Ginger and turmeric broth

Ginger and turmeric broth

ginger turmeric broth chilli oil

I have not had a cold since I went vegan (three and a half years ago)…until now. I started feeling a bit funny on Tuesday and I’ve been sneezing and sniffling ever since. I am gutted as I’ve only just got back into running and now I have had to stop again. Oh well, there is not much I can now do apart from not getting in the way of my body trying to recover.

It’s true that my immune system was at its peak when we lived in the warm climate of Greece, but we did visit Poland in the middle of winter a few times (where temperatures oscillated around -12° C / 10° F most days) and even though I did not bring the warmest clothing (I simply do not own clothing for that kind of cold anymore), I managed to keep the cold at bay. I do think that swapping animal products for plants has had a part to play in that.

It’s been a few days so I’ve accepted my fate and my coping strategy is to sleep lots, drink lot of liquids and ingest insane amounts of ginger (fresh ginger tea is my best friend of late), garlic and leafy green vegetables, which is something I do anyway.

Today’s recipe for a warming ginger and turmeric broth has been inspired by an international old wives’ tale that chicken broth is the best remedy for a cold. For obvious reasons, there won’t be any chickens going anywhere near my soup, plus I’m convinced that it isn’t a chicken’s carcass (in fact, food derived from animals has been proven to promote not inhibit inflammation) that does you good, but all the plant extracts and natural anti-inflammatories (like ginger, garlic, black pepper and turmeric, in this case) that should be taking the credit for all the healing.

This flavoursome potion is spicy and warming. It can be drunk from a cup like savoury tea or made into a more substantial meal with oodles of noodles (or rice) and your favourite toppings. I went for bok choi and baked tofu but there are plenty of other toppings that would work here: mushrooms, broccoli, rice, chickpeas, tempeh, cabbage, kimchi, sprouts, sweet potato and pumpkin, to name just a few…

ginger turmeric broth

ginger turmeric broth pouring

ginger turmeric broth portion

15 min
45 min
15 min
45 min

  • 1 large banana shallot
  • 60 g / 2 oz fresh ginger, peeled
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sliced red hot red chilli or chilli flakes, to taste
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, rough leaves discarded
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used rice bran), (optional but recommended)
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 1.25 L / 5 cups water or veggie stock
  • 1 vegan stock cube (unless using stock)
  • 1½ tsp salt (less if using salted stock or stock cube)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 240 ml / 1 cup full fat coconut milk OR 120 ml / ½ cup coconut cream


  • noodles (GF if needed), 50 g / 1.7 oz per person, cooked
  • 400 g / 14 oz firm or extra firm tofu, baked or fried
  • 200 g / 7 oz bok choi or other dark leafy greens, stir-fried or steamed
  • sliced spring onions / scallions, to serve (optional)
  • fresh chilli, to serve (optional)
  • fresh coriander, to serve (optional)
  1. Chop all your aromatics (shallot, ginger, garlic, chilli and lemongrass) finely. Alternatively, you could slice them roughly and then put them in a herb chopper or food processor and mince them.
  2. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil (I used rice bran) in a heavy-bottomed pot. Once the oil gets hot, throw all the aromatics in. Sautee them on a low heat, stirring very frequently, until they have softened and released their aroma (about 5 minutes).
  3. Now, add in the powdered turmeric and peppercorns. Stir turmeric into the aromatics, allowing the spice to toast gently before adding more moisture to the pan. Stir the whole time and make sure your flame is on low as ground spices burn easily.
  4. Add about 5 cups / 1.25 L of water and a veggie stock cube or vegetable stock. If you don’t have any stock handy, but happen to have random unused vegetables in the fridge, put them in to create a stock on the go. I used 1 carrot, ½ small fennel bulb, a small wedge of cabbage, 2 celery sticks and a dried (shiitake) mushroom to impart more flavour to the soup. This is totally optional, but a good way to use up all these unwanted bits and pieces.
  5. Bring the soup to the boil and simmer gently for about 45 minutes.
  6. Season with salt (or soy sauce / tamari) and lime juice.
  7. If you want the soup to have a little more body, thicken it with coconut cream or coconut milk.
  8. Put the bowls into a warm oven (100 °C / 210 °F) to heat them up for serving.
  9. Serve hot soup over cooked noodles, bok choi and fried or baked tofu (see this recipe for details). Garnish with fresh coriander, sliced chilli and spring onions.
4 g
26 g
15 g
14 g
15 g
*per serving
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16 reviews, 36 comments
Sarah S:
Outstanding! I was looking for a ginger/turmeric CLEAR broth to fight my cold, and this was excellent. I had no lemongrass so I left it out. I added shredded cabbage with the broth. The result was a warm, spicy clear soup that stopped my cough in its tracks! I made two batches, one on the stovetop and one in my Instant Pot (Soup setting at 30 minutes). Both came out just fine. I’ve frozen the leftovers for the next time one of us gets a cold. This is better than chicken soup for a cold, and I didn’t think I’d ever say that. Thanks for this versatile and satisfying recipe!
    Thank you, Sarah - that's high praise indeed. I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed this soup so much and I love your addition of cabbage too. Thank you for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it. Ania
This dish is on our regular meal plan, it is beyond delicious and just feels so warming and nutritious , that would see off any cold. The flavours combined are perfectly pitched, we add wholewheat noodles, marinated tofu, pak choi, spring onions and sometimes sweetcorn. A bowl of loveliness, that would make anyone smile. Thank you. Kate x
    Aw thank you Kate, your comment made me smile :) . So happy you enjoyed it so much. x Ania
Great recipe, really tasty, especially the leftovers the next day! I used more lemongrass and I used a red onion instead of shallots, and it burnt a tiny bit when frying, so the soup was not the lovely yellow colour as pictured, more light brown, but it was still really tasty. I added noodles, stir-fried pak choi, broccoli, red peppers and some fried oyster mushrooms and tofu. If you want it to look like the picture don't fill up the bowl too much with broth as the added ingriedients will just submerge... But it will still be lovely to eat!
    Thanks Suzanne, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it and thank you for letting me know. Well observed, styling a soup for photographs is quite different from regular plating :) x Ania
Been making this for a couple of years, my family love it and it's perfect nourishment if you feel ill. Wonderfully medicinal, easy to make and tastes amazing especially when firey hot 🔥🔥
    Thank you, Iain! I am so happy to hear that this recipe has served your and your family so well and I agree, it's one of these things that makes you feel instantly nourished when you are a little under the weather. Thank you for taking the time to review, it really means a lot. x Ania
Hi. Can you freeze or fridge the leftover? If so, for how long? Thanks.
    Sure, you can. It will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and freeze for up to 3 months. Hope this helps! Ania
Hello! I’ve made this once before and absolutely loved it! I was wondering if I can make the paste of step 1 in a batch and keep it either in the fridge or freezer. Have you tried? Just to have it ready and quicker to prep when I want to make it. We both have busy jobs so sometimes i look for these hacks. Let me know :)
    Hi Isabelita,
    Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And yes, you absolutely can but please bear in mind that freezing tends to dull flavours so you may need to want to add a little more oomph if you intend to freeze it. I would also add oil (like you would to a pesto) to the paste to stop it from drying out whilst in the freezer. x Ania
Justyna Smiechowska:
This is the best ever 💗
    Aw, thank you - that's lovely to hear! Ania
Anne Thomas:
Made this today substituting fresh fish for the tofu. I doubled the paste ingredients as I love them all, but more chilli next time. I used rice vermicelli noodles but didn't like them. I added 1/4 cabbage 2 carrots shredded and a handful of dried mushrooms
    Great you enjoyed it!
Such a stunning recipe- thank you for sharing! Made this today, I found i needed a little more lemongrass + onion and chilli. I also added some brown sugar and coconut milk- was scrumptious!!!!
    Great to hear, Megan. Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed it! x Ania
Liz loftus:
Hiya made this today,and it was lovely,do you know if I can freeze the broth.
    Glad to hear that, sure you can! Ania
This was delicious! I have a go to broth recipe but think this will be my new one! I also make my own turmeric powder and the flavor of it combing through was Devine! I’m soy free too so didn’t use tofu but added poached chicken breast (sorry not vegan) and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Yum thanks for sharing!
    Thanks Katrina, I am glad you enjoyed it! x Ania
Incredible incredible versatile broth, wow!!!! Simple is best, as they say...
    Thank you, Jorge! I'm delighted to hear that! x Ania
Hmm mine ended up very bitter unfortunately, maybe I cooked the turmeric for too long. So disappointed because it took me ages :-(
    I'm so sorry to hear that, Jessica! It certainly isn't bitter by design so I suspect that something must have got burnt (garlic tends to taste really bitter when burnt, for example). I hope you'll give it another go! Ania
Mary Sarah:
Dear Ania,
I am new to your site and have been a vegetarian most of my adult life, exploring world cuisine and LOTS of recipes. May I say that your dishes are simply DIVINE! I recently made the Ginger and Turmeric broth (and did add the coconut milk) as well as Tofu, red peppers, bok choy, and organic baby corn. My family was astounded at the flavor. Even my 4 year old granddaughter LOVED it, saying, " it is soooooo delicious." My son settled on the words, "absolutely delectable." Next up, the "pulled mushrooms!"
    Aw, thanks so much, Mary! That's music to my ears! I'm beynond happy whenever I manage to convince anyone that vegan food is anything but tasteless and kids aren't easy to please, are they? ;) Ania
Yum! I love the combo of ginger and turmeric!
    Thanks, that's lovely to hear! Ania
Aaron Shaw:
Loved this recipe. It was a cold windy night and this was just perfect for warming us up. I added a spoon of red curry paste for a bit more body and a few cherry tomatoes. This will be a regular dish for sure. In fact I might make it again tonight!
    Thanks, Aaron! I'm delighted to hear that! And thanks for taking the time to leave feedback! Ania
This recipe is delicious, and boy is it spicy. I have to admit that I coughed after the first couple of bites, but I survived LOL I loved the addition of coconut milk too. I don't think that coconut milk in a recipe is ever a bad thing. Thanks for the recipe.
    Thanks, Lillian! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it! Ania
This looks and sounds divine! I can't wait to try it. Do you reckon it would freeze ok?
    Thanks, Ciara! Hope you'll enjoy it! I should think so, but I have not tried myself. Ania
So glad I found your recipe! I made this last week and my boyfriend said it's the most delicious meal we've made at home - ever! I'm making it again tonight in a double batch for lunches all week :)
    Thank you so much, Ellie! Your comment made my day! Ania
Hi! This looks amazing , I’m making it for dinner in about an hour. I’m just wondering what you did with the bok choy before adding it to your bowl? In the photo it looks a bit charred so I’m assuming you threw it in a pan to soften it a little? I’ve never cooked with it before so I’m not sure how to go about that part. Thank you :)
    Hi Daniell,
    Sorry for a delayed response, but I'm UK based so was getting some zzzz....;) I simply charred it on a hot pan for a few seconds on both sides. Hope your dinner turned out well! Ania
Thank you, thank you, for this amazing recipe! I have made it twice now and I think about it all the time :) As others have commented, it is so healing and soothing. I could just drink a mug of the broth. After I make the broth, I blend it and strain it and it’s so silky. Your recipes are fantastic as are your photos. Thank you again!
    Aw, thank you, Abbie! Your comment made my day! :) Ania
Andrea Leona:
So excited to try this. My mouth is watering just looking at the picture. Looks amazing!!
    Thanks Andrea! :) Ania
making this as I type but my base sauce has a bitter aftertaste? what am I doing wrong?
    It's hard to say, Gary, my best guess is that maybe some of the aromatics or spices got a bit burnt? That would definetly cause some bitterness. Ania
Hi Ania,
How do you think this recipe would go with fresh turmeric? Would you just increase the amounts?
Thanks so much!
    Hi Esther,
    It's hard to advise as I've never been able to get hold of fresh turmeric, but I would say that dry spice is probably more potent so I would start off with the same amount of grated turmeric root and increase if necessary. Hope that helps! Ania
Hi Ania, what a delicious healthy soup. I already made it and it is sooo tasty and warming from the iside out, perfect for cold winter days here in Colorado. Very Ayurvedic Thank you so much.
    Thanks, Magda! I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Ania
This was amazing! Such a beautiful and tasty dish, so filling and lovely generous portion sizes! Yum! The best dish we've eaten/cooked in a LONG time 😍
    Aw, thanks so much, Lauren! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it that much! Ania
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