Ginger Chicken Soup with Yuzu Kosho

published Apr 9, 2023
Ginger Chicken Soup with Yuzu Kosho Recipe

Classic chicken soup gets more zing thanks to ginger, lemon, and one more special ingredient that brings extra brightness and heat: yuzu kosho.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 2 quarts

Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook1 hour

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Chicken soup with yuzu kosho in a bowl with wooden spoon on the side.
Credit: James Park

One of my favorite things to watch on YouTube is “What I Eat in a Day” content. Seeing the delicious food that other people make and eat inspires my creativity in the kitchen. After watching people’s eating vlogs, I jot down ideas in a notebook, so I can look back whenever I need inspiration. 

I can’t exactly remember which video made me write this down, but I had written: yuzu kosho and chicken soup. Next to it, I wrote dak gomtang, which translates to Korean chicken soup. In Korean cuisine, gomtang — known for its flavorful, milky broth — is a soup made by simmering bones and meat for several hours. The most popular protein choices for gomtang are pork or beef, which take a long time to cook. Chicken, on the other hand, makes for an equally nourishing broth that takes less time. Traditionally, a whole chicken is used to make dak gomtang, but it’s a bit of a hassle to separate the meat from the bones, especially when the chicken is piping hot. 

Inspired by dak gomtang, I use chicken thighs in this soup, instead of a whole bird, to make the job slightly easier. Plus, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs have the perfect bone-to-meat ratio for soup, which results in a nourishing broth that’s simply seasoned with salt, pepper, and plenty of fresh scallions. To add my own flair to this comforting soup, I toss in lemon and extra ginger for zing, along with a special ingredient that brings the perfect amount of brightness with a little bit of heat: yuzu kosho. 

It’s the type of chicken soup that tastes familiar, yet new. I love serving up a bowl with rice submerged in the broth, but it also makes a delicious base for a noodle soup. 

What Is Yuzu Kosho?

Yuzu kosho is a beloved Japanese condiment with two main flavoring ingredients: spicy fresh chiles, typically green, and yuzu, a sweet-tart citrus fruit. Those two ingredients get fermented with salt, creating a pleasantly spicy, zesty, and umami-rich flavor that adds a special kick to many dishes. 

It has a paste-like consistency and comes in a squeezable bottle or a small glass jar. Depending on the color of the chiles used to make the paste, the color is either green or red.

Credit: James Park

What Does Yuzu Kosho Taste Like?

Combining the two main ingredients — yuzu and chiles — results in a citrusy, punchy condiment that’s both balanced and layered in flavor. It’s not so spicy that it overwhelms everything, so it’s often used as a flavor enhancement to ramen broth or marinade.

How to Use Yuzu Kosho

Yuzu kosho is a versatile condiment that has no limits. You can mix it into mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie, for a zesty, spicy dipping sauce. Or, you can add a thin smear of it to your avocado toast. But that’s not all: Add a dollop to your instant ramen broth, or make a punchy salad dressing with it. A little bit goes a long way, so I encourage you to have fun experimenting with incorporating its unique flavor.

In this recipe, its addition turns this humbling Korean soup into the ultimate cozy soup. Here, I used green yuzu kosho, but you can also use red yuzu kosho, which will turn the broth a beautifully subtle orange color. Even though the yuzu kosho is only mixed with the shredded chicken meat, the seasoned meat gets added back in and seasons the soup with its delightful flavor. 

Ginger Chicken Soup with Yuzu Kosho Recipe

Classic chicken soup gets more zing thanks to ginger, lemon, and one more special ingredient that brings extra brightness and heat: yuzu kosho.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Makes about 2 quarts

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1

    medium yellow onion

  • 5

    medium scallions, divided

  • 1 (2-inch) piece

    ginger

  • 2

    medium lemons, divided

  • 1 tablespoon

    neutral oil, such as canola

  • 1 teaspoon

    toasted sesame oil

  • 7 cups

    water

  • 3 pounds

    bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (7 to 8)

  • 1

    medium jalapeño, for garnish (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground ginger

  • 3 tablespoons

    yuzu kosho

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    chicken bouillon powder, such as Lee Kum Kee

  • Cooked rice or somen or rice noodles, for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel and quarter 1 medium yellow onion. Cut 3 of the medium scallions crosswise into thirds. Peel and slice 1 (2-inch) piece ginger into thin rounds (about 1/4 cup). Quarter 1 of the medium lemons.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the ginger and cut scallions, spread into an even layer, and cook undisturbed until the scallions are starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, pat 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs dry with paper towels.

  3. Add the chicken, onion, lemon, 7 cups water, and 2 teaspoons ground ginger to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the meat is tender, about 35 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining 2 medium scallions and thinly slice 1 medium jalapeños for garnish if desired.

  4. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a medium bowl or clean cutting board. Use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-size pieces. You can either discard the chicken skin, or chop it up and add to the meat. Return the bones to the pot and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes more.

  5. Meanwhile, season the chicken meat with 3 tablespoons yuzu kosho, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Finely grate the zest of the remaining 1 medium lemon and 2 garlic cloves directly into the bowl. Juice the lemon into the bowl (about 3 tablespoons). Using tongs, toss everything to combine.

  6. Fit a colander or fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour the broth through the strainer. Discard the contents of the strainer, then pour the broth back into the pot. Add 1 tablespoon fish sauce and 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder and stir until the powder is dissolved. Add the chicken meat and stir to combine. Serve garnished with the scallions and jalapeño, with cooked rice or noodles if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.