Instant Pot Chinese Chicken Soup & Stock
April 8, 2023  Print
The other day, I was telling my friend how I liked southern-Chinese-style soups. For those of you who are not familiar with this type of soup, southern-Chinese-style soup (煲汤) mostly uses pork bones, beef bones, and/or stewing hen for the base and takes a long time to make (over an hour) from start to finish. My friend grew up in the southern-Chinese province of Fujian. Being a foodie herself, she was no stranger to the various southern-Chinese style soups. She told me that she had been using her Instant Pot, which she finds super convenient, to make these types of soups, .
I guess it just never occurred to me to use an Instant Pot to make southern-Chinese-style soups until she pointed it out to me. I immediately began testing different soup recipes using my Instant Pot. It worked really well for chicken soups. My previous recipe for Stewing Hen Soup uses the traditional method and requires 3 to 4 hours to make. With an Instant Pot, I can get it done to approximate 1 hour.
I talked about how economical stewing hen was in my previous article. With everything costing so much more these days due to inflation, it’s amazing that you can still get a whole stewing hen for under 5 dollars. I think a lot of people just don’t know how to use it. So the demand is low. The chicken (stewing hen) by itself is a bit bland after cooking, but with my dipping sauce (see step 6), it becomes so yummy. My boys will actually fight over who gets more chicken pieces.
You can drink this Chinese Chicken Soup & Stock directly. It’s super delicious by itself. The soup has plenty of that wonderful pure chicken aroma and it’s not greasy or fatty tasting. You can also use the soup as a basic chicken stock (skip the salt) to make stirfry, braised, or stewed dishes.
You can add other ingredients (dried or fresh) at the start or end of the cooking process to turn the soup into other flavorful chicken soups. In fact, I hope to add more Instant Pot chicken soup recipes to show you exactly how to do it.
I probably will still use the traditional way when I make my pork bone soups because I prefer the pork bone soup to be milky opaque and that only happens when the bones have been cooked in water for a long time at a certain temperature to allow the emulsification to happen. An Instant Pot can still make pork bone stock/broth, but the color of the soup will be on the clear side; definitely not milky.
Gluten Free, Low Carb
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 2.5 quart
- 1 stewing hen (about 1.5 to 2.5 lb) 1
- 1 1-inch long piece of ginger
- kosher or table salt
- Wash the stewing hen thoroughly. Use kitchen shears (I use Tojirushi shears, as depicted) or a knife to remove the rear and the two tips of the wings. Put the stewing hen in an Instant Pot. Fill the Instant Pot with water to the 1/2 mark.
- Push the “Sauté” bottom on the Instant Pot and wait for the water to boil (no lid). While waiting, peel and cut the ginger into slices.
- Once water starts boiling in the Instant Pot (~15 minutes), use a skimmer to remove the foam floating on top until the top is mostly clear of foam. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add the ginger slices to the Instant Pot and close the lid. Push the “Soup/Broth” bottom and set the timer to 40 minutes.3 When the Instant Pot is done cooking, it should switch to the “Keep Warm” mode automatically. You can use a utensil to manually switch the valve to the “Venting” position to let out the steam. (WARNING: Never use your hand to turn the valve as the steam will be hot. ALWAYS follow all safety instructions that come with your particular Instant Pot.) If you are not pressed for time, wait until the Instant Pot naturally releases pressure. No matter the method, be sure to wait until the little floater next to the valve drops down, indicating the pressure has been released, before opening the lid.
- Add salt to taste if using it as a soup. Pour the soup into separate bowls and enjoy it right away. If using it as a stock, do not add salt. This stock can be used for any recipe that calls for chicken stock. Store it in a refrigerator and use it within a week or freeze it for later use.
- Dipping for the chicken. Use my All-Purpose Sour and Spicy Salad Dressing as a starting point, but reduce the amount of vinegar to 1 tablespoon (or less if you are not a vinegar person). Add fresh chili for more heat. For a non-spicy version, skip the garlic and chili pepper and reduce the vinegar to 1 tablespoon or less as well. 2
- You can get stewing hen (old chicken) from pretty much any Asian grocery store or online grocery store like Weee! for around 5 dollars. Both fresh and frozen ones work well. Some local butchers sell them as well. Make sure it’s a stewing hen or old chicken (老母鸡) and not a young chicken or meat chicken. If your stewing hen is more than 2.5 lb (or 1.1 kg), chop it into pieces and only use the appropriate amount.
- With this dipping sauce, my boys can easily finish half the chicken (stewing hen) together.
- Because the liquid is already hot from “Sauté,” there is almost no preheating. So the 40 minute timer is quite close to actual 40 minutes.
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