Not in a Here, drink this raw garlic/ginger/cayenne/vinegar tonic sort of way, the good old-fashioned it will hurt but it's good for you method.
On the contrary, the comfort comes from its creaminess (of course) and its simplicity. Honestly, it's right on the brink of plain: hot, a salty-savory-sweet all at once, a subtle edge of heat, plus a heap of slippery noodles, which everyone knows make anything better—the blues, heartbreak, political woes, the flu (none of which anyone in this house has at the current moment, except maybe political woes, thank goddess). Also it takes only 15 minutes to make. I don't know why I don't make this soup once a week.
I should say that A once made this soup for me and I have stolen and fiddled with it after marveling at it—simultaneously both clean-tasting and full-tasting, the sort of straightforwardly delicious thing I want to eat when the world feels the opposite of straightforward. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and I think that's especially true with food. Thanks, A.
Coconut Broth with Rice Noodles
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Generous pinch kosher salt plus more to taste
1 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 green chile, halved
1 8-ounce (or so) package rice noodles (the teeny vermicelli or the thicker banh pho ones are both good)
1 pound firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and shaved into ribbons with a peeler
1/4 to 1/2 small napa cabbage, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves and thinly sliced scallions to serve
Sauté the shallot and ginger with the olive oil and the pinch of salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the shallot and ginger are soft, fragrant, and translucent—don't let them color much.
Pour in the coconut milk, then fill the can with water and add that too, along with the split chile. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer gently 10 to 15 minutes. Taste the broth for salt. Discard the chile.
While the broth is simmering, cook the noodles: Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook until the noodles are tender (according to package instructions). Drain and rinse the noodles well. Set aside.
To serve, divide the noodles and tofu between 4 shallow bowls and ladle the broth on top. Top with the shaved carrots and cabbage, plus any cilantro and scallions. Serve very hot.