By Isabel Dwyer
Spring is a time of stretching evenings, of approaching deadlines and of succumbing to colds and flus. This Spring too has seen a certain, famous virus doing the rounds, if you hadn’t already heard. Should you come into contact with one of these bugs, this easy garlic and tomato broth will fix you up. Unless it’s that famous one. Call an ambulance if it’s that famous one.
For this super quick soup, you’ll need two big tomatoes, a knob of ginger, a couple cloves of garlic, stock of your choice, soy sauce and an egg. When it comes to the stock, you can opt for a ready-made stock in liquid form or simply stock cubes. I’ve been using vegetable, but chicken would be equally nourishing.
Start by chopping your tomatoes into rough chunks. Then, peel your garlic. The least wasteful way to do so is by using a teaspoon to scrape off the skin. Use a thumb sized piece. Unless you have very large thumbs, in which case you should probably use a little less. Chop the ginger into matchstick shapes and set aside. Crush or chop your garlic cloves. The limit does not exist when it comes to the quantity of garlic you can use, especially when you’re sick. Have your vegetable stock at the ready. If you’re using stock cubes, one cube to about 450ml of boiling water should do the trick. Get your egg and crack it into a mug. Beat well.
Add some oil to a hot saucepan and slide in your tomato chunks. Give them a nice stir and add a pinch of salt. This will help bring out the juices. Add your ginger and garlic. Stir regularly. Once the tomatoes look nice and mushy, add your vegetable stock. You might not need all of the stock, depending on how thick or thin you like your soups to be. As this is definitely more of a broth, however, it should be on the thinner side.
Allow the contents of the saucepan to boil for two minutes or so, then turn down the heat. Once the bubbles have disappeared, it’s time to add your egg. Do so by using a wooden spoon to stir your broth at a steady pace, consistently stirring in the same direction without stopping. With the hand that’s not stirring, gently pour your beaten egg into the mini vortex that’s being created in the centre of the pan. The aim is to have a thin, slow stream of egg pouring in as you stir, but honestly there’s no perfect way to do this and it works out pretty well every time regardless. Pour and stir until all of the egg has been added. This is the perfect point to taste the broth and see what it’s missing. It might be fine as it is, or require a dash of salt, but a tablespoon of soy sauce adds a gentle flavour boost that you won’t get from anything else.
Ladle the broth into a bowl and enjoy. If you want to be fancy, throw in some spinach. I usually leave all of the ingredients in the soup, but if the floating ginger bothers you, feel free to pick it out. If you really dislike chunky broths, another option would be to use garlic and ginger pastes instead of the real deal. You can find these in the vegetable aisle in Tesco.
And there you have it! A strengthening, easy, tasty soup that will take you back to better times, times when you could breathe out of your nose and swallow without feeling pain. A time before the world was suffering from a health epidemic. You know, those times.