Thai Chicken Soup for Immunity

That cold that has been going around finally caught up with me. Sunday night I felt the oh-so-familiar scratchiness in my throat, and I know it had come for me. I took Sunday night to be super lazy and watch all the netflix, but on Monday I decided to take action, and I cobbled together this version of the classic remedy for the common cold: Chicken Soup. 

First a side note: I am OBSESSED with Thai coconut chicken soup, or Tom Kha Gai. So far I have yet to find a restaurant in Oakland that has an awesome one on their menu. If you know of a spot with stellar soup, hit me up in the comments!! Please. Seriously. DO IT NOW. 

Ok, but since I haven't found one, I've been working on making my own. This version is the best I've come out with so far, so I will share it will you, gorgeous humans. 

Thai-Inspired Immunity Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts Unsalted Chicken broth (I make my own for extra nutritional value--it's super easy! but you can also use store bought if you are in a pinch)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 2 thumbs worth of fresh ginger
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 can coconut cream or 2 cans coconut milk (NOT lite)
  • 1 tsp Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
  • 1 bell pepper 
  • 1lb mushrooms (I used white button mushrooms, but any kind will do)
  • 1-2 bunch kale
  • 4-5 Carrots
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 limes
  • 4-5 stalks of cilantro  

Prep

  • Slice ginger root (thickness should be 1/4 inch or less--you want to expose lots of sruface area so the broth will infuse. Don't bother peeling it)
  • Remove any dried outer layers of lemongrass, then chop it into 1.5 inch pieces

Directions

  • Pour your broth into a large soup pot, add 1 tsp salt, and bring broth to a boil (you want the salt to dissolve). TASTE YOUR BROTH. If it tastes amazing already, you have added enough salt. It it tastes like something is missing but you don't know what, add another half teaspoon of salt and return to boiling. Taste again. Rinse repeat until that broth tastes crazy good. 
  • Turn the heat down to med/low to achieve a lovely simmer, and dump in ginger and lemongrass. Let that ish simmer for AT LEAST 20 mins. The longer you simmer, the deeper the flavor, but we all gotta eat, and a weeknight is a weeknight, so...
  • Use the 20min simmer to prep your other veggies:
    • De-stem and chop or tear kale into bite-size pieces
    • thinly slice carrots ( a mandolin works well here, I used my Cuisinart with the mandolin blade)
    • Remove the seeds, then quarter and thinly slice bell pepper
    • Thinly slice mushrooms
    • remove chicken from bones, set aside.  
    • Strain the ginger and lemongrass out of the broth (a slotted spoon works well here)
    • Add curry paste and stir to combine/dissolve
    • Add your most dense veggies first (kale & Carrots) and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Taste a carrot--if it is no longer crunchy, you're good, 
    • Add mushrooms and bell peppers, simmer for another 5 minutes. 
    • Add coconut milk or cream
    • Add chicken and simmer 5 mins to warm
    • Top with Cilantro and a lime wedge for extra fanciness
    • Slurp it out of big bowls and feel better almost immediately!

    Why do I call this Immunity Soup?

    Great question. The ingredients are specifically chosen for their nutrient density, and immunity-boosting properties. 

    • Red Bell peppers & carrots are a rich source of Vitamin C
    • Mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and boost immune response (read the full report on PubMed)
    • Kale is incredibly nutrient-dense, as well as having "high antioxidant activity" 
    • Chicken bone broth is a rich source of collagen, which your body breaks down into amino acids (The building blocks of all life) and uses to repair anything that needs it. It is also hydrating, and can help replenish electrolytes. For an unbiased and thorough investigation, check out this article from NPR. 
    • Fresh ginger has been shown to help fight respiratory infections, lower overall inflammation, reduce muscle soreness, and improves your digestion.