Today was absolutely lovely around here, it was sunny, and in the high 50's at least. I mean, I spent most of the day inside, but when I left work it was nice out. I'm even typing this with the window open in my kitchen. In spite of all the nice weather, I am feeling crummy. So I ran a few quick errands, picked up a couple of things at the grocery store and have made my go to #1 soup for when I am feeling ill. I call it Sicky McInfectedpants soup, and it is pretty tasty, seriously easy, and good fer what ails ya. When I'm feeling unwell, I tend to crave fresher flavors, but I really love spicy/sour flavors, it wakes me up and makes me feel better just by eating it. And if you're congested, who needs Sudafed when you have spicy soup?!
I'm going to outline the simple version, and then detail how I gussy it up further. You can make it as simple or complex as you're feeling.
Sicky McInfectedpants soup
1-1.5 tsp grapeseed oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, grated
1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
crushed red pepper flakes
32-48 oz. of stock (I used a box of Kitchen Basics unsalted chicken stock and then added 2 c. of water and one veggie boullion cube)
pinch of salt, or more as needed.
handful of grated carrot
1 scallion, thinly sliced
lime juice (1 wedge per bowl)
1. Heat up the oil in a medium pot, grating in the garlic & ginger once it starts to thin out. Add a pinch of salt and cook on medium heat until they start to get a little clumpy and very light brown.
2. Add the crushed red pepper flakes (to taste, some people like a little, some people like a lot!) and cook for 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to high and add your stock.
3. Once the soup comes up to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the carrots.
4. Serve hot with a squeeze of lime juice, and some crackers on the side.
Now, I wasn't feeling so crummy, so I got a little fancy:
1. I added ~1 tsp of tom yam paste to the garlic and ginger. This can be found at a well stocked Asian market. It has a very high sodium content, so I used it pretty sparingly.
2. In a separate tiny pot, I toasted up the crushed red pepper flakes with whole coriander, whole black peppercorns, and whole cardamon (the little seeds, not the whole pods). I added a little bit of stock to this plus the stumps of the garlic cloves I grated into the bigger pot. I cooked this at a boil for a few minutes then poured it through a strainer into the big pot.
3. Once I brought the stock up to a boil, I ladled it into a bowl with: chopped baby spinach, finely chopped parsley, grated carrot, and topped all this with scallions. It was hot enough to cook everything.
4. I added some low sodium soy sauce because the soup was under-seasoned. This is the kind of recipe that you can add salt at the end if needed and the soup won't suffer for it. Just add it a little at a time so you don't over-do it.
5. You can add shredded chicken or chickpeas to this to make it extra filling. You can also add bulgur, just make sure to stick to only about 1/4-1/2 c. uncooked bulgur because it soaks up liquid, and you want to have soup, not mush.
See, that wasn't so hard! And it takes less than 1/2 an hour to put together, so you have plenty of time to veg on the couch and watch cartoons, or if you're me, play your new video game!