Indian-Spiced “Soupy Rice”

December 27, 2019

I’ve spent most of December being incapacitated. Quite frankly, an invalid. I have thrown up (or been confined to the bathroom) multiple times a day since Thanksgiving, with maybe a handful of days where I was even somewhat functional. No, we don’t know why and yes, we have eliminated anything truly serious. I don’t have a fever and I never feel the vomiting coming, not like when I have a virus. This is stealth vomit (or other); without warning I spew like Vesuvius. I wandered around the house with a bucket at all times, just in case. I did countless loads of unexpected laundry and cleaning of carpets. I have seen every episode of The Office that’s ever existed and spent countless hours tossing restlessly on the couch.

It’s sucked.

Any solid food seemed to trigger this suckage, especially things that were acidic or spicy or cruciferous. You know, things I love to eat. Medications that I need? Not staying down, which has caused other pesky issues that are boring and I won’t talk about.

Suffice it to say I’ve consumed more bowls of broth and saltines than a human should have to. Ever. And yes, sometimes I’ve thrown those up, too. Then I’m reliant on gummi candies or things that are pure sugar (like Sprite) to keep the old body at least mobile enough to make it to the bathroom.

We’re tinkering around with a lot of things, including medical marijuana–which thank goodness is helping a little with the nausea end of things. We’ve been sad and so frustrated we want to spit and everything in between. We’re working on it. We’re trying to be patient but Jesus, let’s cut the girl a break, okay?

I haven’t even had the energy most days to read, which double sucks. It’s crushingly dull. The kitchen is barren, unless I have a good day (like, I only throw up once or twice).

On days when I feel functional and able to eat, I’ve been making this dish I call “soupy rice,” because that’s literally what it is. I’ve made several incantations of it–some flavored with Asian/Indian spices, some with just broth and ginger, some with a few sprigs of thyme and a knob of butter.

It’s not exciting but it’s oddly comforting and quite digestible, which is good on low days. It’s not quite soup and it’s not quite rice and it’s not porridge-ish like congee (although I’ve made that, too). Sometimes, if I have a bit of chicken in the house, I’ll shred it in. If I have the good fortune to have any kind of fresh produce in the house, it’s lovely topped with green onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Or infused with the unmistakable zing of star anise and cinnamon. But days when I have anything fresh in the house have been rare. Those times it’s just a savory broth and some rice, and that’s been just fine.

I’m going to include one of my favorite versions of it here, not because it’s exotic but because it’s literally saved my butt from drying up and turning to dust, and we still have plenty of dark days (and sick days) of winter ahead of us. So maybe you need it, too.

This is subtly spiced but not bland; it’s for days when you can’t look at another saltine cracker. It slides down the chute with ease and most often will stay there. Omit the chicken if you are especially afflicted, but it makes things nicely substantial.

I’m hoping you don’t need “soupy rice” in your life anytime soon, but if you do, give it a try. It’s kinda like a hug for your guts. And we could all use a hug nowadays, right?

It’ll be okay. Better times are coming.


                                                                                              ~not much to look at but it works



Indian-Spiced “Soupy Rice”

serves several bowls-ful*


1 cup long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine or even Texmati works in a pinch

1 tablespoon butter (it’s even better with two tablespoons but go easy if you are queasy)

2-2 1/4 cups chicken stock** (this is a full half-cup more liquid than you need for normal rice but you want soupy. If you want really soupy, you can use a bit more to your liking)

1 fat knob of ginger, sliced (I store my ginger in the freezer and always have it on hand in case there’s no groceries in the house)

1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed


Aromatics (and yeah it’s odd I always have these but we got Indian people in this house, ya know):

2 fat star anise pods

2 cardamom pods

3 whole cloves

1 large cinnamon stick

a pinch or two of saffron



shredded cooked chicken

slices of scallion

a drizzle of sesame oil

a handful of cilantro or basil

a few sesame seeds

any kind of toasted nuts…just a few…I particularly like toasted peanuts or almonds or cashews

Sriracha, if you can stomach it


Rinse the rice and drain. Add it to a large pot with the broth, ginger, garlic and any aromatics you have around. Bring to a boil and then cover, turning the heat to a bare simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for ten minutes. Check it and if you want it more broth-y, add more.

Remove garlic, ginger and aromatics.

Top with any optionals you might have on hand.

Serve in slightly warmed bowls.


*If you have leftovers, store covered in the refrigerator. You may need to add a bit more broth when re-heating

**If you have homemade chicken stock on hand, GO for it. Lately I have not been so lucky, dammit. Otherwise, I use Swanson chicken broth or a fat teaspoon of Better than Bouillion. When I’m really sick I prefer not to use the low-sodium broth because I’m so dehydrated that I crave the salt, but do as you deem wise.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kel December 27, 2019 at 12:50 pm

I’m so sorry! How awful! Hopefully they figure it out soon, because I definitely get that frustration. My middle kid has been sick with some unexplained ear – throat – sinus thing for weeks.

I’ll definitely be making this for her. Sending love from NC.


Annie December 27, 2019 at 3:43 pm

I’m going to look at my calendar and find a weekend that works soon. Promise to stock up your freezer with broth and risotto and all the easy to eat good stuff. Xoxo


Papa Guy December 28, 2019 at 10:29 pm

Com’on let’s get ta feeling better… Today’s medicine can pinpoint anything, and Hubby is is that business….
Glad you posted, check everynight, as part of my blogroll…was becoming concerned.
and I still think on Lydia’s negative comments, she can bite me….


Dawn in Michigan December 29, 2019 at 9:58 am

Well, that DOES suck. I hope you are coming up out of this suckiness and feeling a bit better by now!


Papa Guy December 31, 2019 at 11:26 pm

Just “lurked” by to see if anything new…

Here’s hoping that your new year will bring Healing, happiness in the ranks, Peace, and blessings to the household.
Raise the glass…..


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