When you are sick, you want the most familiar foods. Once, while ill, I asked a friend to bring me some soup, but I wasn’t specific on what kind I wanted. As I’ve learned from living in America for the past twenty years, when you’re sick, Chicken noodle is the American go-to soup. Every friend to the sick knows this. So what did she bring? She brought me a spicy Korean cup of noodles. While I’m sure somewhere in a hospital in Seoul, they’re serving these up by the cart-full–in America, not so much. I’m guessing she just assumed I would want something Asian, but as they say, never assume!
What does your ‘sick food’ say about yourself? My husband usually asks for toast, a bagel, or simply chicken noodle soup when he’s under the weather. Makes sense as he has typical American tastes with a Jewish twist. When I’m not feeling well, I want what my mom used to give me when I was sick, with one exception. Which one of the following would you guess was a craving I developed after a few years in the U.S.? udon noodles, chawan-mushi (savory egg custard) or strawberry flavor Hagen Daz. You guessed it. See, my ‘sick food’ tells a story too. I was born and raised in Japan, but got to experience the best America had to offer-a delicious ice cream with a fake Danish name.
Udon and chawan-mushi are not that easy to make (especially for my Asian flavor intolerable husband), so unless I have an instant udon noodle in the pantry (I recommend this brand), I too, will have to resort to chicken noodle soup when I get sick. After all, my father-in-law always refers to it as Jewish penicillin. I’m not sure if this claim is true, but it still is delicious.
My recipe is quite simple.
Ingredients (about 4 servings):
1 Skinless chicken breast
5 celery stalks chopped
2 med sized carrots chopped
1 onion diced
egg noodles (as much/little as you want)
dried bayleaf, black peppercorn, chicken stock (I’m in love with this one)
salt and pepper to taste
optional: parsley or dill (dry or fresh)
1) poach chicken breast in chicken stock (room temp or below), bayleaf, black peppercorn, then start the heat. once boiled, simmer for 5 min, turn off and keep chicken in the pot
2) once chicken is cool down, drain the soup, and discard bayleaf and peppercorn, but keep the soup. cut or shred chicken by hands to bite size
3) in a soup pan, sweat onion, carrot, celery, then add chicken stock (5 cups or more, including one used for poaching)
4) when vegetable are almost cooked, add dry egg noodles and chicken
5) salt and pepper to taste, add minced herbs, if you’d like to
I like less soup; because it’s more like meal than soup. It’s also easier to freeze this way.