A Rainy Day Ginger Beef Soup

Herb pot with herbal decoctionYesterday was really April Showers here in New York City.  I was soaked to the bone when I got home from my office.  But, I was really excited to see that my wife had made ginger beef noodle soup for dinner, just the right thing to warm me up and fend off any colds from the storm.

Food is the best medicine

You’ve probably had this experience too.  Coming home in a chilly rain storm, you can feel the cold coming on.  It starts with an ache in your neck, the sniffles, and a slight fever and chills.  This delicious soup is a great remedy for an early stage cold.  And it is a snap to make.

Chinese medicine assigns properties to herbs and foods which describe their medicinal fresh-gingerabilities. The key ingredient in the soup is fresh ginger, called sheng jiang in Chinese, which is warm and aromatic.  These properties give it the power to “dry dampness” and makes it perfect for fighting off an early colds and achy necks.

In addition, the beef is warming and tonifies the qi and blood.  Carrots are sometimes referred to as “baby ginseng” because they can tonify qi. The onions and basil are aromatic, and the noodles also tonify the qi.

Ginger Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients:
2-3 slices of fresh ginger, peeled
Beef soup bones- We used left over ribs from the week before, marrow bones also work
1 small onion, chopped
2 yellow carrots
4 leaves of basil
bean sprouts (optional)
5 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1/4 pound whole wheat spaghetti (about 1/8 per person).  Rice noodles or buckwheat can be substituted.

Put the water in a soup pot and bring it to a boil.  Add the ginger, onions, soup bones, carrots and salt.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  In a separate pot, boil salted water for cooking the noodles.

Place the soup, with the vegetables, in bowls and combine with noodles.  Garnish with basil and sprouts, add pepper to taste.  Warm up and enjoy!

Makes 3-4 servings.

Photos: Andreakw

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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