo Mastery time again.  This time I taught broth making which was a first for me.  I love that making chicken broth in my own home is a second nature act.  Bones never get thrown away and I like to roast a whole chicken every couple of weeks or so.  I can’t help it when I look at a whole chicken from the store nestled in it’s plastic with “giblets included” written ostensibly on the outside I can’t help but think “mmmmmmatzo balls”.  (ok I actually think fried chicken, a whole bird quartered with gravy and biscuits, but that’s just me, my stomach to brain neural connections fire at double time and I like to include butchering in my imagination).

I’m a busy lady so cooking for my family it is good to have some good solid building blocks around.  So amazing what one can make when you have the right things just hanging out.  In fact the beef marrow chicken soup that we threw together on Thursday night was one of those great happy accidents…  thanks Bob Ross.  bob_ross_amigurumi-300x300

The group we had gathered greedily drank up the chicken broth that I had preprepared.  I don’t blame them it was dank, slow simmered for more than 36 hours, zero salt added it was seasoned with one of my favorite flavorings…  chicken, chicken, chicken.  But I was going to use it for my chicken noodle soup…  good thing I had also preprepared some beef bone broth. I very rarely make beef bone broth at home, and I think I’ll have to change that trend.  My spine tingled when I drank just the plain broth before we fancied her up, like it was hungry for some of that celular building block goodness.  So anyways here is the recipe for the bone broth     chicken “noodle” soup, the five vegetable blood cleansing mineral broth as well as the recipe for the split pea soup I demoed at Mojo as a easy dinner application once your fridge is “stocked”.


Beef Bone Broth

Stock Bones (split open so the marrow shows)
2 Dates
2 Umeboshi Plums
2 Dried Shitake Mushrooms
Bouquet Garni  (i used fresh rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley) wrapped in cheesecloth

Bake bones at 374 for 45-60 minutes.  You will see the bone marrow start to plump out of the bone showing that it is cooked all the way through.  Pour off the fat (this was a nice treat for the dog) and transfer the bones to your pot or crockpot.  Clean and scrape pan droppings from the bottom of your cooking dish with a little boiling water and throw that in the pot too.  Now top up the pot with water, bring almost to a boil (or all the way if you’re not fussy about cloudy broth)  and turn down to just under a simmer and let it steep that way for at least two hours, or much much longer.  Note: I only added the Bouquet Garni for the last 10-15 minutes, if you put the herbs in for too long your broth will go greenish grey.


Quick Chicken Noodle Soup.

1 Roasted Chicken
Mire Poix Vegetables (1 part Carrot, 1 part Celery, 2 parts Onion)
1 package Kelp Noodles
Bone Broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Notice there are no real measurements here.  Remember in 20 years of cooking my own dinner I’ve only completely failed and had to order out twice…  So use the force and make a great soup!

Cut Meat from the Chicken….  save bones to make soup.  “Sweat” your mire poix veggies for about five minutes, that means gently cook with a little cooking oil (I like to use the chicken fat I saved from roasting the bones) try not to brown them.  Add Broth, Chicken and noodles (these are precooked they only need to be reheated) and voila, you have just made an amazing dinner in under 10 minutes (if you don’t count the three days it took you to make the broth ;))

Ham Bone Pea Soup

1 Ham Bone (you can use Raw or Smoked, either works fine)
4 Cups dried Split Peas
1 Gallon Chicken Stock
2 Cups Mire Poix Veggies
Salt and Pepper to taste

If you are using a smoked ham bone you don’t need to do anything to it.  If you are using a raw one you can either preboil or preroast the bone.  Sweat mire poix veggies in a little oil for about 5 minutes, I sometimes put whole cloves of garlic into this soup at this point. Throw in the ham bone top up with broth.  Sort and rinse your split peas…  like lentils they do not have to be soaked, but pick through and make sure there aren’t any rocks, give em a rinse and toss em in.

Bring the whole shebang to a boil and turn down to simmer.  Cook this dish uncovered nice and slow for at least 2 hours so the meat will be falling off the bone.  Stir occasionally to make sure the peas don’t stick to the bottom, also skim occasionally to get the foam off the top.  When the peas have broken down and thickened the soup and the ham is where you want it, this easy dish is done.  Pull the hambone out and shred the meat and add the meat back to the pot.  Season to taste.  I personally love a little olive oil drizzled on top of this hearty soup.


Five Veggies Mineral Broth for Blood Cleansing

Daikon Radish
Radish Greens (can substitute Kale if the Daikon comes without greens on)
Burdock Root,
(I like to add Kelp too for extra mineral goodness, that’s six ingredients but I won’t tell if you don’t tell)

Wash and rough cut veggies (roll cut is great here for the daikon, carrots and burdock). Top with water.  Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for between 30 minutes and an hour.  You can cook for longer, but if you cook a long time you might want to strain out and not eat the veggies, just drink the broth like a tea or use it in cooking.  Serve hot or cold.


Clarifying Butter

In honor of simplicity I chose to make my own Ghee this week. I’ve often bought ghee from the store before and even though I have a middling tolerance for dairy products I seem to have no problem digesting butter or ghee.  The smell of ghee on the frying pan is simply delightful and I’ve recently enjoyed using rendered fats in my cooking, saving chicken fat from the last roast that we did inspired a round of excellent chopped liver (onions cooking in chicken fat illicit an awe inspiring drool worthy smell), and saving lard from a recent pork roast made some of the most beautifully textured oven roast potatoes.  One of these days I want to do some lard and flour baking.  That is what they would use when I was a kid to make Dan Tarts (chinese style puff pastry with egg custard), the smell of warm lard is a sure fire flashback to my youth, I am quite sure that pork fat is one of the cornerstones of traditional Cantonese cooking. There’s been much written recently on the undue vilification of saturated animal fats. All I can really add to that conversation is that I was extremely relieved to hear that fat free milk is bad for you.  I have always been drawn to fats, seared fish sends happy shivers down my spine, avocados make me smile and along with strawberries they were a very rare childhood treat (berries and avocados were very hard to find in Hong Kong in the eighties). As long as I can remember I had a deep love affair with fat.  I’m the weirdo that will cut a slab of fat off my steak and eat it first before diving into the lean meat and one time age ten when I got in trouble for fighting with my mom I went to the store and I bought her a gorgeous rib eye steak to express my deep remorse and future good will.  As far as minimally processed foods, fats and rendered fats are perfect…  butter is made of the following emulsion:  the two dissimilar substances are butterfat (roughly 80%) and water (roughly 17%) along with about 3% milk solids. The emulsion breaks on being heated and the components separate. Clarified butter is nothing more than pure butterfat. Fats will keep you full for longer, they help to balance moods, provide essential fatty acids for cell development and body processes and we cannot generate these fatty acids ourselves, they must be received from an external source.

So now that I have prayed for a sufficient amount of time at the temple of tummy I’ll post that recipe 🙂 Clarified butter is so simple to make and a superior tool to cook with as it resists high heat sauteeing and has a mellow and comforting flavour.


1lb Unsalted Butter


Melt butter on medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Skim off the first foam that forms on the butter’s surface.  Reduce heat and continue to let butter simmer.  You will see the liquids separate from the butterfat as the butter boils.  Its quite pretty – roiling and rolling globules of golden emulsified liquid. After the butter has bubbled away for about seven to ten minutes a second foam will form.  Take butter off heat and let it cool for fifteen minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth.  Make sure to stop before straining liquids at the bottom of the pan. Note, you will see those three distinct parts in separation: milk solids you skim off the top, butterfat in the middle and water settles to the bottom.

Store in a sealed glass jar.  You can keep it at room temperature for up to a month.





Our recent trip to Honolulu found Desmond, my four and a half month old son ready for food.  He was so absorbed in what everyone else was eating, no wonder, our family reunions are serious food experiences.  My Grandfather’s 95th birthday celebration brought Wong family relations together from all over the globe.  Large round tables of raucous conversation and group cheers for each new course as it was brought to the table, all this focus on community and flavor my baby boy started yelling for attention.  I think once you discover how great eating is it’s hard to just watch from the sidelines.  He would literally holler until someone put something in his mouth.  Little man doesn’t have any teeth yet and most of what the grownups were eating was too rich, greasy and/or chewy for a brand new eater to handle. Good thing almost every Chinese restaurant has some Jook bubbling away somewhere in the house.  Jook is a thin rice porridge that is often served with peanuts and shavings of sweet pork jerky on top. (I would much prefer to have Porkfloss on top of jook than these doughnuts I found on an incredulous expatriate’s indiosyncratic Mainland China blog.)

porkfloss on doughnuts?!

It has long been used as a food for infants and convalescent adults and is pretty much ubiquitous throughout Asia.  Known as congee in India and Cambodia, as Jook in South East Asia and Korea, and Zhou in Putonghua speaking China.  Common ingredients mixed in this simple rice and water porridge include lean pork and preserved duck egg, chicken, squid, kimchi, green onions, ginger and just plain for little ones or for troubled digestion.

I used the opportunity of having so many aunties in one place to ask for tips on how to make the perfect Jook.  My attempts at home seemed to differ quite dramatically from the smooth perfectly seasoned offerings one finds in restaurants.  It takes a little bit of practice and filtering to understand what five sisters have to say across an enormous table speaking in very close and overlapping proximity and cancelling one another out with volume and hand gestures.  It’s always a good time watching my mom and her brothers and sisters in action. I imagine all nine of them as young adults, calling on one another (unabashedly) to pull their own weight and heartily creating fun at every given opportunity. Gravesweeping is a common family gathering.  Food and drink are put out for the hungry ghosts and the general area is cleaned up, weeded and tidied.  Our family doesn’t just light incense, we take our expression to a whole new level – Auntie Lo did an interpretive dance on my Grandmother’s grave (she studies ballroom dance) and Uncle Tony put a lit cigarette in the ground near the headstone. My grandmother was pretty much pregnant between the ages of nineteen and thirty three, you’ve got to figure that she was always alive to the possibility to have a little party whenever she could.

So what I could discern from the kerfuffle that followed my question – great jook can be made following these guidelines.  Mix a little salt and oil with your rice.  Add 12 cups of water per one cup of rice.  Restaurants and Jook Joints use broken rice for a finer texture, one can always duplicate this by running rice through a food processor very quickly before use. Add rice, oil, salt mix to already boiling water.  Cook as slowly as possible.  Use broth for a deeper flavor or when making chicken or turkey jook.

I added some Konbu (kelp) to my version for extra mineral goodness, and a teaspoon of flax seed for some of those good omega fatty acids.  I also used the crock pot to make the whole endeavor easier than pie.

Dessie’s Chow


1 cup Brown Rice; 12 cups Water; piece of konbu rinsed in the sink; 2 tsp Ghee; 1/2 tsp Sea Salt; 1 tsp flax seeds.

Mix all ingredients except water, add water.  Put on High in crockpot til bubbling (1hr) then turn down to low.  Let it go for at least 4 hours.  I let it cook overnight.  Salt to taste.

Some great serving suggestions…  chopped up leftover meats.  Zuké :), furikake (seaweed, salt and sesame seeds), you can even make a sweet cereal by adding dried fruit, cinnamon and maple syrup.

Come Thanksgiving I assure you this is what I’ll be doing with the leftovers, boiling turkey carcass broth then making some slowcooked brown rice goodness.  Sleepytime happy turkey triptomine jook has got my name all over it.