Manchow soup is a restaurant-style Chinese vegetarian soup made with mixed vegetables, garlic, ginger, soya sauce, ground pepper & a few other pantry ingredients. This super flavorful umami-tasting soup is served with crispy fried noodles. Doesn’t that sound addictive? Yes! It is one of the most loved soups by the kids and youth in India. If you taste this once you are sure to agree – it’s fabulous! Try out this best man chow soup at home with my easy recipe. I also share tips and tricks to make it healthier.
Indo-Chinese cuisine has a lot of gems hidden within its recipe box. Soups hold a prominent position on the menu. Manchow soup is one of those hot and yummy soups that is a crowd favorite with very few party poopers.
Anyway, what is it actually?
Manchow soup is one of the popular hot soups from Indo-Chinese cuisine. Stir-fried vegetables are immersed in a pot of water/stock enriched with aromatics and seasonings to create a flavorful dish full of nutrients.
But what makes a man chow soup so special?
The smoky aroma, umami taste, crunchy vegetables, and the right balance of all the tastes are what makes this so good. Moreover, the garnish isn’t simply your everyday ingredients but crunchy fried noodles that make you want to eat more.
For a vegetarian version, vegetable broth is often used to provide extra flavor. For a chicken version, sometimes chicken stock is used. However, for a homemade version, we can simply use water & yet make it taste good.
If you’ve enjoyed hot and sour soup (another Chinese restaurant favorite), you’ll definitely relish this man chow soup. While both soups employ similar elements, man chow contains more stir-fried vegetables and is less sour.
The best thing about making these restaurant-style soups at home is that you can control the ingredients that go into them. This is a nutritious hot soup (if you discount the fried noodles) with fresh foods.
About this recipe
I’ve made this the simplest way by using basic vegetables you find in most Chinese recipes. More than the ingredients it is the method and the carbon steel wok that actually imparts the magical smoky aroma to your man chow soup.
So I highly suggest using a carbon steel wok for the true Chinese flavors. If you don’t have one, use a bare cast iron pot but refrain from stirring vinegar into the pot. Pour it directly into your serving bowl instead.
You can make this soup anytime you want. But you can prepare this in no time if you’re already cooking vegetables for other Chinese dishes like fried rice or noodles.
The man chow soup served in restaurants is thicker than traditional clear soup. I am using cornstarch to provide a similar effect. But I have cut down the cornstarch so it won’t be as thick as in the restaurants. If you want a thicker soup, add more cornstarch.
For a healthier version, you can air fry the noodles instead of deep-frying. The other option is to skip the fried noodles and use al dente cooked noodles instead, but it won’t be the authentic version you order in restaurants.
You can also skip the step of boiling and preparing noodles in this recipe and simply use Mamee monster crunchy noodle snack as a topping. By skipping this step making man chow soup at home becomes super easy.
How to make man chow soup (stepwise photos)
Cook the noodles
1. For this step you may follow the instructions on the pack of your noodles. or Bring 2.5 liters of water to a rolling boil in a pot. Break 150 grams of noodles, preferably Hakka noodles into 3 to 4 pieces. Add to the pot of boiling water & cook al dente, on moderately high heat for the time mentioned on your pack. I had to cook mine for 2 to 3 minutes. I turned it off after 3 minutes. Ensure your noodles are al dent and not overcooked.
2. Immediately drain the cooked noodles to a colander and rinse with running cold water, under the tap. Let the noodles sit for a while in the colander, until all of the water drains.
3. Spread on a large tray or plate. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Prepare the vegetables
4. It is very important to finely chop the following vegetables
- 1 small carrot (⅓ cup)
- 4 to 5 French beans (2 to 3 tablespoons)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons bell peppers (optional)
- 3 to 4 mushrooms (optional)
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves and stems (separated or celery)
- ¼ cup onions (1 small)
Shred ¾ to 1 cup cabbage. I put the shredded cabbage in lukewarm salted water and let rest for a while. Then rinsed and drained to a colander with no excess moisture in it. Chop 2 stalks of spring onions and keep the green and white parts of the onion aside separately. Finely chop ¾ tablespoon peeled ginger and ¾ tablespoon garlic and 1 green chili.
5. Add 1½ to 2 tablespoons of oil to a wok and heat it on high heat. Add more or less oil as per your cooking preference. You have to be quick in following these steps so you don’t burn the food. Add ¾ tablespoon of finely chopped ginger, ¾ tablespoon of finely chopped ginger, green chili, and coriander stems. Sauté until slightly aromatic for 30 seconds.
6. Add ¼ cup of finely chopped onion and the chopped white parts of 2 to 3 sprigs of spring onions. You’ll be using the green parts later.
7. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring often until they turn golden but not burnt.
8. Now add all the chopped vegetables. Add 1 small carrot (⅓ cup), ¾ to 1 cup of shredded cabbage, 2 to 3 tablespoons of finely chopped French beans, and bell peppers (capsicum). Add 3-4 finely chopped mushrooms and mix well to combine.
9. Stir fry vegetables (continue on a high flame) for 2 minutes until aromatic. Stir frequently to ensure the food doesn’t burn.
If you’re adding fried noodles as a topping, now is the time to fry it.
15. Dust the dry noodles with 2 to 2½ tablespoons of cornstarch and toss them well.
16. This removes remaining moisture and prevents the noodles from sticking together. The fried noodles are crispier too.
17. Heat 1 cup of oil in a pan or skillet on medium heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the noodles in batches and fry until they are crisp and golden. Do not overcrowd the pan. When one side of the noodles is done, turn them to the other side and fry. I fried the entire noodles in 4 to 5 batches.
Drain the noodles to a steel colander.
How to serve Manchow soup?
Taste Manchow soup and add additional seasonings if required. Add 1 teaspoon to a tablespoon of rice vinegar and stir.
Ladle equal amounts of soup into individual bowls. Top with fried noodles and the green parts of chopped spring onions.
Serve the soup as an appetizer. The soup makes a healthy afternoon or evening snack. Add it to the main meal and serve it with fried rice or noodle dish.
How long can I keep man chow?
The soup stays fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Make a big batch of this soup for the week. Don’t add fried noodles or other toppings to the soup, but store them separately.
Ingredients and substitutes
If you regularly make Chinese food at home, you’ll probably have all the ingredients stocked in the kitchen.
Fresh vegetables: This soup is nutrient-rich with vegetables like carrots, French beans, cabbage, and bell peppers. Add more the vegetables like mushrooms, sweet corn, etc, if you prefer.
Can you modify this recipe by using other vegetables?
Use those vegetables that complement soup dishes and Chinese flavors from red cabbage and lettuce to zucchini and radishes, and even lotus root.
Asian Noodles: Hakka noodles are the other important element in a man chow soup. However, you may use soba, udon, or any other whole-grain noodles to serve. Boil, drain and serve them. The crispy noodles part in this recipe has not been tested with another kind of noodles.
Coriander leaves and celery stalks: Fresh celery and coriander leaves add an extra level of flavor to your soup. If you don’t have celery add chopped coriander stems instead like the way I did.
Aromatics: Ginger, garlic, and onions transform an ordinary tasting dish into something delectable. This soup contains both spring onions and onions. The white parts of spring onions go into the soup while we reserve the green for toppings.
Soy sauce: This provides a unique umami flavor to this Chinese soup. You may substitute that with the same amount of Tamari as the way I did.
Tofu or paneer or mushrooms: They provide protein content and meat-like texture to your dish. Add pan-seared tofu or paneer if you can’t have or don’t like mushrooms.
Cornstarch: My recipe uses cornstarch to thicken the soup. Skip this for a thin soup. Or sub with equal amounts of arrowroot powder or tapioca flour. The thickener is also added to dry noodles to remove excess moisture, prevent them from sticking together. The starch-coated noodles are crispier when deep-fried.
- Cook the noodle in advance as they need to dry out before you fry them.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot or chili sauce if you prefer heat in your soups.
- Go easy on the cornflour paste if you prefer a thinner soup.
Variations of manchow soup
- Make this healthier by skipping the fried noodles. Add the cooked noodles directly to the soup while it simmers.
- Add soba, udon, or millet noodles to serve a different variety of man chow soup.
- To make a soup meal or a light dinner, add more protein like tofu or paneer while cooking the vegetables.
- For a chicken version, saute shredded chicken in the pan on high heat until just tender. Pour hot water or hot broth to cook the soup. For a shrimp version, saute them until tender and just cooked. Season with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp chili sauce. Set aside and serve as a topping along with noodles.
Is the taste of that lip-smacking soup you had at a Chinese restaurant still lingering in your mind? Are you wondering how to replicate the flavors at home? You’re in luck as my recipe features one of the popular and delicious restaurant-style man chow soup.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
For crispy noodles (or use Mamee monster crunchy noodle snack)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Vitamin A 4149IU83%
Vitamin C 23mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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