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Sniffles and Truffles?
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nima



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think there must be a cross-cultural instinct for hot, spicy soups when you are under the weather. Personally, my thoughts turn to strong peppery rasam when I'm suffering from a cold.

There are many varieties, but it's generally a tamarind and tomato-based soup, flavoured with black pepper, cumin and mustard seeds. The tomatoes and tamarind give it tang, but also a hint of sweetness to offset the spice. Kind of like Tom Yum. You can even add a bit of unrefined sugar to kick up the sweetness, but even then, it tends to pack quite a spicy punch. It's generally eaten with rice but can be drunk alone too. I have a big batch in the fridge that I'm slowly making my way through right now.
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Rachel



Joined: 22 Oct 2006
Posts: 296
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2006 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree about there being a cross-cultural instinct for spicy soup as medicine (I know I crave tom yum when I've got a bad head cold) but I think the one for bland, soothing soup is just as strong. I've not been able to avail myself of Jewish penicillin for years now (I turned veggie at the age of 12) but as I still eat fish I've moved onto 'Japanese penicillin', i.e. miso shiru!

As to medicating with alcohol... my boyfriend swears by whisky (just a small amount, mind you!) for flu and colds. Last time I had a bad cold the only whisky-like thing in my house was Bailey's, and it did actually make me feel a bit better... but you should have seen the look on his face when I told him the next day! Laughing (Men and Bailey's - apparently never the twain shall meet!)
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I adore a nice, steaming mug of Miso as well- Trader Joes used to have instant miso packets I tucked into my lunch bag at the hospital, for those ice cold nights on call when the OR is kept at meat-locker temperature. I miss it...I also used to get corn tea, believe it or not, from a Korean place in downtown Portland- smelled like summer sweet corn, clear as flaxen afternoon sun, tasting light and slightly nutty. A supersized cup of that, and it was like a corn chowder without the calories!

Rasam- something I have never heard of, but it sounds like I desperately need to head off that direction! I am intrigued by Tamarind, seen it in many forms (dried, paste, etc.), but never had the opportunity to sample it. Nima, if you care to share , can you shoot me a recipe of the batch in your fridge? Would love to try it, as I am not improving, and its too early to open up that brand new bottle of Sandeman Armada Sherry.

I AM OFFICIALLY EMBRACING ALL THERAPY RECOMMENDATIONS AT THIS JUNCTURE, AS IT IS DAY 96 OF THE FLU AND I AM MAKING ZERO PROGRESS.
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pistache



Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Cannes, France

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hot and sour soup for me. If I am feeling too miserable to cook I buy a tinned one from the chinese supermarket which hits the spot just fine !

And I like stewed apple with honey and spices if I feel like something sweet. It has to be very hot !
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MarieStrawberry



Joined: 14 Feb 2006
Posts: 24
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ooh - they all sound good 0 tho somehow when im sick i like plain food - so as not to upset my tummy - and seeing as i cannot taste much, it goes down well too...
Miso soup is a staple at our house- eat it all the time, so dont crave it

sick foods:
KOrean abalone rice porridge - simple but deeply satisfying!
KOrean chicken soup - spatchcock stuffed with rice, jubejubes, garlic, sweet chestnuts and cooked until tender in a ginseng broth - medicinal and warming... just perfect!
Or an eggy chicken broth rice porridge with smashed up kim, sesame oil and soy sauce Razz
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nima



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jen,

There are many different kinds rasam. You can consider it a distant cousin of Rainey's gorgeously seasoned mulligatawny soup, which appeared in the lentil soup thread.

For a fairly basic recipe, follow this thread:

http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2005/06/22/tomato-rasam-tomato-soup/

Though, if I were to make, I'd make a few modifications to this author's recipe. Most often, you find dried blocks of fruity tamarind pulp in the market. Avoid the tamarind paste--it tends to have less flavour, and is so dark, it overwhelms all the other ingredients, turning your dish black. From a dried block, break off a walnut-sized piece and soak it in half a cup of hot water to reconstitute. Then push it through a sieve to remove any seeds or fibers. You can find block of tamarind in South Asian groceries, Mexican groceries, Southeast Asian groceries, etc. To the reconstituted tamarind pulp, I would add about 3 cups of water, and about 3 small tomatoes, chopped, and a green chili or two, slit.

Then grind together a half a spoon of peppercorns, half a spoon of whole cumin and a spoon of coriander seeds (I have a coffee grinder set aside for this--I just don't have the patience for a mortar and pestle).

Set the tamarind mixture on the stove and allow it to come to a boil. Add the powdered spices, a spoon of jaggery (or brown sugar), and salt to taste (keeping in mind that this is a savoury dish not a sweet one). Then simmer for a 10 minutes.

In a separate small frying heat a small amount of oil (the author of the thread above suggests just a drop, I don't mind a smidge more because the oil acts as a conduit for the spices). Add a half a spoon each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds, and a few curry leaves. If you can't find curry leaves in your area, leave them out, but they really are unbelievably fragrant. If you ever see them in your Asian grocery store, don't pass them by. You can store them in your freezer until you are ready to use them. To this mixture I would add a clove of garlic, cut into 2-3 pieces. Heat this mixture until the mustard seeds start to pop. Raw mustard seeds are very sharp and pungent, but when they are "popped" they become mild and nutty. Just stand back while doing this, since you don't want to get hit by popping mustard seeds.

Add the contents of the small frying pan to the tamarind soup, and allow to simmer for a few more minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. As I mentioned, you can either serve this with soup with steamed rice, or drink it separately.

And if you can't find tamarind, you can even substitute diluted lemon juice, to help replicate the tang. Simmer it with chilies, salt, tomatoes, ginger, a spoon each of ground cumin and ground pepper, a pinch of turmeric, and a pinch of brown sugar for balance. Add the "poppu" (the spices browned in a bit of oil--garlic, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves). Simmer for a few more minutes and garnish with coriander leaves.

Jen, I hope you get better soon. Wish I could airmail you some rasam Smile.
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nima



Joined: 28 Nov 2005
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I think the recourse to alcohol must be cross-cultural too Smile .

My fathers swears that brandy, with honey and grated ginger, sipped and savoured slowly is a great cure for a cold.
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Mariesoleil



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 25
Location: Quebec City

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I get a cold I usually medicate myself with tons of orange juice and then I make homemade bruschetta with tons of garlic. It makes you stink but it works lol. As for the coughing black chocolate should do it. When you keep coughing and coughing the doc will give you Codeine. Studies have proved that black chocolate is more effective than codeine in reducing cough.

From Wikipedia:

Coughing
Research indicates that chocolate may be effective at preventing persistent coughing. The ingredient theobromine was found to be almost ⅓ more effective than codeine, the leading cough medicine.[16] The chocolate also appears to soothe and moisten the throat.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate#Coughing
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Judy



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 1196
Location: buried under a pile of books somewhere in Adelaide, South Australia

PostPosted: Sun Dec 03, 2006 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chocolate would have fewer side-effects than codeine too.

I vote for chocolate!
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aguynamedrobert



Joined: 26 Oct 2006
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow you keep hearing more and more good things about chocolate...do you have that research on hand for us to look at? and how much theobromine do you need for it to have an effect? and what is that percentage in chocolate?

-Robert
www.chocolateguild.com
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Things on my nite table:

Inhaler (for coughs)
Codeine (for coughs)
Dextromethorphen (for coughs)
Luden's Wild Cherry (for effect)
Roll of T.P. (For conveniece after the tissues ran out)
Lip gloss (For vanity)
Thermometer (for looks)
Z-Pack of Azithromycin (for sneaky suspicions this is bacteria from Arkansas)
One bar of Trader Joes 71% swiss dark chocolate, fair trade. (for comfort, and now, thanks to everyone's advice, great for coughs, too!)

I would be very thrilled to bag the pharmaceuticals and stick with chocolate, being on a one-year long project to seek out the best bean and bar for our household. The best combination, by far, must be the Moonstruck Variado bar, with three kinds of chiles, fine dark chocolate, a great percentage and a sexy little afterheat that sneaks up on you like a ray of spice covered sunshine.

Now, if only they could come up with a nice, spicy chocolate martini, although today's NY Times fashion pages does have a nice Dominicana recipe, but it lacks kick.

Next time I get home to Portland, its off to the Uwajimaya store for tamarind, spice seeds and curry/lime leaves. I failed to do that last visit, I spent too much time at the farmers market. Drat!

[url]http://www.moonstruck.com
[/url]
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How nice to know! I am allergic to codiene so, I am out of luck when I have a bad cough. Chocolate rocks.

Jen,
Those Montana winters can be so harsh! Keep warm and feel better soon! Oh, and it's always nice to have another fellow Northwesterner around.
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Mariesoleil



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 25
Location: Quebec City

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aguynamedrobert wrote:
Wow you keep hearing more and more good things about chocolate...do you have that research on hand for us to look at? and how much theobromine do you need for it to have an effect? and what is that percentage in chocolate?

-Robert
www.chocolateguild.com


A lot of info is out there on the internet. Here are a few links:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4032585.stm

http://www.imperial.ac.uk/P5770.htm

http://www1.imperial.ac.uk/medicine/news/p42211/


Quote:
A cough is a healthy, protective reflex – part of the body’s way of protecting and healing itself. But sometimes coughs can interfere with other important paths to health, such as sleep. Sometimes kids cough more or longer than useful for them, and parents turn to cough medicines to seek relief. In the United States alone, more than $2 billion dollars are spent each year on over-the-counter cough remedies. The evidence that the benefits of these outweigh the side effects is inconclusive. When stronger relief is desired, parents often turn to prescription cough medicines containing codeine or a similar compound. Wouldn’t it be interesting if dark chocolate were even more powerful? Researchers at the National Heart and Lung Institute in London gave a series of disguised capsules to healthy volunteers. One week the capsules contained 60 mg of codeine, one week they contained 1000 mg of theobromine, an ingredient in chocolate, and one week they contained an inert placebo. The volunteers then inhaled increasing amount of capsaicin, an ingredient in red peppers used to stimulate coughing in research subjects. The codeine was effective at preventing coughs, but the cocoa ingredient was 33 percent more effective, preventing cough effectively for 4 hours, and had no side effects. The same results were seen in coughing guinea pigs, and when looking directly at the guinea pig and human vagus nerve, a nerve that triggers coughing.

How much chocolate would this be? Chocolate preparations vary widely, depending on their cocoa content, but dark chocolate often has up to about 450 mg of theobromine per ounce. Milk chocolate has far, far less. Two ounces of dark chocolate was about the amount of theobromine used for the adults in the study. Half that may be plenty for kids (but of course there is still a lot to learn about this marvelous food). Will that much chocolate keep them awake? Even though theobromine is structurally related to caffeine, studies have shown it doesn’t interfere with sleep at those amounts.
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Knifethrower



Joined: 29 Oct 2006
Posts: 218
Location: Heaven, actually.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No side effects??

How about warm fuzzies, inner happiness, soothed hormonal urges and such?

I VOTE CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!
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Griffin



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 932
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2006 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course chocolate is good for you. It's one of the major food groups. ...Well it's one of MY major food groups...hmm, this may explain why friends call me a chocolate junkie!

I VOTE CHOCOLATE! ... or, wot Jen said!
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