Best Homemade Chicken Soup

Updated on January 16, 2020
lizmalay profile image

Liza is a homemaker. She has an obsession with coffee and loves collecting postcards from friends all over the world.

Warm chicken broth is a perfect comfort food for the winter.
Warm chicken broth is a perfect comfort food for the winter.

A Little History About the Dish and Me

When I was a kid, I never really liked some of the spices that my mother used in her cooking. For example, I hated the taste of ginger and garlic. However, as I got older, I started appreciating these spices as I learned how integral they are to Malay cuisine.

I grew up in a small Malay kampong, or village, in the southern state of Perak. Many of the ingredients and techniques that I use in cooking today were influenced by Malay culture. One of the meals I grew up eating is a chicken soup that is served with steamed white rice. Some of the main ingredients include strongly flavored spices like garlic, ginger, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and many more. Thanks to my mature palate, I now love these spices.

The Perfect Broth to Combat the Cold

Everybody knows that chicken soup is perfect for the winter season. Earlier this week, I began thinking about making this dish. The cold weather makes me want to make comfort food for dinner. In 2016, following my move to the United States with my husband, I have had to adapt to cold weather during the winter. Prior to that, I'd always lived in a tropical climate, so the cold weather here has been a big adjustment. So far, I think I'm doing all right; I've even started to like it.

My Mother's Advice

"Please, do not throw away the bones."

I know some people prefer eating chicken without the bones. Actually, when you make chicken broth, it's best to use the chicken bones, as well, to deepen the flavor. I remember seeing my mother place heavily packed chicken bones in her broth. Delicious! Other than that, you are welcome to use any vegetable you like in the broth, including celery, carrots, potato, fennel, or leeks.

My family loves having this dish with sambal kicap, or spicy sweet soy sauce. The spice from the chilies and the sweet from the soy sauce accompanies this soup perfectly.

I promise that you will love this chicken soup recipe! Let's see the full ingredients.


For making the broth:

  • Chicken, including the bones (a whole chicken, cut as you prefer)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes, and boiled
  • 3–4 carrots, cut into cubes
  • 2 star anises
  • 3–4 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3–4 green cardamom pods, smashed a little to cut them open
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inches ginger, sliced
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 4–5 cups water (add more if you want more broth)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fried shallots for garnish
  • Scallions for garnish, sliced thinly

For making the sambal kicap:

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5–6 Thai bird eye chilies
  • 1/2 cup sweet soy sauce


  1. In a large pan, heat some oil over medium heat.
  2. Throw in the ginger, garlic, shallots, cloves, star anise, cardamom, and cinnamon stick. Saute until it becomes fragrant.
  3. Combine the water slowly into the pan. Add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with a lid and let it simmer over a lower heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Throw in the chicken parts into the pan. Let the chicken cook thoroughly in the broth.
  5. Add the salt and pepper. Don't forget to taste.
  6. Make the sambal kicap: In a blender, combine the garlic, chilies, and sweet soy sauce. Blend until it makes a paste. Set aside.
  7. In a serving bowl, place the steamed white rice in the middle. Pour the chicken soup over the rice.
  8. Garnish with the scallions, fried shallots, and a spoonful of sambal kicap on top.
  9. Enjoy!

© 2018 Liza


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    • lizmalay profile imageAUTHOR


      18 months ago from USA

      I would like to send out your kind and lovely comment to my mother as well. She has taught me so much in the kitchen. I would not be able to share amazing Malay and Asian recipes without the experience of cooking in the kitchen with her. Thanks, Poppy!

    • poppyr profile image


      18 months ago from Enoshima, Japan

      It looks like chicken soup is popular all year round. I love east Asian food and I bet your mother's recipe is scrumptious with all the extra flavors and spices. Thanks for sharing.


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