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Chinese Mushroom Soup

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Ingredients

25 g/1 oz dried Chinese mushrooms (shiitake, wood-ears)
1 litre/1 pints homemade vegetable stock
6 spring onions (white parts only - use the green parts for the garnish), sliced
2-3 slices of fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
1-2 star anise
A pinch of sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 small glass Chinese rice wine or dry sherry or white wine

To finish

50 g/2 oz Chinese transparent noodles (vermicelli)
6 spring onions (green parts), finely sliced on the diagonal
A small bunch of watercress or a handful of fresh spinach, shredded
A dash of wine vinegar
Salt
Fresh coriander leaves

Details

Serves: 5


Method

1. Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak and swell for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and trim off the tough stalks.


2. Put the mushrooms into a saucepan with their soaking water (leaving behind any sandy deposit) and add the stock, spring onions, ginger, star anise, sugar, soy sauce and wine. Bring to the boil. Skim off any foam, turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the transparent noodles in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 5 minutes, then rinse in cold water (or follow the instructions on the packet).


3. Strain the soup into a clean bowl. Pick the mushrooms out of the strainer, slice or tear into shreds, and return them to the broth.


4. To serve, bring the broth back to the boil. Stir in the soaked noodles, the finely sliced spring onions, the watercress or spinach and the vinegar. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve in small bowls, with a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

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