Asian Chicken and Rice Soup with Napa Cabbage

It’s 2019 and I’m back to healthy eating with this chicken and rice soup. After all the rich food and treats over the holidays, I can’t wait to eat clean. And if it’s 39ºF degrees outside, I’m making soup!

chicken and rice soup

Inspired by my Asian roots, it’s also similar to “congee” which is a rice soup with chicken, or pork and vegetables. Spiked with ginger and lime, it’s a comforting soup on a cold day like today. I chose to add napa cabbage because it’s rich in vitamin C, calcium and fiber.  Of course, you can substitute spinach if napa cabbage is not available.

This is definitely one of the easiest soups I like to make.  All it takes is sautéing the aromatics for a few minutes to build the flavor.  Next, the chicken and rice is added and slowly cooked in the flavorful broth.  Then, when you add the cabbage you just want to slightly cook it. At the end, a garnish of fried garlic and green onions or chives is the perfect topping. Serve it with more slices of lime and fish sauce on the side.

Chicken and Rice Soup with Napa Cabbage

Servings 6
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 3 boneless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced divided
  • 3 chopped green onions or 4 chives chopped
  • 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 cups napa cabbage chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup jasmine rice washed and drained
  • 6 cups water


  • Heat oil in a large sauce pot or skillet on medium/high heat. When the oil is hot, lower heat to medium and add minced garlic. Saute garlic for 9 seconds until fragrant. Take out 1/2 of the garlic and set aside for garnish later.
  • Quickly add the ginger and onions into the pot. Let it cook for 4 minutes, stirring once. Raise the heat to medium/high and add the chicken. Let it cook for 2 minutes. Then add fish sauce, rice and 6 cups of water. Cover and let it come to a boil. When it starts to boil, lower heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the napa cabbage and let cook covered on medium heat for 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over the soup and mix it in. Turn off heat.
  • Take out chicken and use 2 forks to shred in smaller bite-size pieces. Add pieces of chicken back into the pot. Serve soup with a few fried garlic and green onions (or chives) on top, with lime slices and fish sauce on the side.
Author: Elizabeth Segal
Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Soup
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