A warm bowl of chicken soup is thought to cure whatever ails you, in body and spirit. Add fresh ginger root and a kombu leaf to the pot, and the soup is even more nourishing.
Ginger warms the body, potentially giving your immune system a kick-start during cold and flu season. It also has a tradition of calming gastrointestinal distress. While ginger lets itself be known in this soup with its subtle but spicy flavor, kombu is a stealth ingredient. This dried sea vegetable enhances the flavor of broth and leaves behind a wealth of minerals without adding a “seaweedy” flavor.
A strip of kombu can be added to any of your favorite soups (or homemade stock) to make the broth mineral-rich. Add kombu at the end of the simmering process, as it doesn’t take long to extract its nutrients. Once simmered, kombu can be thinly sliced and added back to the soup or tossed into a salad.
Aside from this recipe, a very simple kombu broth can be made by simmering a 4-inch strip of kombu in 4 cups of water for 4 minutes. A strip of dried kombu can also be dry-roasted in a pan for 5 to 7 minutes then ground into powder. Mix the powder with salt and use it to flavor just about anything.
Kombu keeps well in a sealed bag and is a fantastic ingredient to stash in the pantry. It’s easy to cook with, doesn’t have a strong flavor and adds important micronutrients. What’s not to like?
Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes active cooking, plus 2 1/2 hours to simmer