• Crunch by Nuffnang

Simple Recipes for When You're Feeling Under The Weather

by Lee Xin Hui, Rachel. |


Cooking, to me, is an act of love. You pack lunches for your children so that they get their daily dose of nutrition from home-cooked food made with love, you whip up meals to make sure everyone goes home with a happy tummy during family reunions, and occasionally you bake cupcakes for your friends to cheer them up.


It is, of course, an act of love for yourself too! You’re making sure you don’t starve, and you’re taking care of your body by being conscious of what you feed yourself with. Yet sometimes, it’s hard to take care yourself when things are looking grim and you’re just not in the mood to do anything.


You’re already feeling down in the dumpsters, so being hungry is just going to make you feel worse; so allow me to share with you some of my favorite comfort food whenever I’m feeling under the weather.


Soups

Of course you’ll need something comforting and savory to warm your insides and make you full, and soups are the way to go! It’s also the easiest because all you have to do is to dump your ingredients into a pot of water, boil it, and you’re done! Here’s a simple recipe for every Chinese household’s signature soup: ABC soup (apparently named as such because it’s rich in Vitamins A, B, and C; but also because it’s easy as ABC.)


Ingredients (Serves 2-3):

  • 3 large white onions

  • 2 tomatoes

  • 3 carrots 

  • 3 potatoes

  • 2 litres water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Wash your vegetables and dice them into your desired bite-size pieces.

  2. Put them into a pot, add water, and place it on high heat.

  3. Let the soup boil for about 30 minutes (the longer you boil, the more flavorful the soup will be), then bring it down to a simmer for another 15 minutes.

  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Ladle your soup into your bowl and serve warm.


Feel free to replace water with chicken or vegetable stock if you have any, and adjust your seasonings accordingly! If you want to make this a meal, simply enjoy them with rice or add rice noodles (just boil them in a separate pot until cooked) into the soup to make it more filling.



Pasta

Frankly, pasta sounds very much like fancy food; but hear me out, this Asian-style pasta is my favorite go-tos whenever I’m famished and in need of something quick and yummy.


Ingredients (Serves 1-2):

  • 250g Minced meat

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp Oyster sauce

  • Pepper to taste

  • 2 tbsps Cooking oil 

  • 70g (or 2 handfuls) Pasta of choice

Steps:

  1. Boil your pasta until al dente.

  2. While your pasta is cooking, mix your minced meat with soy sauce, oyster sauce, and pepper.

  3. Heat up the oil in a wok, add in the meat, and stir fry until fragrant and fully cooked.

  4. Fish out the cooked pasta into a bowl, add the meat, mix well and serve.


Et voila! A delicious meal whipped up in less than 15 minutes from prepping to cooking; you get that taste of home from the stir-fry, and you get the nice chewy texture from the pasta. Don’t worry about it tasting bland, the meat juices make for a perfect sauce. I prefer short pastas such as macaroni or fusilli because they’re easier to eat with a spoon, and also because I like to have both meat and pasta in one mouthful. You can also add in more seasonings and ingredients (like tofu or vegetables) if you like, but I want to keep things minimal.



Apple Crumble

Now we’re getting to the sweeter segment. For the days when you just need sugar to counter that bitterness you’re feeling, here’s a warm dessert that is not banana bread for you to try.


Ingredients (Serves 1-2):

[Filling]

  • 2 Red apples

  • Pinch of cinnamon powder

[Crumble]

  • 20g Rolled oats

  • 40g Plain flour

  • 1 tbsp Castor sugar

  • Pinch of cinnamon powder

  • 45g Butter

Steps:

  1. Thinly slice the apples, and mix them together with a pinch of cinnamon powder in a bowl.

  2. Using a mixer or your (thoroughly washed) hands, mix the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon powder, and butter until homogenous.

  3. Transfer the apples to a loaf pan, making sure they cover the bottom.

  4. Spoon the crumble mixture onto the filling and spread them evenly.

  5. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes or until the crumble turns golden brown.

  6. Serve warm.


I love making this because it’s one of the easiest dessert recipes I’ve tried and the ingredients are mostly every household’s pantry essentials. Most online recipes call for Granny Smith apples and additional sugar for the filling, but I usually just opt for red apples so that I can omit the processed sugar (gotta incorporate healthy habits whenever I can y'know). If you’d like to switch things up a lil, you can replace the apples with frozen berries, omit the cinnamon on both the filling and crust, and you’ll have yourself a berry crumble! Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream if you need extra cheering up. 



Cookies

Another sweet treat for my fellow dessert fanatics out there; these earl-grey cookies are for the mornings when you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or the gloomy evenings when you just feel drained although you haven’t done much. Sometimes simply making something for yourself to munch on can help elevate your mood and kick in some energy! I was inspired by Peaceful Cuisine to make this, but here’s a simpler version (in terms of ingredients) of his recipe.


Ingredients (Makes 12 cookies):

  • 1 tbsp Loose leaf earl-grey tea OR 5 earl-grey tea bags

  • 100g Plain flour

  • 20g Tapioca starch / cornstarch

  • 25g Sugar

  • 20g Milk of choice

  • 45g Vegetable oil

  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract 

  • ½ tsp Baking powder

Steps:

  1. If you’re using tea bags, empty the contents into a blender and pulse them until fine.

  2. Mix all ingredients until well combined.

  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12cm long cylinder.

  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes.

  5. Unwrap the chilled dough, and cut them into 1cm thick discs.

  6. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes, serve warm.


This takes up a little more time compared to the previous recipes, but I think it’s perfect for those who not only find joy in eating, but also find the process of making food therapeutic. I baked them on a whim one morning and they made for a fantastic breakfast paired with a cup of tea or coffee.



The best part about cooking is that you’re completely in charge; so use the recipes as a guide, but have fun with it while you do! You can add peppercorns into your soup if you like the extra hot kick, you can substitute meat with mushrooms for the pasta if you’re a vegetarian, you can experiment with different types of fruit if you’re bored of plain ol’ apple crumble (McDonald’s already has apple pie anyway, right?), and you can even swap your earl-grey tea leaves with matcha or coffee powder if you’re looking for more robust flavors.


Whether you’re looking for something warm and comforting to soothe your insides, or something sweet to trigger your happy hormones (dopamine, serotonin, etc); pick a recipe above, and get cookin’!


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