Winter Bamboo and Mushroom Soup
Winter in China is the season for delicious root vegetables, like thick winter bamboo and cool winter melon. Both are tasty ingredients for traditional soups, perfect for nourishing in the cold weather. Here is a vegan hot and sour soup that is rich yet light. It starts with three kinds of mushrooms, bamboo, dried soy beans, and melon - stewed for hours for a nice depth of flavor.
Since the ingredients in this soup vary in their cook times, the dish is cooked in stages. That way the bamboo and soy beans can stew over time while the winter melon cooks just enough to not get too soft.
4 shiitake mushrooms
2 liters of water
Dash of salt
1 winter bamboo shoot
Half cup Chinese dried yellow soy beans
Thin slice of ginger
4 cloves of garlic
2 oyster mushrooms
2 abalone mushrooms
2 dried whole chilis cut in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons of Chinese black vinegar
6 2-cm pieces of winter melon
STEP 1: START THE BROTH BASE
Cut the shiitake mushrooms into quarters. Shuck the winter bamboo, then slice into 2 cm chunks, and further cut the big bottom slices into quarters. In a large stockpot, combine the shiitakes, bamboo, soy beans, salt, and water. Put the pot over heat and bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer. These items cook the longest and form the basic broth.
Step 2: pREPARE THE mUSHROOMS
Slice the oyster mushrooms along the stem. Cut the abalone mushrooms into strips. Mince the garlic.
Step 3: Fry the spices
Place a wok on the stove and add the olive oil. Heat on high until the oil gets hot. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilis, stir fry for a few seconds, then push them to the side of the pan so they don’t burn.
Step 4: Brown THE mUSHROOMS
Add the mushrooms and let them cook until they lightly brown. Turn and brown the other side. Pour in the soy sauce and stir. Take these off the heat. Once the broth has been on the stove for 30 minutes, add these all into the broth.
Step 5: Add the winter melon
Chop the winter melon into large pieces – a bit larger than a bit so they can stay firm once boiled. When the broth has been on for 60 minutes, add the winter melon. Then add the vinegar.
Step 6: Finish
Cook for a final 30 minutes with all the ingredients in. Then serve.