Posted on : 01-06-2009 | By : Cindy | In : My idiot-proof recipes
It’s Queen’s Birthday holiday today in New Zealand and thank goodness, the sun is shining. I’m sitting in a sunny room writing this post, sheltered from the icy wind blasting up from Antarctica. Yesterday wasn’t so sunny and I spent the day huddled over a steaming bowl of Vicks trying to clear my sinuses. It made me think about how I could avoid the dreaded flu. “How about wearing some warm clothes and shutting the windows?”, my family and friends would immediately retort. “That might help!” It’s true; I’m not a good cold weather person.
So my plan today is to make chicken noodle soup. It’s just what you feel like when you’re not so well – and I’ll be throwing in lots of garlic and ginger to combat those nasty viruses. Eating chicken soup for a cold is an old wives’ tale that really works. Scientists have found that real chicken soup – not from a can or sachet – really does have anti-viral effects. Today I’m taking the easy option – opening a carton of ready-made chicken stock and throwing in the healthy extras – sliced chicken, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, spring onions, kaffir lime leaf, lemon juice, noodles and mint.
The anti-viral benefits of garlic and ginger have long been known but I was really pleased to see a report in the Journal of Nutrition saying that white button mushrooms may also boost the body’s natural immune system. They are only laboratory studies at the moment – not with people. So they can’t say mushrooms definitely work or how many we might need to eat. But we don’t need to wait for the studies. Little white button mushrooms taste delicious sliced into this soup and it’s a bonus that they might make it even healthier.
1 litre chicken stock
2 skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cm cube ginger, thinly sliced
1 kaffir lime leaf, rolled up and thinly sliced (or you could use finely sliced lemon grass)
6-8 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, sliced in 2 cm strips
Rice stick noodles
Lemon juice and fish sauce to taste
1/2 cup mint leaves
Place all ingredients except noodles, lemon juice and mint in a large pot. Simmer gently for 20-30 minutes. Taste. If it needs more salt add a dash of fish sauce. if it needs more zing, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Boil rice stick noodles for 5 minutes and drain. Place noodles into serving bowls and spoon soup over. Top with plenty of mint. (You can also use coriander and thinly sliced red chilli for a bit of a bite).
- The Appetizer: Bonnie Stern: Three chicken soups for the common cold (network.nationalpost.com)
- Thai recipe: Coconut chicken broth (telegraph.co.uk)
- Soup’s On – Thai Chicken Noodle Soup (chicagoist.com)