Trendy and tasty flu-fighting soups to beat the winter sniffles
The winter and flu season is just around the corner and there is nothing better than sitting down to a hot bowl of soup on a cold day.
Winter soups are a great option for a wholesome yet nutritious lunch or dinner, packing in vegetables and vitamins.
They are packed with nutrients and, if you choose wisely, can be a tasty way of helping your body meet different needs.
Research reveals that soup improves the function of cilia, the tiny hairlike projections within the nose that prevent contagions from entering the body.
A huge reason that soup is good for colds is that most contain hot broth rich in vitamins, nutrient-rich veggies, and provides a light meal without taxing the body.
So, when you are on the sick list, these soothing soups are easy to eat and can help fight congestion while keeping you nourished and hydrated.
Sometimes, simply breathing in the warm and fragrant steam from a comforting bowl of soup is enough to make you feel a little bit better.
Thai chicken noodle soup
Serves: 2-3 as main, 4-6 as a starter
1 litre chicken stock
150g thin rice noodles or mung bean thread vermicelli
200ml coconut milk
1 x 3-4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly, then cut into skinny strips
2 x 15ml tablespoons fish sauce
1 fresh long red chilli, de-seeded and cut into strips
1tsp tamarind paste
1tsp soft brown sugar
2 x 15ml tablespoons lime juice
Leftover chicken, shredded - approximately 150g (about 2 breakfast cupfuls, loosely packed)
250g tender-shoot stir-fry or other assorted vegetables
2-3 x 15ml tablespoons chopped fresh coriander, to serve
Put the chicken stock in a good-sized pan to heat up.
Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over or cook as instructed on the packet.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the vegetables, to the pan and bring to a boil.
When the chicken is piping hot, add the vegetables and when they are tender – a minute or two should be plenty if you’re using the tender shoots – add the drained noodles.
Or simply divide the noodles between bowls and pour the soup over them.
Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander.
Recipe by Nigella Lawson.
Farmhouse vegetable soup
Makes: 3 cups
2 medium carrots, trimmed and scrubbed well
1 small, young turnip, trimmed and scrubbed well
1 small parsnip, trimmed and scrubbed well
1 medium onion
4tbsp clarified butter or ghee
1 clove garlic, cut into thin slices
1 ¾ cups vegetable broth, preferably no salt added
3 bay leaves
4 stems parsley
3 sprigs lemon thyme (may substitute regular thyme)
9 whole black peppercorns
Coarse sea salt
½ cup heavy cream
Cut the carrots, turnip, parsnip, and onion into 6mm slices.
Melt the clarified butter or ghee in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat.
Stir in the vegetables and garlic; cook for about 4 minutes or until they have softened a bit.
They should not pick up any colour.
Add the broth, bay leaves, parsley, lemon thyme sprigs, and peppercorns, then season with a good pinch of salt.
Increase the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are quite tender.
Discard the bay leaves, parsley, and lemon thyme.
Working in batches as needed, transfer the mixture to a blender (with the centre knob of the lid removed and a towel placed over it) or food processor; purée until smooth.
(Alternatively, you can use a food mill, and discard the solids.)
Return to the pan and stir in the cream.
Taste, and add more salt, as needed.
Butternut squash and green curry soup
For the soup
4tbsp coconut oil or neutral-tasting oil
3 medium shallots, diced
1 piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon-grass stalk, cut into 8cm pieces
2 medium butternut squashes (1,8kg), peeled, seeded, and cut into about 2cm cubes
2 cans coconut milk
6 to 8 tbsp Thai green curry paste, or to taste
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 to 4 cups water or chicken stock, preferably homemade.
For the garnish
¾ cup raw peanuts
¾ cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes
2tbsp fish sauce
8 small dried red chillies, thinly sliced
1tbsp neutral-tasting or melted coconut oil
1tbsp minced lemon-grass
10 lime leaves, thinly sliced (optional)
A handful of Thai or Italian basil leaves
2 to 3 limes, quartered
Heat oven to 150 degrees.
Melt oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat.
When oil shimmers, add shallots, ginger, lemon grass, and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce heat to low.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are tender and just starting to brown, about 18 minutes.
Add squash, coconut milk, curry paste, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, and 3 cups water or stock. Increase heat to high.
When the liquid comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook the soup covered until squash is tender for about 25 minutes.
Make garnish while the soup cooks:
In a medium mixing bowl, toss together peanuts, coconut flakes, fish sauce, chillies, 1 tablespoon oil, the minced lemongrass, the sugar, and the lime leaves, if using.
Spread mixture out onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes after the first 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven when coconut is deep golden brown, and pour mixture immediately into a bowl to prevent overcooking.
Stir to combine, and set aside.
Remove soup from heat.
Remove lemongrass stalks from the pot.
Use a hand blender to purée the soup.
Alternatively, transfer the soup in batches to a blender or food processor and purée.
Taste and adjust for salt and curry paste.
Add water or stock to thin soup to the desired consistency.
Thinly slice the basil leaves and arrange them on a small plate or platter, along with lime wedges and peanut mixture.
Serve soup hot with garnishes.