Garlic and Ginger Infused Chicken Broth

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Everyone has their own cold remedy. This is mine.

Make the sniffles stop!
I’ve had a savage cold for the last three days. Since The Angry Chef is catching it, too, neither of us was in the mood to destroy the kitchen with a full-blown chicken soup production.

No matter, though.

This is the chicken broth I make whenever I’m feeling really congested. It’s spicy and warming—and is all but guaranteed to make me feel (and breathe) at least a little bit better. The finished broth is a fragrant mix of fresh ginger, garlic, and chili that’s garnished brightly with a handful of fresh green onion.

Best of all? You can make it in your robe and bunny slippers in no time flat. All you need to do is chop a few things up.

Now, this is not made-from-scratch chicken soup. (I’ll post about that sometime soon.) Think of it as more of a de-sniffling potion made from potent, fresh ingredients.

You can drink it on its own, or ladle it over cooked rice or noodles. You could also toss in some shredded, leftover roast chicken or pork for a more substantial meal.

A note on food as medicine
The Angry Chef knows a thing or two about traditional Chinese medicine—which can rely heavily on food-based and herbal remedies—from over 25 years of very serious martial arts study. This broth includes a bunch of simple ingredients that work together to help promote better circulation and remove toxins.

I know one thing: It always helps me kick a cold.

And what about you? Do you have any secret de-snifflers of your own?

A note on ingredients
If I have it, I use homemade chicken broth that I’ve frozen. If I don’t, I use canned stock�errr, I mean boxed. (I know, it’s kind of a crime, but hey, I’m sick.)

In a pinch, I really like Pacific Brand chicken stock. It’s organic and made from free-range chickens, neither of which are super high (or practical) on my priority list at the grocery store. The main thing is that it has a really roasty, true chicken flavor. I’ve yet to find an off-the-shelf broth I like better.

For the chili, garlic, and ginger, this is the mixture we use. The peppers are Thai chilis, which are one step above Cayenne and Tabasco peppers in terms of heat on the Scoville Scale (warning: wear rubber gloves when you chop them to keep the hot capsaicin off your skin). It gives you a really hot and spicy broth.

Definitely adjust the quantities or type of chili pepper if you’re sensitive to hot foods.

Garlic and Ginger Infused Chicken Broth

4 cups chicken stock (if you’re using premade broth, that’s one 32-oz. box)
8 Thai red chili peppers, diced (seeds, ribs, and all)
8 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
2 green onions, sliced into thin rounds
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil in a medium-sized saucepan.

Toss in the chili, garlic, and ginger.

Give it a stir to combine.

Turn the heat off completely. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let it steep for 20 – 30 minutes.

The longer the fresh ingredients steep, the stronger your broth will be. Give it a taste after 20 minutes and season with salt and black pepper if you think it needs it. For a sour note, you could squeeze in a little fresh lime juice.

When it’s strong enough for you, fish out all the solids with a slotted spoon. Discard them.

Bring the broth back up to a simmer quickly to reheat it a little.

Ladle out into a bowl or mug. Garnish with some chopped green onion.

Enjoy! (And feel better soon!)


Copyright 2008 The Hungry Mouse�/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Oy - sorry you have it, too. I've just had some broth from a Chinese wonton place to which I added fresh young ginger from Old Friends Farm (one of our fave hippy farmers at the market.) The ginger is young and tender and sweet and spicy. I ate the slices. Then made inarizushi with, you guessed it, more ginger. This time using Japanese benishoga. Ginger definitely helps the throat stuff. Hope you're better soon! -Jacqueline
  2. As i'm sitting here sneezing, I just wanted to tell you I dreamed about making this soup last night (seriously). My husband laughed at me, because he said I said in my sleep "I only have ground". I think I was referring to the ginger. For the record, I do tend to have cooking dreams. Anyway, hope you feel better soon!
  3. I could use a bowl of that soup right now for my stuffy nose! For now, I am drinking lots of hot tea w/lemon and I'm going to be searching for some soup to buy for lunch since I am at work today.
  4. Aww, thank you all! I'm feeling loads better today (Thursday). Jacqueline--Thanks! There's definitely something nasty going around our fair city... Zena--Thanks, hon! (And you're totally responsible for Giggle Fit No. 1 of the day today!) +Jessie
  5. Thanks! I had an infused broth with udon noodles and chicken, etc., at a Wash. D C lunch deli and always wanted to make the broth at home for my own purposes. This hits the spot!