My husband, AKA The Critic, has been suffering from a man-cold and sinus infection for the past 3 weeks…which means that we have all been suffering with his whining and carrying on. Man-colds are the worst! Have you even noticed that there’s no such thing as a woman-cold? That’s because it doesn’t exist. We don’t have the time to lie prostrate on the couch for 18 hours and cry about how sick we feel. There are lunches to pack, bums to wipe, laundry to do…but I digress.
Reaching the end of my tether with the man-cold, I resolved to kick the s**t out of it with a vengeance, using some crazy spicy, nourishing soup of my own invention.
I gathered all of the ingredients I wanted to use: my new favorite, kimchi, plus lemon grass, garlic, hot chili, cilantro, ginger, and some enoki mushrooms I had hanging around from my pork roll recipe.
I added tofu for some protein, choosing medium firmness so it wouldn’t fall apart in the soup but would still retain some comforting softness.
The Critic loved the soup, and I’m sure he was a bit more perky after eating it. Well, at least he was sitting up and not lying down on the couch. That’s progress, right?
This recipe makes a big pot-full of soup, which is enough to knock the man-cold down and out via a few days of soup-eating.
About 12 cups of chicken broth
2T fish sauce
1 block (1lb) of medium tofu, cubed into 3/4″ pieces
1.5t freshly grated ginger
1T freshly chopped lemon grass
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 green onions, chopped
1 whole thai chili, chopped
1 bunch enoki mushrooms (optional)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Jar of kimchi
If you don’t know how to deal with lemongrass, this is how you do it.
Cut the whole stalk in half width-wise, and peel off the outside layers.
Cut the stalk lengthwise and then widthwise again, creating little diced pieces:
As far as the chili goes, it’s always wise to test the heat of the chili you’re using, before you go crazy and throw the whole thing in a dish. I can tell you about the time when I ruined a whole batch of guacamole with an incredibly hot jalapeño…what a bummer. Jalapeños aren’t usually that hot, but this one was an outlier and I had used the whole thing without testing it first. Dumb! From then on, I’ve always taken a tiny piece of any pepper I’m using to see if it’s hot, or smoking hot. Too much spice can completely ruin a dish and there’s no saving it. And FYI, the seeds are the hottest part.
In this case, dice the chili and use some of it, adding more to taste. Always remember that the flavour of the soup will intensify with time.
To dice chilis, I first cut the green top off, then cut lengthwise down the chili in 2-4 cuts. I then lay the chili on its side and cut widthwise through the cuts. This gives you a small dice that’s quick and neat. Works great with jalapeños too.
Put all of the ingredients except for the kimchi and cilantro into the pot, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cilantro near the end so it keeps its bright green colour.
When you’re ready to serve this soup, ladle it into a bowl, trying to avoid getting too many pieces of lemongrass in it, because they’re tough. A few is okay. Sink a large spoonful of kimchi into the middle of the bowl (bombs away!!) and say goodbye to the man-cold!