It's been deliciously cool and crisp for almost two weeks now. I couldn't be happier and relish the opportunity to not just eat but cook lots of soup - something that at other times of the year, would heat up the kitchen to sauna levels! Nothing beats a bowl of steaming hot, home-made chicken noodle soup when it's nippy outside. I get bored easily though, and wondered how the taste of jasmine green tea which I can't get enough of, would work in a chicken soup.

The broth is not green as you might expect from the addition of the tea, but a muted amber instead. It does however have a fairly pronounced floral and herbal aroma and slight astringency which I found very pleasant. The flavours here are a delicate blend of both classic Western and Eastern cuisine. The more oriental scallions replace parsley and the quintessentially occidental carrot bows out to the Eastern daikon. All in all, a very happy marriage and one certain to appeal to palates in either hemisphere.  I had only linguine in the cupboard so that's what went into the pot. Use whatever you prefer or usually do.

It hardly needs saying, how beneficial green tea is. But what I really love about it is that unlike many other foods, its beneficial nutrients are not entirely obliterated by heat, though the advice is to consume it quickly as keeping green tea overnight causes oxidation of its beneficial cathechins. Here, you get all the benefits of cancer protection, immunity enhancement, anti-aging, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties plus a very nice metabolism upgrade, (with regular consumption) in a very appealing soup. If you're often the target of sniffle and cold bugs during the colder months of the year, soup up!

liquid gold from a fifteen minute simmer and fresh, beautiful bay leaves from my 'garden'

Now here's something you won't often see in a food blog, but it's necessary viewing as many seem unconvinced about how to keep a soup, clear, bright and beautiful. I remember having my knuckles repeatedly rapped with a cold, hard, steel skimmer by my training chef,  whenever we were making soup or stock, when I was a quaking 20 year old student in culinary school. I was far from the only one either. "Skim the scum! Skim the scum! Skim the bloody SCUM!!!", still rings in my ears. Of course, once I had graduated to apprentice cook in a commercial kitchen, I was told to stop wasting time fooling around with the skimmer and to pour the (rivers of) stock through a giant coffee filter. Wouldn't you know it! But, I doubt you'd have a giant coffee filter at home, so............... skim the scum. Skim the BLOODY SCUM!!!!

i can't stop skimming. thank you (i think) Mr Tang

It's definitely not pretty, so you do need to continually scoop up all that crud as it rises to the top because let me tell you, it will not magically dissolve or vapourise, it will break down and settle at the bottom of the pot eventually, but not without first tainting your soup and turning it murky as swamp water. Sorry for that bit of ugly reality. Apart from my few deviations, this is a fairly simple and traditional recipe, which really hits that cold and hungry spot. There isn't much left to say, except I have something up my sleeve for next week, so stay tuned and watch this space. In the meantime, slurp and enjoy!

15 mins     Cook 60  mins     Serves 4 - 5


6 plain or jasmine green tea bags
4 thick, large slices fresh, peeled ginger
2.5  L (12 cups) water
2 large onions, peel and chop
3 sticks celery, slice thinly
1 medium sized daikon radish, peel and cut into dice
4 fresh bay leaves
1 whole chicken, remove skin and cut into 6 or so pieces (or use 4 large, skinned whole legs)
2 chicken carcasses (available at most supermarkets) clean, skin and chop each into 4
200 g (7ozs) linguine, broken into short lengths
4 level tsp sea salt (or to taste)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Ground white pepper to taste
Thinly sliced spring onions (scallions) to garnish


Combine the tea bags, ginger and water in a stock pot and bring to the boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. While tea simmers, heat about 4 tablespoons light vegetable oil in a separate deep pot and when moderately hot, cook the onions, celery and daikon until limp. Cover pot and allow vegetables to sweat in their own juices over gentle heat for about 5 minutes.

Add the bay leaves, chicken legs and chopped up carcasses and brown on high heat until crusty. Discard teabags and ginger and pour tea infusion into pot with browning chicken. Bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer very gently for about 45 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink at the bone. As soup simmers, scoop off the scum a it rises, until the soup is clear. Remove chicken pieces and set aside to cool. Discard carcasses.

Add the broken up linguine to the pot followed by the the salt and sugar. Bring back to the boil and cook until pasta is as tender as you like. While waiting, tear chicken off the bones and cut the meat into cubes. Discard bones. If linguine is done to your liking, return chicken meat to the pot and simmer only long enough to reheat the meat. Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency of soup, if necessary.

Ladle out and garnish with pepper and spring onions. Serve immediately.