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Soup for a cold needed -- not chicken soup

I've had chicken twice this past week so I am looking for a non-chicken soup to help me get over my cold. I need a fairly simple soup to prepare as I am not feeling well. My favorite market for Oxtails ran out so I am at a loss. I was craving Korean style oxtail soup.


I'd like something brothy, not necessarily Asian but am open to suggestions. I am not a fan of chinese hot and sour soup.


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  1. Since you can't get hold of oxtails, maybe a giant bowl of steaming pho made with (shh) store-bought broth? You can tweak it with some star anise, appropriate herbs, etc. then it's just beef, noodles, onions, sprouts, and lots and lots of steam. When I am trying to kick a cold, this is often the only thing that makes me feel better - although since I'm a whiny brat when I'm sick, I usually go out for it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wahooty

      <<although since I'm a whiny brat when I'm sick, I usually go out for it.>>

      Yup, me, too. I have never tried to recreate pho and we have an excellent Vietnamese joint in town. But my other kick-a-cold soup/generally feeling crappy go-to is not what the OP ordered: sauteed garlic in OO, chicken broth, lemon or lime juice, then cook pastina in it. I actually had it yesterday for lunch. It tastes so good when you feel so bad! And you can kind of flare it as avoglemono if you beat an egg and temper it in so it's creamy rather than egg-droppy.

    2. Egg drop. No meat in it, but chicken broth, egg, sesame oil and scallions are a nice touch. You can also float shaved mushroom and/or corn kernals in it -- I've seen both at Chinese restaurants.

        1. Daikon and seaweed soup.

          Get some pork bones.
          Chop up some daikon
          Soak some dried seaweed
          Cover the pork bones in water in a large stock pot.
          Parboil the bones (i.e., Bring to a boil, discard the water, reserving the pork bones in the stock pot)
          Add water to the stock pot, enough to cover the pork bones
          Add the daikon and seaweed
          Add ginger, salt and pepper
          Add cooking wine
          Bring to a boil and simmer for approx. 1 hour.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Very similar to the recipe posted by ipsedixit is this one for Korean Mu Gook. I omit the konbu, but add quartered crimini mushrooms and halved baby red potatoes when I add the mu. I also like to add thinly sliced Japanese-style egg crepes and brown rice to the soup just before serving. This delicious hearty soup will keep for a week in the fridge.


            1. re: ipsedixit

              I second this!
              Helps very much indeed

            2. Carrot ginger is nice for a cold.

              4 Replies
              1. re: salsailsa

                Possibly not brothy enough for the OP, but still a great suggestion. My daughter has me hooked on Moroccan Carrot soup, which has some very interesting caraway and cayenne spiciness that might help kick the cold out:

                5 c. clear chicken stock
                1/2 c. diced onion (or more)
                1/2 tsp. caraway seed
                3/4 tsp. cumin seed
                salt and pepper (and cayenne) to taste
                1 Tbsp. minced fresh garlic
                1 Tbsp. strained fresh lemon juice
                1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
                1 lb. peeled carrots, sliced in 1/4 rounds

                Mash spices in a mortar and pestle (or use ground spices)
                Boil all ingredients until tender, about 20 minutes.
                Cool and drain, reserving the liquid.
                Puree the vegetables until completely smooth.
                Add the reserved liquid and chill.
                At serving time, garnish with minced coriander or parsley.

                1. re: BernalKC

                  Ha. I failed to see the "brothy" comment. Definately not brothy.
                  I'll have to give your recipe a try but I'll have to skip the caraway as I despise the stuff.

                  1. re: salsailsa

                    That's ok, if I had more energy I was considering carrot ginger soup. The Moroccan Carrot soup will be perfect in the summer. Thanks

                    1. re: salsailsa

                      The caraway makes it though. If you truly hate the stuff (its frankly more intense than normal when ground up) either skip it altogether or substitute something savory in. Maybe chilli powder, garam masala, or add some cinnamon sticks while it simmers.

                2. I always love some veggie stock with pastina & parm. cheese when I don't feel well.

                  1. A couple come to mind, albondingas and mexican wedding soup, beef and barley, or french vegetable..And when your stomach has stablized, try this
                    Just ease up on the bacon and chilis, it'll fix you right up.

                    1. My go-to soup when I'm ill is Tom Yum or other Hot and Sour soup.

                      but made vegetarian

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: alwayscooking

                        I used a package of Trader Joe's kung-pao noodles, added veggie broth, tofu and frozen stir-fried veggies...add extra sambal olek/hot sauce as desired. Light, easy and clears out the sinuses.

                        1. re: berkleybabe

                          I agree with the hot & sour soup choice.
                          I also like a spicy black bean soup when I have a bad cold.

                          1. re: bigfellow

                            Excellent recommendations, these are soups I'd want too!

                            1. re: bigfellow

                              I definitely wouldn't want hour & sour.

                              But bean soup is great. Black bean is a favorite or even just a good hearty bean soup

                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                Just to clarify, I like all my bean soups creamed, meaning blended with the immersion blender, with or without a cold, just my preference. Lima beans and blackeyed peas, I'll leave alone.

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  Hi there. I'm curious now that you mention this--so you do not add milk or cream, just simply blend the beans to cream them? Or do you have to add a little something dairy to get the consistency going? I made GHG's spicy black bean dip the other day and it called for just a touch of yogurt or sour cream to make it blendable--that and water, if you wish.

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    no I used to use a hand potato masher, then sometimes I'd use the blender. Now I always use the immersion blender, and puree. No cream, oh I will top the bowl with sour cream or creme fraiche, but nothing creamy in the soup pot itself. Truse me you don't need it. Use a good stock, or chicken broth, you will have wonderful results (or a ham bone too!)

                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                      Got it. Thanks! Like I need another kitchen tool (!!!), but I'm really starting to think an immersion blender should come home with us to hang out with the rest of the kitchen toys.

                              2. re: bigfellow

                                I love sushi (wasabi!) for the same reason I love hot & sour when I'm so stuffy I can barely breathe. Have not tried spicy black bean in those circumstances, but I see how the spice would do the trick.

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Agree, big sushi fan, but hot & sour just not a it for me. I either like the comfort of warm creamy which is just soothing or the spicy soup.

                                  wasabi is GREAT stuff

                                  I also make a celery and potato soup that has horseradish sauce in it. Not too much, but definitely has a kick to it.

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    To each her own, of course. But most folks don't want (or really shouldn't go for) milk or creamy soups when they have colds or sore throats. Voice of experience only--I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. :)

                                    I love creamy soups in "real life" when I am not sick. I wish I didn't quite so much, but I do.

                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                      I know, maybe just me but I enjoy creamed soups most. To me it is way more soothing compared to a broth. I usually offer to make soup for friends if they don't feel good and they usually request creamed. Not sure why.

                                      As you said, each his or her own

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        Hot and Sour is good when you have a cold, it clears sinuses and I since usually my taste is off, it comes through.

                            2. I have read that science has found some evidence that there actually IS something in chicken soup that is beneficial in getting over a cold, beyond the hydration, digestability, and steam vapor of soup in general. I think it may have had something to do with enzymes.

                              For sure, peppery soups are helpful, since the capsaicin promotes sinus drainage and break-up of mucus. In contrast, dairy promotes mucus production. My acupuncturist says rice is good for strengthening the respiratory system (for what that's worth; not sure I buy it).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: greygarious

                                Actually, it's been determined that dairy DOESN'T promote mucus production. It just coats the throat to make what you're already producing more noticeable. This doesn't exactly make it more appetizing, but there's no medical reason to avoid it. :)

                              2. My favorite healthy and quick. In a pot of chicken stock or broth 5 cups boil 1medium onion peeled and cut in quarters, 1 bay leaf, 2 small to medium carrots, peeled and cut in 2" pieces and 2-3 large potatoes peeled and cut in large cubes. You can use a few reds too. Whatever you have on hand. Add all, bring to a boil and then cook on medium until soft. Use an immersion blender or just a blender to puree. Put it back in the pot and add some milk, half and half or heavy cream, anything you have. Season with some salt and pepper and some fresh parsley. A little bacon diced or pancetta also makes a good topping. You can also add a few red pepper flakes toward the end if you want a little more spice.

                                It is so easy, soothing and comforting, warm and creamy, yet still healthy. You can use vegetable stock or broth if you want as well.

                                It isn't oxtails, but it is pretty tasty.

                                  1. Thanks to all who responded. I went to the store with a list to make Tom Ka, but found the oxtail supply replenished. I'll probably make Tom Ka next weekend, I have some friends coming over for lunch.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                      Mmm, oxtails. My mom used to make braised oxtails when I was little, with red wine, rosemary, garlic and who knows what else. I have never had them any other way, and have not been exposed to very much Korean food. I know the flavors would appeal to me, though -- garlic, hot peppers, and pickled vegetables are all up my alley. Just haven't tackled that cuisine yet! I'd love it if you posted your Korean oxtail soup recipe, I'd like to try it.

                                    2. Glad to hear you found your oxtails. Enjoy.

                                      Next time you're at the market, though, consider picking up a jar of Tom Yam paste. It keeps in the fridge forever, and makes a nearly effortless clear, spicy, herbal soup that's just the thing to clear out the sinuses.

                                      1. I'm sorry you're not well.

                                        If you're really hard up, don't feel like cooking/eating, plain old broth alone could be just fine. Likewise, miso soup - even the instant is good in a pinch.

                                        1. Martha Stewart has a great tofu-kimchi soup that I love when I'm sick. I love it with or without the chicken thighs.


                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sagestrat

                                            Yes, yes, yes... Kimchi soup. It always clears a stuffed-up nose!!!

                                          2. I haven't seen Mulligatawny Soup mentioned here and it can be very good indeed. It is infinitely variable in ingredients and intensity of 'heat'.