For 4 portions you need

1 chicken carcass (raw or cooked)

1 white onion or 6 spring onions, chopped

1 clove garlic roughly chopped

2 star anise

1 stick lemon grass or zest of ½ lemon

4-5 slices of root ginger

30ml good quality powdered chicken stock

1 litre water

A well flavoured broth is important

To prepare

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring the boil.

Allow to simmer for an hour with the lid on.

Pour the mixture through a course strainer or colander reserving the liquid.

Pick out the star anise and chicken bones and return the remaining ingredients to the pan or a blender jug, Add the strained stock and either blend or use a stick blender in the pot, blend to break up the remaining solids.

Now you are ready to add more interesting ingredients to your broth to make a delicious soup.

Nests of rice noodles cook within 4 minutes

Add any of the following:

  • A nest of dry rice noodles
  • 2-3 chopped spring onions
  • 1-2 red or green chillies or a combination of these
  • 125-200 ml frozen, fresh or tinned sweetcorn kernels or julienne carrot
  • Approximately 20ml chopped coriander or fresh parsley
  • 1-2 thinly sliced raw chicken breasts or 200ml cooked ham, cut into pieces
  • sliced mushrooms; if you have dried shitake mushrooms they add wonderful flavour, just pre-soak them and add the soaking water for extra flavour

This is a soup with no rules, experiment! 

Bring the mixture to the boil and stir with a fork to separate the noodles.

If raw chicken was added, simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasoning with soy or fish sauce if necessary.

Garnish with a few fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.