Henan Citrus Chicken Broth

Henan Citrus Chicken Broth is Paul's non-traditional adaptation of the famous aromatic Daokou chicken from Henan province, China, near the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Already a deft broth maker, Paul has honed his technique and varied his flavor profiles during my pregnancy, in empathic response to my near-daily nausea. I love this broth's bold citrus aroma and flavor, subtle honey sweetness, and rich background spices. Its a great broth on its own (Paul's favorite), or with fresh steamed veggies and rice (the way I like it best). This recipe is adapted from Carolyn Phillips' wonderful new Chinese cookbook All Under Heaven.

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Yield: Serves 6


   Citrus Stock:

  • 2-4 whole chicken legs (cut in half)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 orange peel, dried (can be in multiple sections, air dry on the counter for 24 hours, or briefly in an oven)
  • 1 lemon peel, dried, (can be in multiple sections, air dry on the counter for 24 hours, or briefly in an oven)
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, halved
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger (1/2 teaspoon powdered)
  • 2 cardamon pods
  • 1 teaspoon whole dried fennel
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise pods


  1. To a large pot, add all the citrus stock ingredients: chicken, broth, water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, lemon peel, orange peel, green onions, jalapeno, cinnamon stick, allspice, cloves., black pepper, ginger, cardamon, fennel, bay leaves, and star anise. Turn the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, turn heat to low and gently simmer for 2 hours uncovered. If your broth develops a lot of foam, this can be skimmed off at any time.
  2. Remove the chicken. The meat can be shredded and used for another purpose (chicken salad, sandwiches, etc.).
  3. Pour the broth through a large strainer into a clean pot or bowl. Discard the solids. Set strained broth aside to allow fat to separate and rise to the top. Discard the excess fat. 
  4. Prior to serving, taste the broth and add salt if desired. Serve the broth straight up, with rice noodles, soba noodles, ramen noodles, rice, lightly steamed vegetables, herbs etc.


  • The ingredient list can be a tough to source at your average supermarket. Feel free to adapt the spicing, or consider finding your local Asian grocery store, spice store, or ordering from our favorite spice store online if you don't have one near you. 
  • If you allow yourself time to fully refrigerate the broth prior to serving, you can easily remove the fat from the surface of the broth before bringing to temperature.
  • This broth can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, or keeps well in the freezer for up to 6 months.