Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Asian Inspired Mushroom Soup

2nd Update: I didn't mention it in the original  posting but this post is inspired by Hecates post America Needs Mushroom Soup
I plead old age and lack of sleep.

It's cold and flu season and you really should be thinking about boosting your immune system and mushrooms are a good start. Here is a quick vegan soup that leans Asian but is very nice and has the added benefit of helping your body fight off those nasty bugs. You can find kaffir lime leaves in most Asian markets and they bring a lot of flavor to the game. Just roll them and slice them thinly (chiffonade) and then chop the resulting strands finely. The Chinese noodles can be replaced with an appropriate amount of Udon or other noodle (even whole wheat pasta). As with all recipes posted here this is just a guide and while I generally follow the recipe pretty closely I sometimes get inspired to play around. i.e. no cilantro use parsley, no Shiitake use another mushroom. No bird's eye chili use jalapeno or chili arbol or red pepper flakes. No bok choy use cabbage, spinach or kale. No onion use shallot or leek. No fresh lime use rice vinegar. You get the idea. Remember the goal here is multiple dimensions of flavor. Need some spice heat and acid to bring brightness. The veges add texture and additional nutrition. The only thing really important are some form of mushroom. You can even sub the vege stock with Dashi but that changes the vegetarian definition a little.

Asian Inspired Mushroom Soup

    1 tablespoon peanut, canola or safflower oil (I use peanut oil since it is likely non GMO)
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 carrot, thinly sliced
    1 rib celery, thinly sliced
    3 leaves kaffir lime, finely chopped
    1 bird's-eye chili or chili arbol, finely chopped
    6 Shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
    4 button or crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
    6 cups vegetable stock
    1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice or rice vinegar but lime juice is best
    2 blocks dried Chinese noodles
    Handful baby bok choy, chopped finely
    Handful cilantro for garnish

Cooking directions

    In large heavy bottomed non-reactive pot heat peanut oil and onions. Cook about 5 minutes or until they are translucent, Add the carrot and celery and cook 3 more minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook another 2 minutes until they start to give off some of their liquid. Add the chopped kaffir lime leaves and chili.
    Add the liquids (vegetable stock, soy sauce and lime juice) and cook until vegetables are tender maybe 10 minutes. Add dried noodles and baby bok choy. Stir to break up noodles. Simmer until noodles and baby bok choy are tender.  Garnish with cilantro.

This makes at least 6 servings.

If you are not vegetarian you can always add a few chopped shrimp or bits of chicken or a pork chop or whatever to make it heartier. Just make sure the meat is in small bits that will cook quickly and add it when you add the mushrooms.

Update: I should have mentioned that a bit of firm tofu in small cubes is a very nice addition as well.

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