Easy Chicken and Ginger Soup With Rice Cakes, Chives, and Quick-Pickled Garlic Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Note: Follow this video for instructions on how to break down a chicken. You'll need to break it down into the following pieces: 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 4 breast pieces, 2 wings, and a back, roughly chopped into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Follow this video for instructions on how to julienne ginger. I prefer using a mix of various types of chives for this recipe (yellow chives, Chinese chives, and regular chives). Yellow chives and Chinese chives can be found at Asian grocers.

Recipe Facts



Active: 30 mins
Total: 0 mins
Serves: 4 to 6 servings

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  • 1 whole (4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces, back and neck reserved (see note)
  • 1 (3-inch) knob ginger, roughly sliced, plus 1/2 cup finely julienned young ginger (see note)
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 scallions, pale greens and whites finely sliced, dark greens kept whole
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups roughly chopped napa cabbage
  • 1 cup Korean rice cakes (dduk)
  • 1/2 cup yellow, Chines, or regular chives, cut into 2-inch pieces (see note)
  • 1/4 cup picked fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems
  • 1 recipe Quick-Pickled Chilies and Garlic


  1. Place chicken, roughly sliced ginger, garlic, onion, and scallion greens in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 2-inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook, skimming scum and fat from surface regularly, until chicken breast pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer breast pieces to a small bowl, cover, and set aside. Continue cooking broth until leg pieces are fall-apart tender, about 1 hour longer. Remove leg pieces and add to bowl with breasts. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer, discard solids, and return broth to a large pot (you should have about 2 quarts of broth)

  2. Season broth to taste with salt. When chicken is cool enough to handle, roughly shred meat with fingers, discard bones, and return meat to pot. Add cabbage and rice cakes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice cakes are cooked through, about 8 minutes. Stir in julienned ginger, sliced scallion whites, chives, and cilantro. Ladle into warmed serving bowl and serve immediately, passing pickled garlic and chilies at the table.

Special equipment

Dutch oven or large saucepan, fine mesh strainer

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