Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Soup and Survival


I was not supposed to get the flu, but I did. It came after a cold and a stomach bug.  It hit me hard (despite the infamous flu shot) and left me resolved to shore up my reserves.  Enough is enough.  After four days of convalescing, I ate two huge bowls of this amazing soup and suddenly the run down feeling left my body.  That was yesterday.  I made it again today to prolong the feelings of self preservation, restoration, survival.  The winter is nowhere near over, so if I have to eat this every day, I just might do that.

This magical soup, "sick soup" came to me by way of text message from my cousin Laurie, who got it from her friend when her own son was sick.  Before that, I can't trace it any farther back.  I'd like to thank the universe for putting this soup out there for me because the healing properties are numerous.  12 cloves of garlic.  Ginger, onion, cabbage, chili, lime juice.  Grandma's chicken noodle soup is cowering in the corner feeling pretty meager next to this.

I think we all agree, getting sick is the pits.  But winter and germs are here to stay, so in case you need it- here's the recipe.  Stay strong.

"Sick Soup"
This soup lends itself well to variations. The photo below shows a version I just made using shiitake mushrooms and firm tofu.  Add the mushrooms about half way through the cooking, and stir in the diced tofu once you have turned off the flame.

6 cups water
1 white onion, cut in half then sliced thinly
1 medium cabbage (use as much of the cabbage as you like), sliced into 1 inch pieces
12 cloves garlic, peeled (thinly slice 6, and chop the other 6)
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 red chili cut in half, seeds removed and thinly sliced (omit the chili if serving someone who cannot tolerate spice)
juice of 1 lime
1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
salt to taste

Boil the water in a large pot and add all the ingredients except the lime juice, sesame oil and salt. Cover the pot and simmer the soup over medium heat for 30 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the lime juice, sesame oil and salt to taste.  Enjoy this soup piping hot.



  1. A solution! My dad is a big believer in a recipe quite similar. I know it includes the red pepper, garlic, and ginger. Hope you are feeling stronger tonight. Take care, Denise

  2. Ugh, so sorry you have been feeling so bad lately. Not easy with two little 'uns... I will bookmark this for the next bout of germs in my household.

  3. Hope you are feeling better, Nicole. And I can't tell you how happy I am to read this recipe. I have been sick for the last 2 weeks and cannot get this sinus flu kicked away. I am going to make it TODAY. Thanks for sharing such a healing remedy.

  4. Hope you are feeling better! I am saving this soup for when I might need it!

  5. Perfect!!!! Just what I needed, been feeling crummy, my daughter got a terrible flu, story goes on. Plus we are loaded with cabbage!

  6. That looks yummy! Hope you are feeling better. Now that my life is back on track, I can read your blog. I was busy with mine at www.emetophobiadeconstructed.blogspot.com
    Check it out if you need some bedtime reading...

  7. Totally making this tonight, with a chicken broth base (since I'm in hte process of making chicken broth right now), this winter has been pure hell germ wise. Hope you feel better soon, sooner, soonest!

  8. Yes yes and yes! Ginger, chili...magic! So glad you are better and no wonder that this soup did the trick! Happy us who each had a bad cold but no flu!

  9. My sick family says THANK YOU for the yummiest soup! We are feeling much better after a big pot of the spicy deliciousness. It couldn't come at a better time- it got rid of that run-down feeling! Now that we ambushed the cold, we are rounding out dinner with the transcendent Kale and Apple salad that you made us for Christmas! It is my new go-to salad and our favorite dressing. Everyone at my school sends their thanks too! My lunch salads made folks jealous! Had to pass out the recipe and blog address!

    1. Sara- So glad to see you made the soup! Hope everyone is feeling better! Thanks for reading (and cooking!)

  10. Update: Nicole: I made this wonderful healing soup tonight. My little guys have a virus and it is just the natural remedy I needed. I added curry powder (instead of the chili), a star anise, a bay leaf and 2 cloves. We ate it with some bread I baked yesterday. It was so delicious!

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  12. Hi Nicole! I'm a family friend of Laurie Perez (aka "the friend whose son was sick"). I don't have a son and unfortunately, I was the one with a nasty case of the flu but I'm so glad you loved the recipe! I made it when I was sick and it really did wonders and was surprisingly tasty. The recipe came from a book that my mom got for my aunt (not sure of the name but I can let you know...) My aunt was the one who sent the recipe over because SHE had made the soup when she also had the flu and it worked like a charm. Guess this magical soup is really making the rounds! Glad you're feeling better and nice to "meet" you :)


    1. Hi Melissa! It seems like this recipe has made it's way far and wide, thanks to the internet! So glad you passed it to Laurie who passed it to me. Here's to a healthy February! Thanks for stopping by!


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