Zha Choy Alphabet Soup

Rainy cool monsoon season has settled in and it’s getting pretty nice and chilly in the evenings these days. I still live in Malaysia, in case you’re wondering. Heavy thunderstorms have been a near daily affair every evening and I keep wanting soup soup soup. In with the scarves & soups!

I figured since I am making soup, I may as well turn it into a meal. Cool weather kinda makes me want to hibernate and do as little as possible. One pot meals are perfect for this . 😛 I’d throw in some cubed pumpkin if I had some (obligatory mention of pumpkin being pumpkin season now). Jayne’s version of the more traditional Chicken Noodle Soup.

In my mish-mash sorta Asian soup, I used Chicken Broth, Chicken Thighs, Preserved Mustard (Zha Choy), Garlic, Mushroom, Water Spinach (Kangkung), Baby Carrots  & Alphabet Pasta! Yeah, I forgot to include the veggies in the pic. Noodles work too but I had some alphabet pasta lying in the cabinet so let’s make some cute soup.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 1

After washing off the preserved mustard, it looks like this! Like a brain-like thing. Love the salty spicy crunch.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 2

Cut into strips & soak in water for 10 minutes to rid it off excess salt.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 3

I threw a lot of things in a pot. Including still frozen broth.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 4

Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 5

When the chicken is cooked through & tender, the soup is about done.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 6

Fresh ingredients go in at the very end. I don’t wanna boil my veggies to death. 
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 7

A heap of alphabet pasta is thrown into the broth. 
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 8

And there we have the laziest soup meal ever made!
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 9

This pot holds the key to warmth & comfort on chilly nights.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 10

It fed us super well for 2-3 meals.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 11

Swap out with whatever meat, veggie, mushroom or noodles you have on hand and you’ll still get the same cozy deliciousness in a bowl.
Zha Choy Alphabet Soup 12

 Hibernation powers, ACTIVATE!!


“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” {Colossians 3:15}

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Zha Choy Alphabet Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 5-6
  • 2 Chicken Thighs, chopped to bite size pieces
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Preserved Mustard (Zha Choy), washed, cut into strips & soaked in water for 10-15 minutes
  • 1 6 oz pack Mushrooms (I used long Shimeji), roots trimmed
  • 6 oz (170 gm) Water Spinach (Kangkung), washed & cut into 4 inch stalks
  • ½ cup Baby Carrots
  • 6 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • ½ cup Alphabet Pasta
  • Pepper
  1. Place drained zha choy, chicken pieces, water, broth & garlic into pot. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Cook until chicken is done & tender.
  2. Toss in mushrooms. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes until mushrooms are cooked through.
  3. Add water spinach, baby carrots & pasta. If you're using slightly larger pasta shapes like macaroni, pasta first and boil till al dente (more water if needed), before adding veggies.
  4. Once pasta is cooked through, season with some pepper.
  5. Serve immediately!
Substitution options:
Broth: Vegetable, Chicken, Beef
Mushrooms: Any variety; thinner ones like enoki should be added with veggies as they take less time to cook
Vegetables: Any variety that's not too strong in flavour to prevent overpowering soup; adjust cooking time accordingly
Pasta: Small shapes; may need to add 1 cup water if shapes are larger & take longer to cook. Can swap out with noodles, potato or pumpkin.


  1. What a nice and hearty soup! I’ve never seen alphabet pasta before! My kids will definitely enjoy eating these pasta for sure. 😀 Or they may take a long time finishing food as they will have too much fun. 😀 We’ve been enjoying soups these days, and yesterday was oxtail soup. This sounds like a very nice soup for our family to enjoy!

    • I thought alphabet pasta was so cute I had to get some. What I didn’t anticipate was using them in a Chinese-style soup. Haha.. Your kids are going to love them. 🙂 But you’re right, they might have a little TOO much fun. I played with my food too. 😛 Oxtail sounds incredible! I hope to make that one day. Thanks for dropping by, Nami!

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