I never really understood the logic behind American habit of eating a greasy meal when having a hangover. In Japan, people recommend food that’s easily digested. The most common hangover food are noodles in broth or rice in broth that’s at once easily digested and comforting to eat. However, while I don’t understand the logic of greasy food, I wholeheartedly understand that feeling where you are somehow craving greasy food while feeling that horribleness in your stomach and pain in your head.
While I often make noodles during my rather frequent hangovers, I add some American spin to this hangover remedy by making it as greasy as possible. I combined a couple more common hangover remedies to create a truly cross-cultural, and somewhat effective hangover food: the hangover curry udon noodle.
First, there’s the tumeric. Tumeric has been extremely popular in Japan as a hangover prevention (and recovering) agent, because of its effect of stimulating the liver and helping it break down the alcohol in your blood.
Secondly, there’s the tomatoes. I have completely forgotten why they are good for hangovers, probably something to do with vitamins and antioxidants, but they’re supposed to be good, or at least not harmful. I use whatever I have on hand, be it canned, fresh, tomato juice, or V8. If you only have tomato juice or V8, just sub it for the tomatoes and water (or broth).
Thirdly, throwing in a good amount of cayenne pepper will make you sweat. I have no idea if that helps, but it gives you the illusion that you’re sweating the alcohol away.
Finally, its liquid. I don’t know if the salt content will draw the moisture out as you’re eating it, but at least the good amount of soup you drink will moisten your mouth.
Making it is a rather intuitive process. If you’re hung over, you really don’t have the patience to measure and follow instructions. If you have made Indian style chicken curry before, you’ll know the drill.
1. Chop chicken into bite size pieces, and mince some garlic, ginger, onions, and a good mound of tomatoes.
2. Prepare spices. I use a shitload of tumeric, from 1-1.5 tablespoons per bowl. A lot of cumin, a bit of cayenne, a bit of paprika, and a dash or two of coriander seed will work.
3. Saute onions, garlic, and ginger until fragrant. If you’re using whole cumin seeds instead of ground, this is the time to throw that in too.
Then toss the spices in, stir til fragrant, Add tomatoes, and then add chicken.
Do this over medium high to high heat, so you won’t have to suffer too long in front of the stovetop.
Once the tomatoes have lost most of their moisture, put in some water, or if you’re feeling fancy, some chicken or fish broth. When the mixture is boiling again, put in a glug of soy sauce or fish sauce, and throw in a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Cook away a bit more, and then dump the noodles in, and add some scallions or cilantro or whatever herb you prefer.
This will actually work with a wide range of noodles, from rice, soba, ramen, or possibly even pasta noodles. Remember that in this situation, the most important thing is proximity.
Once its ready, dig in, remembering to wear something that you don’t mind getting the strong yellow stain of tumeric. There’s also a strong possibility of heartburn, so keep some stomach medicine ready.
And you’ll start feeling nourished, sweaty, and hopefully a bit better. But don’t count on it. I remember watching a whole season of Game of Thrones after eating these noodles, just because I could not bother to get off the sofa to turn it off.