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Another Chicken Noodle Soup: Chicken Mami

January 20, 2011

I know, I know.  You probably don’t need yet another version of chicken noodle soup.  We all already have our favorites, don’t we?  I have actually posted one of my go-to versions here, but I was feeling nostalgic for a soup I remembered eating as a child.  This version is not something my mother prepared regularly at home (if at all) since it was very common merienda fare (midday meal) in restaurants.

This soup is widely known as chicken mami (mah-mee).  Unofficial historical accounts claim that this soup was introduced to the Philippine palate by an enterprising Chinese immigrant who hawked his bowls of noodles as a way to make a living in his new home.  And potentially supporting any truth to this rumor, my mother informed me this morning that the most popular accompaniment of the soup is another Chinese favorite, siopao, aka steamed bun.

When I had a craving for this soup last week, what I longed to taste most was the flavorful, peppery broth. It was peppery because I remembered sprinkling lots of ground white pepper and what missed the bowl would tickle my nose.  I would mash up the yolk of the hard-boiled egg, which for me, would change the quality of the broth to one that I preferred.  It’s how I remembered eating it as a child and it’s what I wanted to relive at home.  Besides the egg, the other components are simple, chicken broth, fresh egg noodles, sliced chicken pieces, napa cabbage, sliced green onions and fried garlic.

This was also a clean-out-the-fridge meal so I added sliced carrots, celery and some snap peas to replace the absent green onions.  The soup, like all chicken soups, was comforting, filling and best of all, brought back some long-forgotten memories.  Though the feeling lasted only until the I slurped the last noodle from the bowl, it felt good to be a kid again.

Chicken Mami

  • Chicken broth (preferably homemade but store-bought chicken stock would work, too)
  • Fresh egg noodles (or noodles of your choice)
  • Cooked chicken pieces
  • Sliced napa cabbage
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped fried garlic (you can make this at home but it’s also available in Asian stores)
  • Not typical but I added celery and carrots as I simmered my stock and topped with snap peas that I blanched in the broth.

This soup is meant to be easy and quick to prepare.  If you have all the ingredients, heat up the broth, cook the noodles briefly (in the broth is the easiest), arrange the noodles in bowls, add the broth and top with the remaining ingredients.  Garnish with lots of ground white pepper and lemon slices.

46 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 12:13 AM

    Looks great.

    Thanks for sharing.

    BTW- I love the chop sticks:)


  2. January 20, 2011 12:36 AM

    I don’t think anyone can have too many versions of chicken noodle soup. It’s pure goodness comfort food. The proof is in this delicious and healthy bowl of chicken noodle soup you’re sharing here. Everything in it is good…what a meal. Luv the lemon slices on the side. I could pull up a chair and just dig in! =)

  3. January 20, 2011 5:29 AM

    the chicken mami looks delicious 🙂 The picture is making me hungry hehe

  4. January 20, 2011 8:19 AM

    I love how you used ‘clean out the fridge’ ingredients in your comfort soup. My mother-in-law just gave me a few packs of egg noodles and I just made a stir-fry noodle dish, and she suggested a simple soup style noodle but I think I will dress it up with fried garlic. 🙂

    • January 21, 2011 1:24 PM

      Hi Judy! I’m trying not to be so wasteful. Sometimes veggies get thrown out because I don’t think to use them. Had to make them work even though the carrots and celery are not traditional additions to this version of chicken soup.

      I could always go for a noodle stir-fry. Fried garlic is yummy! Have a great weekend!

  5. January 20, 2011 8:53 AM

    This looks so delish. I am going out for lunch but wish I had this before i head out!! Very enticing!! That egg just pushes the dish over the edge in a spectacular way!!

    • January 21, 2011 1:26 PM

      Thanks, Shulie! The egg is an absolute MUST for this chicken soup. I think it’s my favorite part! 🙂

  6. January 20, 2011 8:57 AM

    Did you grow up back in Manila, Jean? I can’t remember. My favorite Mami House is Jonas growing up. Their chicken mami was just sooooo good. And of course my mom’s version, too! She always tells me not to forget the hardboiled eggs! Your bowl looks so festive with all the colors! Thanks for sharing!

    • January 21, 2011 1:29 PM

      Hi Jun! I was born there and grew up here but I have strong recollections of the food. Not surprising, right? 🙂 I remember eating mami only in noodles houses, too. So fun! It’s not mami w/out hard-boiled eggs! Have a great weekend!

  7. January 20, 2011 9:57 AM

    Oh that bowl looks gorgeous! And your soup is amazing, delicious!

  8. January 20, 2011 10:29 AM

    This soup is a noutritious meal. Thank you for sharing.

  9. January 20, 2011 10:35 AM

    Beautiful, what a lovely bowl…thanks for the post:)

  10. January 20, 2011 11:18 AM

    One of my favourite chicken noodle soups, preferably with siopao. Brings back a lot of memories of my favourite Philippine restaurants. Yours looks so good. The egg just has to be there, doesn’t it?

    • January 21, 2011 1:30 PM

      I didn’t realize that siopao was mami’s partner until my mom told me. 🙂 Yes, the egg is a must. 🙂

  11. January 20, 2011 12:25 PM

    It should be “Another AWESOME Chicken Soup”! This one sounds great, I actually think I have all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge…which is highly unusual…great job!

  12. January 20, 2011 12:57 PM

    What a beautiful bowl of soup….who could resist?

  13. January 20, 2011 1:10 PM

    This soup looks great! I think the carrots and celery would make a great, flavorful broth for the chicken and garlic.

  14. January 20, 2011 1:17 PM

    Oh I love it. Love noodles. Love noodle soups. Love fried garlic. Love eggs. Love this.

  15. January 20, 2011 1:37 PM

    My mom barely cooked also, but we got to enjoy mami from outside sources :-). Can’t enjoy it without hardboiled eggs! Your mami looks so inviting, Jean!

    Thanks for sharing! Next up, SIOPAO!

    • January 21, 2011 1:32 PM

      Annapet, I so want to learn how to make siopao and char siu! Will have to put them on the to-do list next to the macarons! 🙂

  16. January 20, 2011 5:55 PM

    I have been loving soups this winter since it’s been so cold here! And really, I can’t turn down a soup with noodles given my horrible love affair with packaged ramen. This looks so much better than any soup from a package! 🙂

    • January 21, 2011 1:33 PM

      Oops, I forgot to mention that we always had packaged ramen in the house! My sisters and I were latch-key kids so we sometimes had ramen after school. 🙂

  17. January 20, 2011 7:11 PM

    Of course, we can always use another version of chicken noodle soup, especially when the soup looks this good.

  18. January 20, 2011 7:55 PM

    i could eat a bowl of mami right now (great for a rainy day)!

  19. January 20, 2011 8:36 PM

    Hello Jean – you can never have too many chicken soup recipes. It is such a wonderful comfort food and makes you happy. This looks delicious and I am a big time pepper lover. The photos came out fantastic. I bet this soup went fast between you and your hubby! 🙂

  20. January 21, 2011 11:13 AM

    I love the name of this soup, the variety of ingredients, the colorful mix of toppings…and the wonderful story behind it!

  21. January 21, 2011 11:59 AM

    Childhood favorites never get old. This looks like a lovely and nourishing soup. Lovely post!

  22. Apicio permalink
    January 21, 2011 12:49 PM

    Merienda, whether for morning or afternoon, is actually a between meal treat. You eat them between breakfast and lunch or between lunch and supper. A mid-day meal, lunch in other words, is pananghalian in Filipino.

    • January 23, 2011 2:41 PM

      Thanks, Apicio, I did specify that this is a midday meal but I didn’t make it as clear as you have done here. Thanks for the clarification. 🙂

  23. January 21, 2011 1:11 PM

    It’s always interesting to see the different variations each culture has for their “chicken noodle soup.” I’m Peruvian and Chinese, and my dad always loves to make his Chinese version of the soup, which includes a TON of ginger. “It’s good for you, honey. It’s good for you,” he always chides. :-p

    I really love the addition of eggs to your soup, as I simply adore them in everything!!

    • January 23, 2011 2:42 PM

      That’s funny, Stephanie. Your cultural mix certainly has provided a wonderful combination of cuisines. I bet your meals growing up were delicious! Yes, eggs are great, aren’t they? 🙂

  24. January 21, 2011 6:55 PM

    I don’t think I will ever have too many versions of chicken soup because, well, i did not grow up on chicken soups! I started eating them when I started living abroad so I’m glad I now have a family tested (ehm..your family tasted) recipe.
    ps: I love love love the color combination of the dish and the props in the pictures!

    • January 23, 2011 2:44 PM

      Thanks, Sara. I’ve been working on a new setup for my indoor evening pictures. I’m trying to get more use out of my props, too (as in the place mat). 🙂

  25. January 21, 2011 8:30 PM

    That looks fantabulous. I love your egg trick. I used to take hard boiled egg, mash it with soy sauce, to add it to broth or congee when I was little. Looks terrific.

    • January 23, 2011 2:44 PM

      Ooh, I like that idea! I’ll have to try your trick the next time I make arroz caldo, our version of congee. Thanks! 🙂

  26. January 21, 2011 8:59 PM

    Just this year I’m growing into more of a soup fan. Chicken noodle has always been one of my favorites, but I don’t make it very often. I haven’t really tried any other versions, but this one looks so tempting! You can never post too many, I’m loving them!

  27. January 21, 2011 10:36 PM

    Bring on more chicken noodle soup! I love simple recipes like this…especially recipes that I grew up with as a child. I love how this recipe incorporates eggs and napa cabbage. I adore cabbage! Thank you for sharing yet another delicious recipe. I hope you have a wonderful weekend…enjoy yourself and eat well!

  28. January 22, 2011 6:39 AM

    I welcome all variations of chicken noodle soup especially mouth watering looking one like yours.

  29. January 22, 2011 4:31 PM

    what a great new take on chicken noodle soup! I love this version with the egg! It looks like the perfect meal to fill your stomach and lighten your heart!

  30. January 22, 2011 7:33 PM

    Always enjoy learning about the cultural foods fondly remembered from one’s childhood. I like the addition of more vegetables and the way mahmi is served is similar to ramen, sort of a deconstructed chicken soup 🙂 It’s all good!

  31. January 23, 2011 11:40 AM

    Very well executed….in all senses!! You can be proud!!

  32. January 23, 2011 11:00 PM

    Mhm, this looks delicious! I love chicken soup and I love noodle soups, too. Funny, because my childhood memories are of Chinese chicken jook with “pork floss”. That was the go-to comfort meal of our family. It’s great to see how cultures differ!

    Jax x

  33. Scrambled Megs permalink
    July 15, 2011 6:47 AM

    This looks AMAZING. Great idea popping the egg there as well.

  34. October 6, 2011 2:37 PM

    Looks great. Thanks for the history. Been having this soup most of my life so it’s nice to know how it originated.

  35. October 6, 2011 9:37 PM

    Love Mami so much! Your post is a great pairing with my Beef Mami from last week’s post, which was inspired by Liren/ Kitchen Confidante’s Beef Nilaga ! Nothing like a great soupy all in one meal to make the world seem right ! Thanks for sharing!

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