I have been making this soup a lot these days. It is spicy, warming, and healing....just perfect to help kick this cold I've had. First I make a simple broth using bone-in chicken breasts, a bunch of chopped fresh ginger, a whole head of garlic, fresh lemongrass, and a few cups of chopped shiitake mushrooms. Once this has simmered for a few hours, I strain it and add fresh vegetables, the cooked chicken, and some Thai rice noodles into the pot. We top each bowl with chopped napa cabbage, basil, and cilantro. And for the grown-ups only, sliced fresh Thai chiles!
Shiitake mushrooms provide polysaccharides that stimulate white blood cell function allowing them to be more efficient at combatting bacteria and viruses. Ginger is healing on many fronts. It is anti-microbial, anti-viral, and a natural antibiotic, killing bacteria and viruses both internally and externally. It can help soothe a sore throat, eliminate congestion, and help combat fevers and chills.
The soup itself is not too spicy and perfect for young children to eat. All of our children love this soup and have fun adding all of the toppings, except for the chiles. The broth is very nourishing and will have you feeling good almost immediately. I've been making double batches lately so I can have leftovers. Hot, clear foods are very beneficial for colds and upper respiratory infections. Try hot tea with ginger and lemon, warm quinoa porridge, or my Healing Quinoa Cabbage Soup. Cold foods can increase congestion so it is best to avoid them until you are feeling better.