ABC Soup is often cooked with either pork ribs or chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes celery. It is a nourishing soup that many Chinese children have grown up with and is one of my family’s favourite soup.
You may wonder why this soup is called ABC Soup. ABC soup sounds like it contains alphabets inside the soup right? But no, you won’t find any letters in the soup.
There are many reasons as to how this soup got its name but my guess is it’s simply because it’s as easy to make as A-B-C! Apparently, it is called ABC soup due to the vitamins from the vegetables in this soup; vitamin A (carrots), vitamin B (potatoes) and vitamin C (tomatoes). This is easily one of the soup that I cook most often at home as the ingredients are almost always available in my kitchen.
The essential ingredients for this soup are carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and some meat. Choose meat-on-the-bone if possible. It makes the soup richer and more flavorful. Other vegetables that are sometimes used for this soup include celery and sweet corn. Throw in some smashed peppercorns if you want to add some heat to the soup.
Which Potato To Use?
Both starchy and waxy potatoes may be used. So which spud is better? It all depends on the texture that you like. Russet potatoes have a soft, fluffy and powdery texture when cooked. Waxy potatoes are harder and retain its shape better after long hours of boiling. I personally prefer russet potatoes for this soup.
ABC soup is suitable for both adults and children. Most kids will like this soup. Whenever I make this soup, my Piggy and Rooster will know as the wonderful aroma will permeate the kitchen and sometimes the living room.
Sometimes they help with the chopping and peeling of the vegetables for this soup. Another recipe that my kids love to help with is this Pork Tomato Stew.
Clean Eating Chicken Soup
For those who are going on a diet and like clean eating, this soup is a good choice. No oil or cream is used and it is low in fat. And best of all, you get all the wonderful nutrients in this soup – vitamin A, B and C!
Best Soup Pots
I like to use either my Happycall Alumite Ceramic Pot or thermal cooker to cook many of my soups and this soup is one of them. Check out my Happycall review for my personal experience with this range of cookware. Or, you could read about choosing the best soup pots here.
Do not be deterred by the seemingly long cooking time in the recipe. The actual cooking time on a stove with a thermal cooker is about 45 minutes. Or 30 minutes if you’re in a hurry. Then place the inner pot into the outer chamber for 2 – 4 hours to continue cooking. A thermal cooker cooks without using any gas or electricity. It relies on trapped heat inside the cooker to cook.
This unfussy, comforting soup is a family favourite and it is super easy to cook. No fancy schmancy ingredients or long hours of cooking in the kitchen. Just use basic ingredients that you chop, boil and eat.
Having said that, I firmly believe that any food tastes better when it is cooked with love. Whenever I’m not in the mood to cook, it reflects in the dishes that I cooked. So, even for simple recipes, cook with love and taste the difference.
This soup is great on its own or with some rice and vegetable dish. Or even with boiled macaroni. Questions or comments? I would love to hear from you!
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- 400g fresh chicken-on-the-bone (skin removed)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 tomatoes, quartered
- 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 - 2 celery sticks - cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
- 1 large onion, roughly cut or quartered
- 20g ikan bilis (dried anchovies) - rinsed
- 8 cups water or just enough to submerge all the ingredients by about an inch
- Salt to taste
- Blanch the chicken parts in a pot of boiling water to get rid of excess scum and oil. After about 5 minutes, remove from the pot. Rinse and drain. Set aside.
- Place the parboiled chicken and the rest of the ingredients into a thermal cooker. Bring to a vigorous boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes. Turn off the fire and cover with lid.
- Transfer the inner pot into the outer pot of the thermal cooker and leave it inside for 2 hours.
- Season with salt and serve.
2. If you are using a regular stovetop pot, after step 1, bring the soup to a boil then simmer for around 1.5 hours or until the chicken is tender.
I’m going to try this this week for dinner! Can I check if I’m using a regular stovetop pot, should I cover the soup while simmering or should I leave the pot open? Thanks in advance!
You have to cover the pot while simmering the soup. 🙂
Love your website! Can I ask for the ABC soup, do we use yellow onion? And for the tomatoes, do we need to remove the seeds? Thank you!
I prefer to use red onions but yellow ones are fine too for this soup. There’s no need to remove the tomato seeds. They will add more flavor for the soup. 🙂
Thanks for your recipe for ABC soup.
You can’t beat a bowl of soup, any time for me. It’s also a great use-up in the kitchen and ends up such a healthy nutritious meal that’s easy to cook.
I am fed up of buying tins that just don’t taste the same and you’ve spurred me on to cooking this ABC soup.
Thanks, great article,
I love having soups too and homecooked is always better than the tin ones. Don’t forget to add the ikan bilis (dried anchovies) if you can as it adds more depth to the soup. Happy cooking!
This just looks delicious! So simple but very nutritious. Bonus is that all the ingredients can be easily found in a pantry and in my veggie basket 🙂 I will try it for sure and will let you know how my family like it. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Elektra. Hope that you and your family will enjoy the recipe. Happy souping! 🙂
Benjamin Ross says
Wow this soup looks delicious and very healthy. I love to eat clean, and I like that it doesn’t have any excess calories, pure and nutritious! Will have to try it sometime.
Thanks for your comments, Ben. I love to eat clean too especially after having rich and deep-fried food. 🙂
This look so delicious and I love the ‘easy as ABC’.
I think I’ll be giving this a try.
Thanks for your comment, Jackie. I hope you’ll like the soup. Do let me know how it turns out if you try it! 🙂
Wow, this soup looks amazing! I love making soup, and I will defiantly have to try making this recipe. It really is cool how the most simple soups are often the best.
Can’t wait to try it out!
Hi Cora, yes, sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Hope you’ll enjoy this soup. 🙂
Hi there, wow I am part Asian so I can appreciate this information! My mom used to cook authentic Asian cuisine growing up and she always said simplicity is always better, which lives true with your message also. Just add chili’s and oil though!! 🙂
This does look easy to make. I am always on the look out for easy to make recipes, but they have to be nutritious too! The reason is that I have 2 kids and it is hard to make a meal with them hanging on me! The nice thing about this is I can make it during the day while they are are playschool. Will this soup freeze nicely?
Any food that can freeze well is also a bonus for me. There are some days where things just go wrong and it is nice to always have an emergency meal in the freezer.
I did a search for a butternut soup on your website but couldn’t find anything, I have been on the hunt for a while now for a thick, rich and creamy butternut soup recipe. All the recipes I’ve tried just don’t quite fit what I am after.
Hi Lynne, I too am always on the lookout for easy and nutritious recipes. This ABC soup is definitely nutritious as it has vitamins A (carrots), B (potatoes) and C (tomatoes). Onions provide potassium, iron and folate (among other minerals) and I like to have onions in my soup when I get the common cold. I understand that it is hard to cook with kids around. My 2 year old boy loves to see what’s going on in the kitchen when I’m cooking so I do what I can with the situation lol.
Yes, this soup will freeze nicely. Store any leftovers in a container and take out to reheat anytime. I don’t have any creamy soup recipes at the moment but will let you know in future if I post one.
Hi Yvonne, this recipe looks absolutely delicious. My wife just made something similar yesterday but I am going to pass this on to her as well. We love soup!
Concerning the chicken, there is a lot of flavor in the bones and skin. Do you think that it would work well if you left them on when you par boiled the chicken, then skim the stock to remove the oil and use it for the soup? Or do you think that would make the soup too heavy?
Hi Christian, yes, you can leave the skin on when parboiling. I took off the skin as I don’t really like the skin part. Parboiling is to remove the excess scum and grease. Use a fresh pot of water when boiling the ABC soup and not the same water that you used for parboiling the chicken. The usage of meat-on-the-bones and the ‘ikan bilis’ (dried anchovies) will increase the flavour of the soup. Once you have finished cooking the soup, skim out any excess oil with a fine mesh sieve. Hope that helps. You can reply here if you have further questions. Happy souping! 🙂
Hi there. I really like how this soup looks. It is colourful, has simple ingredients and looks like it will make for hassle-free cooking. I will be sure to try this out. I can tell you now that my daughter is going to love this.
Hi Fathima, thanks for dropping by. I hope your daughter loves it and happy souping! 🙂
Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea that the ABC was standing for the vitamins, that`s excellent. Maybe I will get my kids to eat it, if we call it ABC soup.
Hi Vicky, I hope your kids will like this soup. It’s a very colorful and nutritious soup as well. Happy souping! 🙂
This is a simple soup for anyone to make. I love drinking soup, but my 5 year old daughter loves soup more than anyone else in the world I think 🙂 I will be cooking soup most likely on Saturday and I may just try your method.
What is ikan bilis?, this is the first time that I am hearing of this. Overall, your recipe is a good one to try out. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Hi Jason, thanks for your comments. I’m glad to hear that your 5 year old daughter loves soup. This ABC soup is healthy, tasty and very easy to make. Ikan bilis is dried anchovies. You can see the images here: https://www.google.com.sg/#q=images+of+ikan+bilis. You should be able to find them in Asian supermarkets or any Asian dried goods stall. There are whole and de-gutted ikan bilis (head and entrails removed) and I use the whole ikan bilis when boiling soups. Rinse the ikan bilis 2-3 times to remove excess saltiness but don’t overdo it as we need to retain some of the saltiness to work its magic in the soup. If you have a disposable soup pouch or muslin fabric bags, you may place your washed ikan bilis into it and put the bag into the soup to boil with the rest of the ingredients. That is only if you don’t want the ikan bilis to float around in your soup but I personally don’t mind it. Happy souping! 🙂
Hello! I love ABC soup. I wish there are one nearby my place that I can eat everyday. Seeing how simple it is I might try making them myself.
For your recipe, it is for how many people? Because I will only be cooking for myself.
Hi Syu, thanks for dropping by. Yes, it’s really simple to make and you can find the ingredients easily. This recipe serves around 4 people. If you follow this recipe, you can take this soup for 2 meals. You don’t really need any other dish with this soup as it already has meat and vegetables. It is great served with just a bowl of rice. Alternatively, you can lessen the quantity of the chicken, tomatoes, potatoes and carrots but you’ll need the onion and ikan bilis. For the water, I would say use about 1 litres. Boil for about 1-1.5 hours until the chicken is softened.
ok I have to admit that this abc soup does sound very easy! Staple ingredients that everyone has in their pantry and fridge. I would not have thought to put fresh tomatoes in a soup but I guess it is the same as putting canned ones. I am a big fan of potatoes and carrots in a soup so this is perfect. I do not eat meat but I am thinking that if I used tofu I could replace the water with veggie broth for more flavor
Thanks for your comments. Yes, you can use tofu and replace with veggie broth for added flavour. Do you eat fish? If you do, you may make your own ikan bilis (dried anchovies) broth and use it for the soup. Take 100g of whole ikan bilis (rinse 2-3 times), 2 litres of water and 3 cloves of garlic (flatten with a knife) and bring to a boil. Then simmer for about 15 minutes. Ladle out all the ingredients and strain the broth through a sieve. Keep the cooled broth in a container and it’s ready for use. If you have leftovers, you can freeze it for later use. This recipe yields about 1 – 1.5 litres of stock.
thanks so much for the tips. I do eat fish so that would be a good alternative. I have never had anchovies before but I could try it or put in a fresh fish.
I’ve not tried using fresh fish for this soup before. If you do use it, do let me know how it turns out 🙂