Whenever my husband gets a cold, he gives me his sad puppy-dog face and asks if I can make him some “sick soup.” Apparently, when he was little, his mother made him “sick soup” when he stayed home from school. He later found out that this soup was nothing more than hot water and a chicken boullion cube.
Sometimes a hot, salty broth is the only thing we can stomach when we’re sick, which is why chicken noodle soup is so popular among hospital patients. Aside from the comfort of being able to stomach the chicken broth, it really does nothing to help with nausea or cold symptoms.
With the flu being so common this year, I decided to come up with a broth-based soup that contains beneficial ingredients to actually help with these symptoms. I combined anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory ginger with digestion-aiding miso paste. I also added a squeeze of fresh lime juice for a boost of vitamin C.
This soup could also be considered an anti-cancer soup, because miso and mushrooms are documented cancer fighters. Combine those with the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger and garlic, and you have a legitimate wellness-promoting soup!
Asian-inspired Sick Soup
- 1 T. sesame oil (or olive oil)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. grated ginger
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 4 cups water
- 2 1/2 T. miso paste (I used sweet white miso)
- 1 T. reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce (if not GF)
- 1 cup de-stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots (canned and found in the international foods aisle of most grocery stores)
- 2 T. chopped green onion or 1 T. chives
- 1 lime
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes.
- Cut the lemongrass stalk into four pieces, mashing each one beneath the flat side of a large knife blade. Add the lemongrass pieces to the pot and stir. Add the water and miso paste, stirring to dissolve the miso.
- Allow the broth to simmer for about 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the lemongrass pieces.
- Taste the broth, and if it is not already salty (miso varieties can have different sodium content), add the tamari or soy sauce.
- Add the mushrooms, bamboo stalks, and green onion/chives and allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle into individual bowls and add a pinch of cilantro and a squeeze of lime to each bowl. Serve!
If just making the broth, stop after step 4 and add a squeeze of lime juice before serving.
Even though I called this sick soup, you do not have to be sick to eat it. Because it is a broth-based soup, it is not very filling and thus would not be considered a meal by itself. It would be a great appetizer for an Asian stir-fry, homemade veggie sushi, or a large Thai salad!
Note: If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, keep in mind that miso paste is high in sodium and adjust your serving size (or the amount of miso you put in your soup) accordingly. I recommend omitting the tamari/soy sauce entirely.
I hope you find this simple soup to be tasty and comforting. And if you’re feeling under the weather, I wish you a speedy recovery!