Chicken Soup for the Cold

Me: Chicken soup is supposed to be good for a cold.
DH: You mean it’s good for the soul?
Me: Haven’t you heard? Chicken soup is touted as a home remedy for cold and flu.

I hadn’t really dug into the legitimacy of the chicken soup remedy but I figured it was time to dig a little deeper. As it turns out, there really are some good reasons why we should take chicken soup when we’ve got a cold.

Here’s what a bowl of chicken soup does for your cold:

  • Clears congested sinuses –
    • hot fluids dilate the blood vessels, increase blood flow, and allow the mucous to flush out and relieve the congestion.
    • improves the function of the cilia (tiny hairs in our noses) that trap and clear out contagions.
    • chicken contains carnosine which reduces inflammation in the upper respiratory tract by stopping the migration of white blood cells.
  • Helps fight the cold by providing hydration – chicken soup contain salt and water which are great for hydration.

Science has begun to support what mothers have understood for centuries. The heat, salt, and hydration provided by chicken soup may actually fight the cold virus (NIH, 2012). Laboratory studies have shown that ingredients of a chicken soup with vegetables could kill viral cells and prevent the growth of new ones (Rennard, et al., 2000). The soup may also provide an anti-inflammatory effect in the upper respiratory tract that helps soothe symptoms (Rennard, et al., 2000). Unfortunately, the benefits of chicken soup appear to be limited by how quickly the soup leaves the body (Babizhayev, et al., 2012). – Healthline

Sources:

What are the Key Ingredients that Provide its Wholesome Benefits?

According to BBC Good Food, you need to include these ingredients:

  • Onions, garlic and vegetables for phytonutrients
  • Chicken bones which contain gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin in the joint tissues.

Chicken Soup Recipes

So what chicken soup for the cold recipes can you keep up your sleeves? The “ABC Soup”  recipe which contains chicken, onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery which sounds like it fits the bill pretty well. If you want to up the ante, you could add some ginger. Although there is currently insufficient evidence to support these claims, ginger has a long history of being associated as a natural remedy for coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, tummy upset, and headaches (which are all symptoms you might experience with a cold).

There are also more chicken soup recipes that you can find from Home Remedies for Life. If you’re not up for making your own chicken soup, not to worry, Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, found that even canned chicken soups work, too.

Super Easy Thai Green Curry

I’m pretty fond of Thai Green Curry but not too fond of the spice so I was pretty pleased to discover that Dancing Chef makes a lovely Green Curry paste that isn’t too spicy for my tastebuds. I like Dancing Chef because they offer a range of products that are free from MSG, preservatives and artificial colouring. Best of all, it’s really, really quick and easy to prepare.

Thai Green Curry

Instead of the usual long beans and brinjal, I used green beans and ladies fingers:

  • 1 packet of Dancing Chef Green Curry Paste
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 50ml water
  • green beans
  • ladies fingers
  • 500g chicken fillet

Add curry paste, water and coconut milk into a pot and bring to the boil. Add chicken and vegetables and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Serve.

G1 and I have give it our hearty approval. Well, okay, I really like it, and G1 likes it enough to eat it again. G2 is still not really into curry. DH says it’s okay, but he prefers the regular curry. Sigh… You can’t please them all – they complain that you never make anything different, but when you do, they prefer the stuff you usually make anyway. Just. Can’t. Win.

Steamed Mushroom Chicken

This is another East-meets-West modification of a Chinese recipe… The original recipe uses Chinese mushrooms, I used brown mushrooms (which you cannot see in the picture below because they were buried under the chicken). I also used red wine instead of Chinese cooking wine. Lastly, I omitted the fujuk (bean curd puffs) because no one in the family will eat it but me.

Steamed mushroom chicken

Ingredients:

  • Main:
    • 5 pieces of chicken thighs
    • 100g brown mushrooms, sliced
    • spring onion
  • Marinade:
    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp red wine
    • 1 tsp cornflour
    • dash of pepper
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Seasoning:
    • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sesame oil

Method:

  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the chicken thighs for about 15 minutes.
  • Mix the seasoning on a plate and add the mushrooms. Place the chicken pieces on top of the mushrooms.
  • Steam over boiling water for 30 minutes or until cook through.
  • Garnish with spring onions and serve.

Steamed Chicken with Bok Choy and Ham

The hubby often complains that I never try anything new, so I gave this one a go after my MIL said it was his favourite. The original recipe uses kai lan, Chinese ham, and Chinese cooking wine. I didn’t have those, so I used bok choy, black forest ham, and red wine. So this is my east-meets-west version…

Ingredients:

  • Main:
    • 4 pieces of chicken thighs
    • 250 g bok choy
    • 1 slice of black forest ham
  • Marinade:
    • 1 tsp ginger powder
    • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp red wine
    • dash of pepper
    • 2 tbsp water
  • Sauce:
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • dash of sesame oil
    • dash of pepper
    • 100 ml water

Method:

  • Mix the marinade ingredients together and marinate the chicken thighs for 15 minutes.
  • Place the chicken onto a steaming dish. Cut the ham into four quarters and lay a piece on each chicken thigh.
  • Boil water for steaming and steam ham and chicken for 45 minutes (or until cooked through). Remove chicken from the steaming liquid and place on a serving dish.
  • Heat another pot of water. Add oil and salt. Blanch the bok choy and drain well. Arrange the bok choy around the chicken and ham.
  • Add sauce ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and ham. Serve.

Verdict: I got three thumbs up for this so I think it’s a keeper. Even the vegetables were eaten mostly without complaint – that’s got to be a winning sign for sure!

Easy Honey Soy Roast Chicken

This was an experiment recipe that received such an overwhelming response (yes! Three thumbs up from all three boys!) that I had to make a note of it here. The original recipe was from Healthy Chinese Recipes.

What can I say? I love the easy ones that bring rave reviews. I had no idea it was going to be so well received that I didn’t bother to take a picture until it was nearly all gone. This was all that was left for me to capture at the end…

Honey soy chicken

Ingredients:

  • Chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • dash pepper

Method:

  • Line an oven tray with foil (leave an excess at both ends so you can fold them over to cover the chicken).
  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Mix ingredients together and marinate the chicken drumsticks for 30 minutes.
  • Lay the drumsticks onto the tray and drizzle the excess marinade over them.
  • Cover the chicken with the excess foil and place in oven for 40 minutes.
  • Open the foil cover and continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until the juice comes out clear when you stick a knife into the chicken.