“Healing” Panang Curry SoupPosted: October 16, 2012
A sure-fire way to humble yourself is to announce: “I never (fill-in-the-blank)” publically. (Or worse, “My child will never…..”) And so when I declared, on Facebook that I almost never get sick, I should have known I was in for it.
For some unknown reason, for nearly a week, day after day, I forgot to take my daily regime of immune-boosting supplements (fish oil, odorless garlic, probiotics, super green food powder) and woke up one morning feeling as though I was swallowing razor blades.
I went on the attack with liberal doses of all my regular supplements above plus a couple of more exotic-sounding ones: olive leaf extract and astragalus. By mid-afternoon my throat had calmed considerably and by nightfall it did not hurt at all. (I did, however, get the standard stuffy head, runny nose bit – though, thankfully, without fever and it seems to be running its course fairly quickly.)
My husband was also out of town, so I had no choice but to “practice good self-care,” as my therapist friend Lucille would say. I took guilt-free naps, enjoyed hot eucalyptus-scented bubble baths and made myself quick and easy healing foods and drinks. (You can pre-order Lucille’s excellent book on self-care and get a free list of ways to take care of yourself at
In addition to honey-sweetened white tea (more nutrition-packed than green tea) laced with fresh grated ginger, and sips of Feel Good Blueberry Smoothie, I made two pots of healing soup.
First, I made a classic home-style chicken soup, a super quick and easy recipe I’ll share in coming weeks. The other, is my new favorite “healing soup” – a Thai Panang Curry soup, rich with cancer-fighting and immune boosting antioxidants from the ginger and spices, cruciferous veggies, shitake mushrooms (which contain a compound called lentinan, shown to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight infection and disease) and vitamin & mineral rich kale. Coconut milk, too, has healing properties. It contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
It was Lucille who introduced me to my first good Thai Panang curry , when she bought us both take-out containers of it during a working writer’s lunch. It was love at first bite. It hit all the strong flavor notes I crave: spice from the curry and ginger, slightly sweet and creamy from the coconut milk, a touch of tang from fresh lime, and salty-savory-earthy from the mushrooms, veggies and broth.
It sounds so exotic, but I do not make complicated recipes, especially when I’m fighting a cold, so trust me – this is quick and easy. Feel free to substitute any veggies you have on hand, or enjoy, in this basic recipe.
“Healing” Panang Curry Soup
1 can coconut milk
1 ½ cups veggie broth (or chicken broth)
½ small jar Thai red curry (about 3 T – less if you prefer less spice) (This jar of curry is found in Asian section of most groceries now and is small, about the size of a baby food jar.)
1 t. fresh grated ginger (pinch of dried ginger if you don’t have fresh)
1 t. brown sugar
Soy sauce to taste
1 c. rainbow slaw (or broccoli slaw)
2/3 c. sliced mushrooms (I used shitake)
1 c. loosely packed, torn kale
2 sliced green onions
Slice of lime, cilantro (sprig or chopped) for garnish
Protein of your choice: grilled diced tofu, diced or shredded chicken; or cooked shrimp, 1/2 to 1 cup depending on preference. I use a small amount of chicken as I like the veggies taking center stage in this soup. You could also sprinkle in toasted peanuts for added protein.
Dump all the ingredients except the last three (onions, lime, cilantro) into a pot and simmer until veggies are tender but not mushy, add green onions and choice of protein, stir until everything is hot again. Ladle veggies and broth into each bowl, then garnish with a sprig of cilantro (or chop it up and sprinkle) and slice of lime to squeeze over and stir in right before eating.
Variation: To make a more traditional curry instead of soup, omit broth and serve over jasmine rice. Add slices of cooked sweet potato and pineapple for a creamy pineapple curry. To add heat, use a few drop of siracha sauce or thai chili paste.
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