Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Healing Ginger Soup

The estomago is displeased.  
After a whirlwind weekend, my body seems to have caught up with me – and now it’s giving me a firm talking-to by making my stomach feel like Iraq circa 2005. 
I woke up last night with some wicked nausea, and it continued into the morning.  Although it calmed down a bit after I slept in (on a scale of 1 to 10, how lame is it to call your boss the day after a long weekend to tell him you’re coming in an hour late?), my stomach still felt on edge throughout the day.  I’ve been through this drill enough times to know that when an upset stomach strikes, it’s time to deploy the BRAT diet.
The first time I heard the term BRAT diet, I was a) kind of delusional from not feeling well, and b) unaware that BRAT is actually an acronym.  So, in a perfect storm of misunderstanding, my illness-induced lack of a brain-to-mouth filter, and my tendency to be a smartass, I asked my doctor if I was supposed to start chewing on ill-behaved children to calm my GI tract. 
Thankfully she has a sense of humor, so she patiently explained that BRAT stands for bananas (or broth), rice, applesauce, and toast.  It’s a bland, boring diet used to reintroduce foods after a bout of stomach upset – and although it’s bland indeed, it helps.  It also doesn’t have to be all you eat for more than a day or two, so the “Sweet Jesus, this food is ridiculously boring” motif doesn’t last for long.
Although I spent the day sipping ginger-lemon tea, I figured I could use some extra hydration for dinner.  A broth-based ginger soup with rice sounded like it would hit the spot; however, having never made ginger soup before, I wasn’t sure where to start.  Today – unlike yesterday’s experience with the raspberry sauce – I remembered that the forces of Google are with me.  I found the recipe below and decided to adapt it a bit: I knew my stomach would protest mightily against the spinach (sad face! I love spinach under normal circumstances), and I’m not exactly a fan of mushrooms, but I did think carrots sounded appetizing.  I added the rice for a bit of BRAT-friendly bulk, and replaced the chicken stock with a vegetarian chicken-flavored boullion cube and a dash of GF soy sauce.

Healing Ginger and Rice Soup
Inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen Healing Asian Soup with Ginger
1 vegetarian chick’n boullion cube
2 Cups water
3-4 thick slices of fresh ginger root
½ Cup cooked brown rice
8-9 baby carrots
GF Soy sauce to taste
Chives to garnish

**If you’re cooking dried rice, get it cooking before the soup – but if you’re lazy like me and are using pre-cooked, frozen brown rice, it can a) wait until the end, and b) be cooked via microwave.**
Chop the ginger into 3-4 thick slices.
Step 1: cut the edges off all four sides.

Step 2: Using a knife and cutting downwards, slice the skin off each side.
No need to be precise - even if some of the ginger comes off with the skin, it'll be fine.

Step 3: cut lengthwise into quarters.
Place the water, boullion cube, carrots, and ginger in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Once it’s boiling, turn it down a bit and let it simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and pull out the ginger slices using a pair of tongs.  Put the cooked rice in a bowl and cover with the soup.  (I mashed up the carrots with a fork, but I'm willing to bet that this would work well with fully intact carrots too.)  Add a dash of GF soy sauce (just one splash was fine for me, but you can use more or less according to your preferences).  Using clean scissors, cut slices of chives for garnish.
Serve, enjoy, and tell your stomach to pull itself together.
Seriously, stomach: slow your roll!

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