One might assume, rightfully so, that if I had a cold I might hit the Jewish deli for some good old-fashioned golden penicillin. I live on the Upper West Side, after all, and come from people who believe this shimmering homemade concoction will cure everything from swine flu to a breakup (apparently he wasn’t right for me anyway, bubbala). In fact, my cure-all is soon dubu chigae, Korean soft tofu soup that is pungent, spicy and soothing all at once. And I do have a cold. So soon dubu it is.
From the moment the first spoonful hit my mouth about ten years ago, I knew soon dubu was no ordinary soup. Chicken soup may have its foothold in the “natural cure” realm, but with its limited (albeit tasty) resources of chicken, salt and vegetables compared to soon dubu’s arsenal of disease-fighting warriors, there’s only so much it can claim to do.
Soon dubu starts with a broth of:
- Anchovies: omega fatty acids, calcium, Vitamins D and E
- Kelp: minerals
- Onions and garlic: antibacterial/anti-inflammatory
- Ginger: anti-inflammatory, tummy and throat soother
- Red chilis: pain relief
Next, healthy vegetables like carrots, scallions and mushrooms go in, followed by kimchi (superfood, reverses symptoms of bird flu in avian test subjects) and large chunks of silken tofu which are nutritious and easy to swallow in case of sore throats. Ditto the raw egg cracked on top of the whole deal, which poached slightly in the soup served bubbling hot in a cast-iron bowl. Bonuses: this bowl ensures that your soup stays hot, and if even if you think you can’t smell or taste, the combination of anchovies and kimchi will prevail. Are you sold yet?
And maybe it’s the Dayquil talking, but whichever hens are eating kimchi experimentally sound like they’d make some pretty killer Korean fried chicken. Oh right, bird flu.