Thukpa recipe for chicken noodle soup with intense flavor from Tibet


active time:30 minutes

total time:45 minutes

stakes:6 to 8 (makes 12 cups of soup)

active time:30 minutes

total time:45 minutes

stakes:6 to 8 (makes 12 cups of soup)

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“I didn’t know I’d need a Himalayan thukpa chicken noodle soup in my life until I arrived at Guwahati Junction Railway Station, India’s first train station to be powered entirely by solar electricity, in the remote northeastern state of Assam,” Nashville Chef Manit wrote. Resident Chauhan in the wonderful cookbook “Chat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets, and Railways of India”.

Exhausted after traveling by rail for thousands of miles, through the snowy mountains of Tibet and Bhutan, Zhouhan recalls how a steaming bowl of Thukpa—”Tibetan chicken noodle soup”—warmed her frozen fingers and revived her soul.

Assam is famous for its tea trade, but its food is an interesting mix, thanks to its unique geography and long history. Located below Bhutan and above Bangladesh, Assam has welcomed pilgrims seeking refuge in its ancient Hindu temples for centuries. Located on the Brahmaputra River, Guwahati is its largest and oldest city in northeastern India, having survived 17 invasions by the Mughals over many centuries. Today, Assam food is heavily influenced by Nepalese, Bhutanese, Burmese and Tibetan culinary traditions.

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Thukpa, originally from eastern Tibet, was adopted into northeastern Indian cuisine after the Chinese occupation of Tibet in the 1950s. Thousands of Tibetan refugees settled in Assam and began to adapt their cuisine to local tastes and customs. Weary travelers like Chauhan often discover this soup at railway stations, where it is boiled in large pots and served in metal bowls.

In restaurants in Guwahati, it is often served with a fork for pulling out the noodles and vegetables and a large soup spoon for sipping the broth.

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“In this single bowl of soup, I found all the reassurance I needed that the long journey was worth it,” Chauhan writes. “When I lived in New York City, where winters can be harsh, there was nothing my husband and I, Vivek, loved more than eating a plate of Guwahati comfort food.”

Besides chicken and rice noodles, thukpa is fragrant with garlic, ginger, green pepper, and cumin seeds. Carrots, sweet peppers, green beans, and cabbage strengthen it and give it lots of color. It can look as bright as a rainbow in a bowl. Keep that in mind this winter, or whenever you need a bowl of something warm and cozy.

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  • To make this soup vegan >> use vegetable broth and omit the chicken or replace it with tofu cubes.
  • If you don’t like the heat >> Sow hot peppers, use fewer or discard them completely.
  • Rice noodles mean this soup is gluten-free >> although you can make it with any long pasta.

Go Ahead: Tomato, ginger, and chili base can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The pasta will absorb a lot of the broth after a few days. Soup without noodles can be frozen for two months.

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  • 2 medium tomatoes (10 ounces total), roughly chopped
  • 1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 to 3 serrano peppers, sourced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 liters of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large carrot (6 ounces), washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) coarsely chopped green beans
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) shredded green cabbage
  • 6 ounces thin rice noodles or spaghetti
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons)
  • salt
  • Sliced ​​green onions and fresh coriander sprigs, for garnish

In a food processor, combine tomatoes, ginger, garlic, serranos, oil, and cumin seeds and blend until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell peppers, carrots, beans, and cabbage. Cover the saucepan halfway and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the noodles and lemon juice and simmer until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Taste the broth and season with salt. Using a spoon or two forks, chop the chicken into smaller pieces, if desired.

Pour the thukpa into bowls, garnish with green onions and coriander and serve very hot.

Per serving (2 cups), based on 8

Calories: 220 Total Fat: 6g; saturated fat: 1 g; cholesterol: 47 mg; Sodium: 262 mg; carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary fiber: 3 g; sugars: 4 g; Protein: 14 grams.

This analysis is an estimate based on the ingredients available and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or dietician.

Adapted from Chaat: Recipes from the Kitchens, Markets and Railways of India. Written by Manit Chauhan and Jodi Eddy (Clarkson Potter, 2020).

Tested by c. Daniela Gallarza and Jim Webster; Email questions to [email protected].

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