Chilly weather often brings colds, sniffles, shivers, and coughs, making winter miserable. While you might turn to Grandma’s chicken soup first, consider some of these soups from around the world with special healing benefits.

Gingko Nut Porridge, China

The gingko nut is the star of this simple dish and is also said to provide asthma relief.


Several ginkgo nuts, shelled and skins removed

3 or 4 beancurd sheets, rinsed and torn into smaller pieces

½ cup rice

7 cups water

1 teaspoon chicken granules

Salt to taste


Wash rice, put into the rice pot and add in 7 cups water. Switch onto “Porridge” mode of the rice cooker. Once the rice grains have started to soften, add in the gingko nuts and cover. Once the porridge is soft, check for desired consistency, add in the limp beancurd sheets, salt, and the chicken granules, and stir.

Adapted from


Fennel Fish Soup, Scandinavia

If you can’t get rid of that pesky cough and you’re not feeling too seasick, this fennel fish soup will warm you right up.


1 finely chopped yellow onion

3 sliced garlic cloves

¼ of a finely chopped fennel root

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

20 ounces vegetable bullion

10 ounces white wine

3 peeled and diced tomatoes

7 ounces heavy cream

30 mussels

1 pound shrimp

1 filet of white fish



salt and pepper


Sauté the onion, garlic, and fennel root until tender. Add fennel seeds, vegetable bouillon, and white wine. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, cream, shellfish, and fish until cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from


Ginseng Chicken Soup. Korea

A whole, young chicken and the bittersweet taste of ginseng will fill you up, relieve stress, and strengthen your beleaguered immune system.


1 Cornish hen

1 fresh ginseng root

3 tablespoons sweet rice, soaked for 1 hour (yields about 4 tablespoons soaked)

4 garlic cloves

1 thin ginger slice (about 1 inch)

1 scallion white part

5 to 6 cups of water

2 scallions, finely chopped, to garnish

salt and pepper to taste


Clean the chicken, especially the inside of the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the sweet rice and a couple of the garlic cloves. Tightly close the cavity with a toothpick. Or you can make a cut on the bottom part of one thigh and insert the other thigh through to keep the legs crossed together.

Place the chicken in a medium-sized pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Add the garlic, ginger, and ginseng. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Skim off the foam on top. Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and boil, covered, for about 20 to 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Korean Bapsang


Mushroom Soup, France

Mushrooms are known for many health benefits, including their abilities to increase metabolism, fight diabetes, and inhibit cancer.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1½ large onions, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground white pepper

1½ pounds white mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and diced

¹/₃ cup orange juice

2 parsley sprigs

1 teaspoon rosemary

6 cups chicken broth


Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over low heat. Sauté onions and garlic, season with salt and white pepper. Add the mushrooms and the rest of the butter, raise the heat to medium, and cook, continuing to stir until the mushrooms release their liquid. Increase the heat to high and cook until almost all of the liquid evaporates. Pour in the orange juice and let it boil until it, too, almost evaporates.

Put the herbs into the pot, add the broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot almost completely, and simmer for 20 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender in small batches until it is very smooth. Add salt and white pepper to taste.

Adapted from the American Philosophical Society Museum


Rosemary Chicken Noodle Soup, USA

An old classic with the added benefits of rosemary, this soup will get you feeling ready to head out into the snow.


1 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt

6 cups water

4 cups chicken broth

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 shredded carrot

10–12 sliced mushrooms

¹/₃ cup parsley

¼ cup lemon juice

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 cups cooked egg noodles


Combine noodles, oil, and salt. Combine water, chicken, broth, onion, celery, rosemary in a large Dutch oven; add ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; cool slightly. Shred chicken with 2 forks.

Add carrot and mushrooms to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until carrot is tender. Add shredded chicken, parsley, salt; cook till hot. Stir in noodle mixture, lemon juice, and pepper. Cook 1 minute.

Adapted from

—Sam Lund