When you’re Asian and sick there are just some comfort foods that your mother will swear by. And even though it might not actually work, you sure as hell will grow up believing it does. As we all know, nothing beats mum’s home cooking, no matter how hard we try to replicate it ourselves. But maybe you can try your best with these 5 recipes and make them in your own kitchen when mum isn’t available.
When I was young and pretended to be dying of the flu, I’d live off this. Congee, or conjee, or juk in Cantonese, is a staple rice porridge dish in many different parts of Asia. Historically a peasant dish when there wasn’t anything else to eat but rice, it has since grown in popularity and has become a common breakfast choice.
As far as comfort foods go, porridge is not a bad choice! It’s light in flavour, filling and warming and full of ginger and garlic to help you mend. Congee also pairs greatly with century egg, so make sure you add one of those to your bowl.
Thanks mum. Now I crave this stuff whenever I’m ill. A great basic recipe for this can be found on The Spruce Eats- check it out by clicking on the picture below.
2. Bak Kut Teh
What could be better for you when you’re sick than a steaming bowl of heart-warming stew. Forget congee, this was my childhood comfort food. Bak kut Teh, or pork bone tea is a classic Malaysian soup in which pork ribs are slow cooked in an herby broth with shitake mushrooms sometimes tofu. Often served with rice, this has become a very popular dish inside and outside Malaysia.
It’s garlicy, herby and very fragrant. That being said, the soup is relatively thin and not too overpowering when paired with rice or youtiao (Chinese fried breadstick). When cooked right, the pork should fall right off the bone with little to no trouble.
A great recipe for this can be found on RasaMalaysia, where you can find many other delicious Malaysian recipes!
3. Udon Miso Soup
The kind of comfort food you need when you’re sick is something steamy, light and easy to make. Udon noodle soup ticks all those boxes. Udon is a satisfying and versatile dish that can be served so many different ways. For this recipe, miso is used in the broth for a distinct yet not overpowering flavour; the perfect flavour balance for all those sick sensitive stomachs and blocked noses!
Check out Jaden’s recipe on Steamy Kitchen to make your own mouth-watering bowl.
4. Tom Yam
This bowl of comfort food will clear your sinuses right up. Tom yam is fishy, prawny and very spicy. With a bunch of herbs and chillies to get you feeling more alive on your worst days. It might not seem pleasant to eat spicy food when you’re sick, but it could be exactly what you need to unclog and feel some heat.
Try out Bee’s incredibly authentic recipe on Rasa Malaysia!
5. Mango Sago And Coconut Milk
Maybe when your sick, salty and spicy soups aren’t your thing. Maybe what you really crave are some sweet comfort foods. I’m with you there. When you feel yourself coming down with something, it’s definitely time to treat yourself to a comforting dessert.
Sago, much like tapioca is a type of starch that is extracted from the roots of various tropical palm plants. Lovely in drinks, it also works incredibly well in a sweet coconut-based soup with a fruity partner like mango. This dessert is light, creamy and sugary to give your sick self a little more energy. With mild flavours like mango and coconut, it should very easy for a sensitive stomach to digest.
Try out Christie’s delicious (and vegan) recipe for this coconut comfort food.