Can chicken soup really cure a cold?

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Chicken, featured, General, Recipes, Soup | 11 comments

Can chicken soup really cure a cold?


…I really hope so because the cold I have is proving difficult to kick.  And as we low FODMAP dieters know there are no shortcuts when it comes to soup.  Try walking into any food store to find a can, packet or tub of soup without onion in it.  I don’t imagine many of us having success, but really, is it such a great loss?  I can’t say I have ever enjoyed canned soup or the sort you mix with water in a cup.

Soup is a great soother.  I do doubt that it can cure a cold but it does seem to help clear the head to face the rest of the day.  I like to make my own stock for soup and other dishes where it is a major ingredient, such as risotto.  And stock is so simple to make.  I used:

  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 1 large carrot, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 chopped celery stick with some leaves
  • 10 or so parsley stalks
  • 1 teaspoon of peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks of thyme

All of these ingredients were simmered in a large pot with enough water to cover, say around 2-2 ½ litres.  I was home for the day so I let it sit on the stove on the lowest temperature for 5 hours.  You could certainly simmer your stock for just 2 or 3 hours, but the longer the better.  Chicken bones can be purchased from a butcher for little cost, or save them from your next roast chicken dinner.  Strain the stock through muslin or cheese cloth and chill overnight, removing any fat that sets on the surface.  Any stock not used straight away can be frozen for later.



I love a Chinese-styled chicken and corn soup, and my soup is loosely based on this.  Instead of such a large amount of corn (remember corn should be limited to ½ cob per serve due to moderate fructan/GOS content) I used just 1 cob along with carrot and celery.  To add some extra cold-healing power a good knob of ginger went in.



As usual this is a dish you could easily take in different directions.  Vary the vegetables, perhaps using potato, spinach or bok choy.  Add other flavourings such as coriander or a few drops of sesame oil.  You could even throw in some pasta or serve it over steamed rice.  The choice is yours.



Gingered Chicken and Vegetable Soup


serves 4

Homemade stock is the star of this soup but in a pinch, look out for Campbell’s Real Stock Paste in a tube (or ask your grocer to stock it!) or check cartons of liquid stock to find one without onion.

2 skinless chicken breasts, approximately 350g
1 large carrot, diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 corn cob
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped, plus extra to serve
1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 egg, beaten (optional)

Cut the corn kernels from the cob by standing the cob on its end and carefully slicing down its length.  Place the kernels and cob (lots of flavour here) in a saucepan with the carrot, celery, ginger, stock and soy sauce.  Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Remove the corn cob and discard.

Meanwhile, dice the chicken breasts into small bite-sized pieces.  When the soup has cooked for 20 minutes add the chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.  Taste the soup for seasoning and add some extra soy sauce if needed.

If using the egg, slowly stir the soup while pouring the egg in a thin stream.

Serve with extra ginger for people to add to their bowl.


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  1. Sounds great- especially as winter is coming! Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Natalie, would it work to put onions and garlic into cheesecloth to get the flavor? I MISS them so much!

    • Hi Cherie,
      Afraid not. The fructans in the onion and garlic would remain in the soup as they are water soluble. I suggest adding some finely sliced green onions (just the green part), or you could start your soup by gently cooking some coarsly chopped onion and garlic in a little oil without browning, removing the onion and garlic after 5 or so minutes, then adding the other vegies and stock.
      Keep at it!

  3. Sounds delicious…I’m always looking for variety on a theme so I plan to make this recipe…just bought some bok choy so I’ll add it as well. Thanks for your chicken soup version Natalie.

    I haven’t had any luck finding canned or boxed stock or broth that doesn’t have onion and/or garlic added. I’ve looked everywhere I shop (here in the US)to no avail…even the health food grocery stores. I prefer the just prepared homemade versions sans preservatives and additives anyway, but I must admit that I miss the convenience of grabbing an already prepared stock off the pantry shelf.

  4. But soy sauce is wheat based? Is Tamari not a better option?

    And with onion cravings you could add pinch of Asafoetida powder which you can get from Indian supermarkets. Or pre-prepared garlic infused oil.

    • Hi Jaimee,
      You are correct in that many soy sauces contain wheat however, it is such a small amount that it is not considered a problem amount for the low FODMMAP diet. If gluten is an issue (in addition to FODMAPs) then tamari would be a better choice, but it still needs to be checked for gluten content; I have seen tamari that still contained gluten.
      Asafoetida powder is an option for those wanting to add more onion/garlic flavour, but also needs to be checked if gluten is a problem.
      Cheers, Nat

  5. What a great recipe !! I’ve just discovered your site after finally getting a diagnosis of what’s been bothering me over the last 6 months. It will be trial and error to find out every trigger, but your site is making me feel so much more confident and less lonely. Thanks so very much!!

  6. Hi Natalie. Thank you ssoooo much for sharing your awesome recipes. This diet is really restricting of allowed foods & your recipes are such a God send.
    Kind regards

  7. I found this recipe the other day and decided to give it a go – delicious and no reaction! Thanks! I love soup and have missed it since I became fodmap intolerant so it’s great to find ways to enjoy my favourite foods again.

  8. Hi I was wondering if the chicken needs to be cooked before it is put in?

    • Hi Jenniifer,
      No, the chicken doesn’t need to be be precooked. Using the breast fillet thinly sliced, the meat will cook in just a few minutes when added to the hot soup.

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