From coleslaw and kimchi to this Thai “Bland” Soup and salads, cabbage is a versatile vegetable that adds crunch, flavor, and good nutrition. Cabbage is a good source of fiber, folate, and vitamin C, and it contains antioxidants that promote good health.
Hi, I’m Ben, a senior in nutrition from Boston University. A few weeks ago, Janice gave me and my fellow B.U. intern, Brett, a challenge. She had two Napa cabbages in her refrigerator that she got from her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and she wanted us to create a recipe with them.
Immediately, I thought of one of my favorite Thai dishes from my childhood growing up in Bangkok for “bland soup.” It is a simple recipe that my Grandma loves to make for breakfast. Janice gave us the thumbs up and Brett and I took the reins in the kitchen. We were a little nervous since this was the first time we had created and tested a recipe on our own, but we were up for the challenge!
- Two 32-ounce cartons all-natural chicken broth
- 1½ cups water
- 16 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small onion, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- One 1-inch knob fresh ginger root, sliced into ⅛-inch coins
- 1 medium Napa cabbage, sliced into 1-inch ribbons (about 2 pounds)
- 1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast (we used frozen leftover chicken)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Add the chicken broth, water, carrots, onion, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger to a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook at a low boil for 15 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and chicken, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
- Serve in individual bowls and top with the green onions.
The base of the soup consists of a few simple ingredients: chicken broth, onions, garlic, and soy sauce. This basic starting point acts as a blank canvas for the rest of the soup. Cabbage and carrots are usually two main additions to the soup, however you can add whatever veggies, meat, or fish you choose. Some ingredients I have added to this Thai breakfast soup include chicken, tofu, egg, zucchini, potatoes, and Chinese celery.
For our soup we decided to add the cabbage and carrot as well as leftover cooked chicken and slice ginger root. The magic behind the “bland soup” is that each batch tastes different from the last depending on what you decide to add to it. I love experimenting with new flavors and ingredients, which definitely adds to the fun of making this dish. I always look forward to trying it once it is all finished!
In Thailand, we eat this soup with rice. What would you add to your own bland soup? Leave a comment below so we can try your version!