Feed a Fever

My favorite Indian food is sabudana khichdi, a mild tapioca dish. When I visit my friend Nisha, who is from New Delhi, it's what I ask her to cook. She doesn't get why I wouldn't rather eat something celebratory, like meaty biriyani. Khichdi, she says, is for when your nose is so stuffed that you can't taste. But the way I see it, because the foods we eat when we're sick are so comforting, they're also some of the most enticing. From starchy grains to aromatic broths, what we turn to at our worst are also great when we're at our best. Every cuisine seems to have its own version. —Sushma Subramanian

Sopa de Ajo

Sopa de Ajo
Devised by Castillian shepherds seeking warmth on cold winter nights, sopa de ajo, or garlic soup, made with chicken stock, day-old bread, sinus-clearing hot paprika, and plenty of the stinking rose, is said to awaken dulled senses. Perhaps that's why it's also touted as a hangover cure. See the recipe for Sopa de Ajo »Todd Coleman

Congee

Congee
There are dozens of variations on the slow-cooked Chinese rice porridge, congee; it's cooked with vegetables or meat, topped with pickles or hard-boiled eggs. A common breakfast food said to be easy on the stomach, it sustains infants and the elderly, as well as those feeling under the weather.Todd Coleman

Mustikkakeitto

Mustikkakeitto
In Finland, wild summer berries are frozen for use in winter's mustikkakeitto, a warm, silky blueberry potage packed with vitamin C.Todd Coleman

Milagu Rasam

Milagu Rasam
"Pepper is for colds and coughs, and turmeric heals wounds," says cookbook author Viji Varadarajan. In his native South India, milagu rasam, a broth made with those key ingredients, also includes a dose of tamarind, which is believed to help heal sore throats. See the recipe for Milagu Rasam »Todd Coleman

Avgolemono

Avgolemono
Avgolemono, a simple Mediterranean soup of eggs, lemons, and chicken broth, is the Mediterranean equivalent of chicken noodle soup. Get the recipe for Avgolemono »Todd Coleman