Friday, October 8, 2010

Vegetarian Tackles the Flu

As a Jewish mother, I know the curative powers of chicken soup, but as a vegetarian, I am unwilling to serve my kids fowl. So I take other measures during cold & flu season.

The first is the annual flu shot, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for kids ages six months and up.

If on of my kids has a sore throat or cold, I have her gargle with salt water, which actually does ease symptoms.

Then there’s using a Neti pot to rinse out your sinuses. I always thought this was rather disgusting, but Water Pik has a new line of SinuSense products to make using a saltwater solution to rinse your sinuses simple. A squeeze bottle and a Neti bottle are both a bit easier to use than a traditional Neti pot, or you can go with the battery operated water pulsator.

Finally, I make spicy vegetarian soup, usually with lots of ginger and chili paste, at the first sign of sniffles. This blasts through your nasal passages and clears you out in no time.

Try this soup, from This Can’t be Tofu! by Deborah Madison

Coconut Red Curry Soup with Butternut Squash and Lime
1 small butternut squash

4 tsp peanut oil

1 cup minced onions

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 slices fresh ginger

Grated zest and juice of 1 large lime

¼ tsp turmeric

1 to 2 tsp Thai red chili paste

4 cups vegetable stock

Sea salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves

2 tbsp basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 can light coconut milk

1 10 oz carton soft tofu
1. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, halve and scoop out the seeds, then dice into ½ cubes.

2. Warm the oil in a wide soup pot. Add the onion, squash, garlic, galangal, lime zest and turmeric. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, then add the chili paste.

3. Add ½ cup water and scrape pot to dilute the paste, then add stock and ½ tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, dice the tofu into small cubes and prepare the cilantro and basil.

4. Add the coconut milk to the soup, followed by the tofu. Simmer until the soup is hot again and the tofu is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary. Add the cilantro and basil, and squeeze in the juice from the lime.
Serves 4-6

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CDC Flu InformationKnow what to do about the flu


  1. Loquat is for cough and lung in Chinese medicine. Sometimes i would take the Ninjiom Pei Pa Koa which is an extract of loquat when got scratchy throat.

    You can access info online @

  2. I had a real challenge getting my kids to try neti, till I found a great neti pot video here
    They now actually enjoy it :)

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