Good Things Vol. 4: Back-Home Broth

A coconut sipping broth recipe for happy returns

Hello readers! It’s been a while because I’ve been on an actual vacation with my laptop closed and it was lovely. I got back yesterday after extensive travel delays, and now I’m sick, which means I’m too tired to write about anything substantive and it’s a good time to make some sipping broth.

This coconut sipping broth recipe is my best approximation of the one at Teaism in DC, which is delicious. I make it just about every time I return from a long trip — typically my stomach is upset and my resistance to illness feels low, and this broth feelings soothing and healing (it also feels like a return to something healthy after two weeks of wine-ing and cheese-ing myself). It has some vitamin C from the jalapeño, digestive relief from the ginger, and lots of healthy fats from the coconut milk. I keep most of what I need in my pantry, and just have to run out for the lime, cilantro and jalapeño.

Here’s what you need:

Chicken stock, approx. 7 cups (although I think I accidentally grabbed frozen beef bone broth from my freezer instead of stock this time; whatever, it was fine).

A jalapeño pepper (red birdseye chilis are good too)

Cilantro

Ginger

Fish sauce

Coconut milk

A lime

Other options: I’ll bet this would be really good with some white miso, but I haven’t tried it. Lemongrass and kaffir lime also make it spectacular. I’ll also bet it would be great with some fresh mint added at the end, or with galangal instead of ginger. You could also make this a soup and toss in some shredded chicken and / or tofu and / or rice noodles and / or rice and / or mushrooms and / or onions + garlic and / or curry paste. Chili oil is probably also pretty great on top. All of which is to say: This is an outline. Fill it in as you please.

To make the broth:

Heat up your chicken stock. I always have a freezer full of homemade, but of course you can use store-bought too.

While it’s heating, add in sliced jalapeño (I use a whole one, but use less if you’re not into spice)

Grate in some ginger. I use about an inch, but use more or less depending on how much you like ginger. Using ginger in a jar? Use a heaping teaspoon.

Toss in a few whole cilantro sprigs. Hate cilantro? I’ll bet mint would be pretty good in this too.

Put in a few shakes of fish sauce. Start slow — I love the stuff, but it’s a strong flavor, and you can always add more later.

Bring it all to a simmer and taste it. It almost definitely needs salt, so add that — you want a broth where you can taste the flavors (which is what salt does) but that doesn’t taste salty. Does it still need… something? Try a teeny bit more fish sauce.

Let it simmer very gently for five minutes or so. Then add in a whole can of coconut milk.

Stir to combine.

Bring that to a gentle simmer and let bubbles rise to the surface for a few minutes (like… two or three minutes), then turn off the heat. Taste it. It almost definitely needs citrus so squeeze in a whole lime. Taste it again. Maybe you add another lime, or more salt, or more fish sauce, or more ginger. Or maybe it’s good!

Once it’s good, pour yourself a mug . Try not to get a whole sprig of cilantro in there — you can remove the cilantro and jalapeños at this point, but I like to leave them in the pot to soak out a little more flavor while the whole thing cools.

Feeling fancy? Add in one or two fresh jalapeño slices and a few cilantro leaves to your cup (I was not feeling fancy).

Leave the rest of the broth to cool on the stovetop. It will get tastier the longer it has to combine, so let it cool down all the way before you refrigerate it.

And that is it, my friends. Now it’s time to unpack my massive French pharmacy haul, do laundry, and sleep for the next 48 hours. I’ll be back next week with the serious and substantive. Enjoy the broth! (And if you added something really amazing to it, lemme know).

xx Jill

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