The Best Winter Soups: Around the world in 8 Broths

A look at some of the best soups and broths from around the world, from Siberian pelmeni soup to Vietnamese Pho.
Author Headshot
Olivia Higgs
Dec 19
5 mins
Dec 19
5 mins

The humble broth - with a history that stretches back almost as long as cooking itself, this simple meal has been known to nurse ailments, mend broken hearts and aid digestion. 

Like many ancient dishes, this simple soup goes by many names “caldo” in Spanish, “bouillon” in French and in recent years it has been the latest “food trend” to rise to popularity in the health and wellness spheres. 

For the best health benefits, both in terms of nourishing the body and providing comfort for the soul, we can take inspiration from the dishes that have stood the test of time. 

So here’s our round up of 8 broths from around the world that have been preserved through the generations and are a great way for you to bring a taste of faraway flavours to your home kitchen.

Japanese Dashi

Dashi can be found in many popular Japanese dishes such as ramen or for cooking and flavouring sushi rice.

This popular broth is more than 800 years old, and was originally made from Japanese spring water kombu (a type of kelp with a rich briney flavour). Nowadays you can find different varieties of dashi using shiitake mushrooms, sardines, anchovies or katsuoboshi (dried and smoke bonito fish flakes). 

Simple to make and packing a punchy umami flavour, Dashi is perfect with noodles and is a great home remedy for colds and sore throats.

Vietnamese Pho

This classic broth originated in the north of Vietnam in the late 19th Century, drawing inspiration from a combination of local flavours, French colonial influences and Chinese ingredients.

This mix of cultures has become synonymous with the modern cuisine of Vietnam, as chefs have incorporated foreign techniques to create something entirely unique to the region.

For a nice flavourful broth, you ideally want bones and cuts of meat high in collagen, so you can try marrow, knuckles, and feet - cheap off-cuts you’ll find at a local butcher.

For the aromatics, spices are typically wrapped in a cheesecloth and left to soak in the broth - classic additions include cinnamon, cloves, star anise, ginger, cardamom and coriander.

Italian Cappelletti in Brodo

A staple of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, Cappelleti in Brodo is one of the most traditional pasta dishes out there. 

Some recipes for this meal of pasta in broth date back to the 13th Century priest Salimbene di Adam, and many believe this is where filled pastas first originated in Italian cuisine. 

The broth for this pasta dish is traditionally made from chicken (bones, the carcass or sometimes even the whole bird) and vegetables, and is left to simmer for a minimum of three hours or throughout the day.

Filipino Seafood Sinigang

Often a home remedy for colds and sore throats, Sinigang is the taste of comfort in the hearts of Filipinos the world over (which is why we couldn’t create our Filipino cooking course without including it!) It’s a great dish for showcasing the bountiful seafood found in the waters around this resource-rich archipelago.

But what makes Sinigang stand out? The sour broth is typically made with tamarind in its younger, unripened form which gives a tangy aromatic note.

Nowadays chefs and home cooks alike are getting creative with different souring agents in the kitchen using fruits such as raw mango, guava and calamansi (a small green citrus fruit native to the Philippines).

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Moroccan Harira

Harira is prepared all year-round but often has a spot on the table for those celebrating Ramadan. This tomato, chickpea and lentil soup has a meat broth base - usually lamb, and is well seasoned with the traditional Moroccan spice palate using the likes of cinnamon, ginger, cloves as well as turmeric or saffron.

Lemon slices are often served on the side for those who like to add a squeeze of lemon juice for a more tangy flavour, or you could even add preserved lemons during the cooking process for an even zestier version. 

You’ll also find a variety of other accompaniments served with Harira including dried fruits, honey sweets and hard-boiled eggs seasoned with cumin and salt.

Siberian Pelmeni Soup

With similarities to the Italian Cappelletti in Brodo, this Siberian soup is a comforting bowl of pork stuffed dumplings in a clear chicken broth. 

Pelmeni dumplings were originally a food for Siberian hunters who would embark on long exhibitions in the winter. They would carry giant sacks of frozen pelmeni with them which they then boiled in melted snow sometimes with the addition of whatever meat was available out in the wild to flavour the broth.

Hawaiian Saimin

Saimin is recognisable for its thin noodles and a clear dashi broth with green onions, kamaboko (fish cakes) and often also ham or pork (char sit). 

As an island nation between continents, Hawaii has seen countless waves of immigration and new cultural influences over the years - and these different groups have had a profound impact on Hawaiian cuisine.

Made up of a mix of cultures including Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Filipino, the result has been different culinary influences on Hawaii’s cuisine. It has become such a staple of the island’s cuisine that it can be found at coffee shops, in instant packets and even on the McDonald’s menu in Hawaii!

Kubbeh Hamusta Soup

This one appears on our Taste of Tel Aviv program and is an Iraqi take on the deep-fried lamb dumplings popular across the middle east which are then poached in a clear, sour broth that is acidulated with lemon.

You’ll find several variations across the Middle East, but on the course Chef Tomer makes a version where the dumplings are made with chewy semolina dough. Encased in each Kubbeh is a pocket of spiced meat inside blended with onion, garlic, cumin, black pepper and coriander. 

The lamb mixture in the kubbeh dumplings is pre cooked, but the kubbeh dough cooks in the soup broth and absorbs the flavour of the cooking liquor.

So while the days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder - why not warm yourself up with one of these broths!

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