Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Golden Mushroom Soup










     Chinese Wild Enoki Mushroom Soup!
     Golden Mushrooms are Dried Wild Enoki Mushrooms.  Wild Enoki are harvested, dried, packaged and sold as Golden Mushrooms in Asian Markets.  These mushrooms do have a golden color.  Because dried golden mushrooms have long thin stems, a package of these mushrooms looks like a bag of straw upon first glance.  The mushroom caps are tiny.  Dried golden mushrooms have to be handled gently, so the mushroom caps do not fall off.
     Domestic farm raised Enoki Mushrooms have many chemicals that act as immune system boosters.  In turn, these mushrooms also help to prevent aging, just like Wood Ear Mushrooms and Shiitake.  Since Golden Mushrooms grow in the wild under the stars and moon, the flavor is stronger and the medicinal effect is increased.

     The Dried Golden Mushrooms are first soaked in water overnight to reconstitute them.  Golden Mushrooms impart a nice golden brown color to the soaking liquid.  The soaking liquid is used to make the soup broth.
     Lime Preserved Egg or Thousand Year Egg is often used to garnish Chinese broth soups.  A peeled egg simmered in tea and soy sauce is another nice garnish.  The egg yolk can be fully cooked or it can be cooked till it is a soft boiled state.  I intended to soft boil the egg for this recipe, but then I got an important phone call and was distracted.  The egg ended up being plain old hard boiled.  Ce est la vie!

     Golden Mushroom Soup:
     This recipe yields 1 large serving of of 2 1/2 cups!
     Step 1:  The portion size for a bunch of Dried Golden Mushrooms should be about 1" in diameter at the stem end.  Separate 1 portion of Dried Golden Mushrooms from the bundle that is about that size.
     Place the golden mushrooms in a container.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Refrigerate the golden mushrooms overnight, so they are reconstituted.  Save the soaking liquid!
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of light vegetable broth in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Bring the broth to a boil over medium high heat.
     Step 3:  Pour the Golden Mushroom Soaking Liquid through a fine mesh strainer directly into the pot of boiling vegetable broth.
     Set the reconstituted Golden Mushrooms aside.
     Boil the broth, till it reduces to about 2 3/4 cups in volume.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add the reserved reconstituted Golden Mushrooms.
     Gently simmer, without stirring, till the mushrooms become tender.
     Step 5:  Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of Chinese 5 Spice Powder.
     Add 2 drops of pure sesame oil.
     Add 3 or 4 decorative thin slices of carrot that is cut into sunrise shapes.  (Score a carrot lengthwise with a zesting tool ... cut the carrot in half lengthwise ... cut thin half moon slices to create a sunrise shape!)
     Simmer till the carrot slices start to become tender.

     Presentation:
     Use tongs or cooking chopsticks to transfer the bunch of Golden Mushrooms to a large soup bowl.
     Slowly ladle the soup into the bowl, so the mushrooms stay bunched together.
     Sprinkle a few thin sliced onion rings on the surface of the soup.  (paper thin rondelle precision cut)
     Sprinkle a few thin bias slices of green onion on the surface of the soup.
     Sprinkle 1 small pinch of crushed Szechuan pepper on the soup.
     Place 1/2 of a boiled egg on the stalk end of the golden mushrooms in the soup, so the egg is elevated above the surface of the broth.

     This healthy clear broth soup tastes rich and it really looks nice! 

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