Chicken Soup With Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms

A simple, light, richly flavored Chinese chicken soup with chicken thighs, shiitake mushrooms, and ginger that comes together in 45 minutes.

Chicken Soup Ginger Shiitake
Elise Bauer

Chicken soup doesn't need to take hours to make.

This is a simple, light chicken soup that is richly flavored with shiitake mushrooms, and brightened with fresh ginger and soy sauce.

The stock is very light and comes just from the cooking of the ingredients for less than half an hour. The combination of the ginger, chicken, mushrooms, soy sauce, and a touch of salt and sugar is just lovely, and I highly recommend trying this soup.

Chicken Soup Ginger Shiitake
Elise Bauer

A Simple Soup With a Complex History

The recipe is an adaptation of one I discovered in a most curious cookbook, The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman.

One doesn't usually think of this rather painful period of Chinese history, when millions of Chinese urban youth, children of "intellectuals," were forced into the countryside to work as farmers, for its culinary legacy. But during this period, people learned to make do, and to create nourishing, satisfying food from simple, local ingredients.

The original recipe, upon which this one is based, is for "Steamed Ginger and Mushroom Chicken". The recipe required a bamboo steamer and wok, neither of which we had, so we decided to make our own version. Same ingredients, somewhat different method.

After the heaviness of holiday food, this one is especially refreshing. Enjoy!

chicken soup with ginger and shiitake mushrooms
Elise Bauer

Cooking With Dried Shiitake Mushrooms

When dried, shiitake mushrooms have concentrated flavors and aromas, making them ideal for adding rich flavor to dishes. Do not use fresh shiitake mushrooms in this recipe since the flavor won't be as strong.

Find dried shiitakes in Asian markets in the produce (often near the fresh mushrooms) in the International cuisine section of your grocery store, or online.

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From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Chicken Soup With Ginger and Shiitake Mushrooms

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings

Typically for this recipe one would use bone-in chicken thighs hacked into big pieces with a cleaver, or with poultry shears. The bones help create flavor and richness for the stock. You can use boneless chicken thighs if you prefer. Or use bone-in, and then remove the bones after the chicken has cooked, before serving.

Adapted from "Steamed Ginger and Mushroom Chicken" in The Cultural Revolution Cookbook by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman.


  • 1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (dried is much preferable to fresh in this recipe)

  • 3 cups boiling water

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, cut into chunks

  • 1 (1-inch piece) fresh ginger, peeled and sliced very thin

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  1. Soak the dried mushrooms:

    Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water for 20 minutes. Use a bowl or a smaller pot to keep the mushrooms submerged in the water.

  2. Marinate the chicken:

    While the mushrooms are soaking, mix the soy, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Make sure there are no cornstarch lumps. Add the chicken and ginger to the bowl, toss to coat with the marinade, and set aside.

  3. Slice the mushrooms and add to the chicken:

    When the mushrooms have softened, remove from the water (saving the soaking liquid) and slice thinly. Add the mushrooms into the bowl with the chicken. If the soaking water has grit in it, pour the soaking water through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a paper towel into another bowl.

  4. Simmer:

    Put the chicken-mushroom mixture and the mushroom soaking liquid into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, cover the pot, and cook gently for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
401 Calories
24g Fat
9g Carbs
41g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 401
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 30%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 218mg 73%
Sodium 777mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 41g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 28mg 2%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 584mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.