It's actually not sooo bad this time around (denial? I hope not), but I will be a responsible adult and take it easy this weekend. And I will drink plenty of orange juice and eat chicken noodle soup. That should be a miracle cure, right?
All of these thoughts about chicken noodle soup (and my own Thailandification of this American cure-all), got me thinking about sickness in different cultures. Actually, I think about it a lot now that I live in Germany. I'm home from work today because if I had tried to go in, everyone in the office would have taken one look at me (or listened to approx. 3 seconds of my almost non-existent raspy voice) and sent me home. As the day has progressed, I don't really feel sick enough to just be curled up in bed waiting to get better though. I want to go out into the sunshine and let it soak into my skin. Surely that is actually good for one's health? So my question is- what do Germans do when they are sick (which is comparatively often, considering that it's a professional transgression to go to work with even the slightest hint of sickness - do people really just sit at home, wrapped in blankets, with hot mugs of tea? I'd rather go lie in the grass at the park...)?
So I tried to do a little research on German customs in dealing with illness, and I couldn't actually figure out much. I do know, as noted above, that Germans take illness seriously by taking the appropriate time off from work to recover. They also tend to try natural remedies first, and they're not shy about going to the doctor. But beyond that... I have no idea! Sickness is a rather solitary activity, isn't it? And I think we all default to the customs with which we were brought up. So I default to orange juice and chicken noodle soup, and while I'm wrapped up in my blanket in my apartment, I have no idea how my German neighbor cares for her kids when they are sick. Does she bring them steaming bowls of soup in bed? Are hot water bottles involved? Tea?
Chicken Noodle Soup in Tom Yam Broth
I always thought chicken noodle soup was a bit bland and boring . I know it's intentionally bland because sick-foods are supposed to be flavorless and easy to stomach, but it's still just a little too bland for me. So I have punched it up a bit by adding more vegetables and a Thai broth. Tom Yam (also known as Tom Yum) is a very common Thai soup that is made from a spice paste, clear broth, and vegetables (I add in the chicken and noodles to make it a variation on chicken noodle soup, and it works really well). I now regularly make this soup when I am sick. And don't worry that this might be complicated - since you're sick and clearly don't have the energy for cooking, I'm not going to give you a recipe with complex instructions. This soup can be pulled together in 30 minutes, and the only somewhat complicated part might be finding the prepared Tom Yum soup paste at the grocery store (I can always find it at my local Asian market).
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 red pepper, cubed
1 chicken breast, cubed
3-4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp (35 g package) Tom Yum Soup paste
2-3 cups chicken broth
1 cup flat noodles
squeeze of lemon
dash of fish sauce (optional)
Optional: Thai eggplant, button mushrooms, or any other veggies that you might have
1. Heat oil on high in a deep soup pot on the stove.
2. When the oil is hot, add in the onion, carrot, and red pepper. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the cubed raw chicken breast and sauté until chicken is cooked through.
4. Add in the Tom Yum paste, mix with the chicken and veggies, and cook for about 30 seconds before pouring in the chicken broth.
5. Bring soup to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, depending upon which vegetables you have added (e.g. thai eggplant takes a little longer to cook than do mushrooms).
6. Uncover, turn heat back up, and add the tomatoes and noodles. Depending upon the type of noodles you have added, it should take approximately 6 - 8 minutes, for the noodles to be cooked through.
7. Before serving, add a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of fish sauce (if it's not salty enough for you and if you like fish sauce- regular soy sauce could also be added).