Monday, November 8, 2010

The Classic Cold Medicine

I have been nursing a persistent cough since last week, the kind that leaves you gasping for breath after coughing up like ten times in a row.  I am not a big fan of cough syrups so I avoid them as much as I can.  Besides those cough & cold medicine doesn't really give much relief much else cure it.  So now the cough has turned into a really bad cold... the runny kind where you cannot bend down long enough or else all the water in your brain will flow out.  And not to mention the constant sneezing which is just annoying and so unladylike. Anyways I gave in to taking medicines, although nothing has brought me comfort except the smell of the vinegar I used to dip the pears I ate.  It smelled so good I slurped what was left in the bowl.  Back in the Philippines the best home remedy for colds was to simmer some local vinegar underneath your nostrils.  It clears congestion pretty good! I ought to give that a try later...

For now, a good ol' chicken soup sounds exceptionally good.

Chicken soup is nature's best cold and flu remedy, or for whatever ails you.  It must be the steam or the aroma from the spices, interestingly there's scientific evidence that there is truth to the tales that chicken soup has medicinal qualities.

There are many many different ways of making the classic soup.  My version is a slight asian fare, loaded with some greens and some Thai noodles.  I always like to add some sriracha and lemon at the end to make it a little pho-ish.

Chicken Soup

10 pieces chicken legs, bone-in, skin removed (preferrably organic-free range chicken)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1.5 quart chicken broth
2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 inch crosswise
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1 jalapeno peppers, sliced (optional, i like mine hot)
1 napa cabbage, sliced 1/4 inch crosswise (separate the stems from the leaves)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cut fresh green onions
6 oz rice stick (thai style pasta)

  1. Rinse chicken legs and remove the skins.  Place chicken in colander to remove excess water.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat.  Add the oil and soon as it starts to smoke, add the chicken legs.  Increase the heat to high and let chicken cook until no loner pink on the outside, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes making sure the meat does not stick to the pan. There should be very little liquid in it, you are basically cooking the chicken in its own liquid.
  3. Add salt & pepper, and garlic.  Cook for one minute then add ginger, onion, celery and carrots.  Cook further until the the vegetables start to 'sweat', about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth to the pan, adding water if it is not enough to cover all of the meat.  Bring it to a boil then lower the heat.  Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken in tender.
  5. Add the rice noodle and cook until soft, about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the noodle you are using.  Thinner ones cook a lot faster.  At the last minute of cooking add the cabbage stems.
  6. Serve topped with cabbage leaves, green onions and cilantro.
  7. If you like it hot as I do, add sliced jalapeno and a dash of sriracha.  A bit of lemon or lime is also a good addition.

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