Head colds are extremely inconvenient (and decidedly uncomfortable). But arguably the worst part about them is that there’s no real cure. Tea, cough drops, and extra water only go so far.
I recently came down with some sort of cold virus (definitely cramping my summer style,) and in addition to acupuncture treatments that have been acting as natural decongestants and cough expectorants, I’ve been strategically using food as medicine as well.
I accidentally invented a recipe for a magic soup a few years ago when I was experimenting with homemade kimchi ramen. I had a cold at the time, and so I was pleasantly surprised by how well the sweet, spicy broth cleared my sinuses, got my blood pumping, and soothed my stomach. Ever since then, I’ve been calling the soup my miracle cure. It doesn’t cure anything, but it certainly does seem to help clear up the symptoms of a head cold. [It’s also super quick and easy to make, so you won’t be wasting energy in the kitchen when you want to go back to bed.]
“Miracle Cure” Soup
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup kimchi
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar + 1 teaspoon honey)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes or Sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black works fine)
- optional: ramen noodles, sliced zucchini, pickled ginger, baby spinach
*If using zucchini, sauté with sesame oil in a small saucepan for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Then proceed with recipe:
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except kimchi and ramen/spinach, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Season with additional sea salt to taste. Add noodles, if using, and simmer until cooked.
Remove from heat and stir in kimchi and spinach, if using. (Reserving this step for last helps cool the soup and allows some of the natural bacteria from the fermentation to benefit the digestive system. Boiling it would kill the good microbes.)
Serve hot with pickled ginger, soy sauce, or scallions.