30 Dec2011

After Christmas, we retired to the beach for a few days to relax and “detox” from all the holiday food. We spent three days in complete relaxation, reading books and catching up with one another. Our menu for the three days was almost exclusively pinoy comfort food favorites, with the exception of a paella (which I consider almost pinoy in our household). On the first evening, in breezy, balmy perfect beach weather, we made a huge pot of chicken sotanghon soup, enough for roughly 20 people — our small immediate family, all the crew and their immediate families. This was served with some asian fried chicken cooked in Zubulard, but I didn’t have much of the latter, I mostly enjoyed the soup.

Before leaving for the beach, we decided this was going to be a really easy, relaxed holiday, with minimal cooking, so we prepared a lot of stuff in advance, spending minimal time at the beach to assemble or finish dishes. The day after Christmas we made some classic chicken stock, lots of chicken and bones and veggies slow-cooked over a low flame for some 4-5 hours. We added a ham bone because we had it, so this was actually a fragrant chicken/ham stock. This flavorful broth is the key to a superb chicken sotanghon soup. I realize there are a thousand and one versions of this simple soup, but follow some of the guidelines outlined in this post (and a more detailed recipe I published before, here) and you are on your way to a new family favorite recipe for sure.

A layer of chicken fat rises to the top of your stock after an overnight rest in the fridge; many would throw this out, but I took half of this and used it to saute the garlic, onions and carrots until sweet. This extra step of sauteing adds flavor to the final soup, rather than just boiling the veggies with the stock. An abundance of carrots made the broth a little more yellow orange than usual.

Add generous amounts of shredded chicken and in this case a salty country ham, then pre-soaked sotanghon noodles (so they don’t completely sop up the broth, making it more of a noodle dish than a soup) and cook until just done. Add vegetables a minute or two before turning off the heat. Season with patis, salt and pepper to taste, but do not overseason. I like to serve this with patis, kalamansi, dayap, soy sauce and pepper so that folks can season it as much or as little as they prefer.

We were at the beach and with limited ingredients, but you could add say chopped green onions, or other herbs to add color and visual interest. Essentially, this is simply comfort in a bowl. I am not sure what chicken soup has as a universal appeal, but all over the world there seems to be a reasonably good proxy for this restorative favorite.

These days, when we return from a long trip abroad and after a day in transit, we arrive home at midnight and no longer look for adobo or bistek tagalog and rice; instead, we seek a version of this heartwarming chicken sotanghon soup as a light meal before settling down to much needed sleep.



  1. bearhug0127 says:

    Definitely on the top of my list of fave soups!

    Dec 30, 2011 | 7:15 pm


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  3. Vicky says:

    Happy New Year MM and Family !!!
    Now you gave me an idea what to cook on these rainy days…..

    Dec 30, 2011 | 7:37 pm

  4. TheProtector96 says:

    Nice shots – foods that are simple and satisfying. Happy new year sir!!!

    Dec 30, 2011 | 7:50 pm

  5. Betchay says:

    Chicken sotanghon soup is my fave too but we add “tengang daga” and lots of toasted garlic/chopped green onions on top.

    Dec 30, 2011 | 8:42 pm

  6. natie says:

    even a simple Ramen pack tastes delicious if made with very good soup stock like this…a quick snack after a long day at work–esp on cold days….very attractive, MM. yes, tengang daga adds that crunch.

    Dec 30, 2011 | 9:31 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    Yes, I have mushrooms in the original recipe, just didn’t have them handy at the beach for this batch… :)

    Dec 30, 2011 | 9:54 pm

  8. Thel from Florida says:

    Right at this moment I have left over Purdue roasted chicken and Cure 81 spiral ham bones happy simmering on my stove, with onion, celery and carrots. After 40 minutes, I will add Farfalle and Penne (Barilla brands) as my kano husband doesn’t eat sotanghon. Super sarap talaga especially now that is raining off and on here the last 3 days. HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!

    Dec 30, 2011 | 10:55 pm

  9. betty q. says:

    Happy New year!

    …this sotanghon topped with slices of hard boiled egg, green onions, fried shallots, and chicharon…ayyyy, masarap!

    Dec 31, 2011 | 1:19 am

  10. marilen says:

    Comfort food at its best, MM!! Feliz ano nuevo!!

    Dec 31, 2011 | 2:55 am

  11. millet says:

    on most christmas eves, this is what we have as light dinner prior to Mass and later, Noche Buena. a healthy and peacefl 2012 to you MM, your family, crew and everyone here! More happy adventures for all of us!

    Dec 31, 2011 | 7:59 am

  12. Carol says:

    Hi MM, thanks for the idea. I will now use my left over ham for sotanghon soup. Have not done it for a while. Happy, happy new year to you and Mrs. MM Nd your daughter!

    Jan 1, 2012 | 7:55 pm

  13. PITS, MANILA says:

    ooooh … so warm and comforting, MM!

    Jan 2, 2012 | 12:51 am

  14. Mari says:

    aaahh… the real comfort food. We had pancit molo for New Year’s eve.

    Jan 2, 2012 | 6:50 am

  15. jack says:

    the first and the last picture made me hungry and long for this dish. i hope to cook this one time.

    Jan 4, 2012 | 10:25 pm

  16. Patricia says:

    This looks delicious! Have been inspired to make this with meat from yesterday’s roast chicken, the carcass used for stock. I’ll probably add quail eggs, as my Lola used to, as well as shitakes. Have never seen the point in tengang daga, and don’t know where to get them in Helsinki!

    Jan 16, 2012 | 6:21 pm


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