I learnt about about the history of the restaurant in my cultural studies class in first year University. My Professor, Trevor Ponech, lectured on the significance of the simple broth.
The practice of cooking meats and vegetables in pots has existed ever since people started cooking. In fact, it might have been one of the first dishes that humans ever cooked.
Our modern word, restaurant, actually originates from the restoratifs (restoratives in English), healing broths that were served in 18th century Paris. This is where we first saw pot-au-feu, boullion and consommé.
The restorative quality in soups and broths remains today. We make chicken soup when we are sick because of its perceived healing qualities. Chicken stock absorbs nutrients from the bones and carcass of the bird. We add a mirepoix of onions, celery and carrots and the stock absorbs these nutrients too.
When our bodies are weak, we consume soups and broths because they are gentle on our stomachs and give our digestive systems a break.
I think it's worth eating some healing broth when you are healthy as well as ill. It lets your poor intestines rest and helps to clear out any nasty bits that have been hanging around.
This recipe is highly flexible. Select the ingredients that appeal to you; omit those that do not. Enjoy this light and cleansing broth any time you're looking for a lighter meal option.
Healing Broth Recipe
2 cups of chicken stock, homemade or store-bought (or veggie if you prefer)
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 thumb-sized piece of frozen ginger, grated
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of crushed red chili peppers (add more to your preference)
1/2 pkg of soba noodles
Warm stock to a boil in a 3-quart pot. Reduce to a gentle simmer and grate in garlic and ginger. Add fish sauce, lime and chilis then soba noodles. Cook for 5 minutes.
1/2 cup of firm tofu
1/2 cup cooked chicken
Toss in tofu and/ or chicken, if using. Cook for 2 minutes.
handful of spinach or collards
1/4 cup of baby bok choy, chopped
1/4 cup of broccili, chopped
1/4 cup of frozen peas
Toss in veggies. Cook for only long enough to warm them through, 1 minute or so.
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh italian parseley, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
drizzle of sesame oil
Throw in herbs and drizzle sesame oil. Divide into bowls and serve immediately.