SHIITAKE MUSHROOM MISO SOUP
This is base for a delicious and easy broth soup. You can add other vegetables and the protein of your choice. Scallions are used for the early onset of colds and flus. Miso, or fermented soybeans, have been used for intestinal health as well alkalizing and reducing inflammation. Shitake mushrooms help with overall immunity.
- 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
- 6 cups of water
- Ginger – 1 inch, julienned
- 3 Scallions, chopped
- 4 -6 tbl miso of your choice (Red miso is commonly used in restaurants. Yellow miso has an earthy flavor. White miso is mild and sweeter.)
- Spinach leaves
- Tofu, cubed
- Protein of your choice
- Pumpkin seeds, slightly roasted for crunch
- Wakame seaweed
Bring water to a boil. Add dried shiitake mushrooms to rehydrate. Wait until softened about 10 minutes. Drain liquid and keep off to the side. Slice up the mushrooms. If the center stem is still too hard, you can discard or keep for use in other stocks.
Heat up mushroom stock. Add julienned ginger slices, chopped scallions and 1 tsp. of miso. Be sure to not boil the broth again since it will deactivate the live cultures of the miso. Serve immediately.
4 small servings
Notes: A dashi could be made using bonito flacks.
Congee or rice porridge is a common recipe in Chinese homes. It is eaten for breakfast and other times of the day. They will make congee when someone in the family is sick or rehabilitating after an illness. This soup is easily digested. It is nourishing and tonifying in general. In Chinese medicine, it is said to tonify Qi and blood, harmonize digestion and cool inflammation. And since rice rarely causes any kind of allergic reaction, it can be used by those who have intestinal disorders.
- 1 cup of jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup of sushi rice
- 6 cups of water
- 3 – 1 inch pieces of ginger
- Chicken bones
- Bone broth
- Broth of your choice
Served with the choice of the following:
- Chopped hard boiled egg
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped cilantro
- Any slightly sautéed vegetable or mushrooms
- Sesame seed oil for taste
- Soy or tamari sauce for taste and instead of salt
Measure rice in a ratio of at least 1 part rice to minimum 6 parts water. So, for example, you take one cup of rice to 6 cups of water. Long grain rice like jasmine or basmati can be used. You can also add a 1/4 cup of short grain rice like sushi rice. The short grain rice will just make the soup very smooth and creamy. It can be omitted.
Then, cook the congee from 4 to 6 hours, stirring it from the bottom to make sure that it does not stick to the bottom. You may have to add more hot water if the congee becomes too thick. You can tell that it is done when it is smooth all the way through. Depending on your preferences, you can cook the congee for a shorter period of time or long. Experiment with pressure cookers and timed pressure cookers.
Notes: Congee is typically made with white rice. A congee should be very easily digested to help with convalescing. This is why white rice is used. Experiment if brown rice is to your liking.
HERBAL CHICKEN SOUP
For those who are adventuresome, you can try cooking with Chinese herbs. At the end of this document, you will find a list of books that you can use as references in using Chinese dietary principles.
- 3 – 4 lbs. chicken
- 1 onion
- 4 celery stalks
- 2 leeks
Chinese herbs: (You can order these from local Chinese herbal pharmacy. Be sure to order these in raw form. If you wanted to try just a couple in your soup to help with building your immunity, try just Huang Qi/astragalus and Gou Qi Zi, goji berries.)
- Shu Di Huang, prepared rehmannia – 15 gr. (gives a bit of a deep, rich and slightly smoky taste to the soup.)
- Huang Qi, astragalus – 8 gr. (mild taste)
- Dang Shen, codonopsis – 12 gr. (mild taste)
- Hong Da Zao, red Chinese dates – 16 pc. (slightly sweet taste.)
- Bai He, lily bulb – 6 gr. (mild taste)
- Shao Yao, dioscorea, Chinese yam – 8 gr. (mild taste)
- Fu Ling, poria cocos mushroom 6 gr. (mild taste)
- Qian Shi, euryales or fox nut – 10 gr. (has a nutty taste.)
- Gou Qi Zi, goji berries – 10 gr. (slightly sweet taste.)
- Yu Zhu, Aolomon’s seal – 8 gr. (mild taste)
- Chuan Bei Mu, fritillaria – 6 gr. (mild taste)
- Chuan Xiong, ligusticum – 6 gr. (mild taste)
- Huai Niu Xi, achyranthis – 9 gr. (mild taste)
- Long Yan Rou, longan fruit – 6 gr. (slightly sweet taste.)
All of these herbs will impart an earthy and rich taste to the soup.
Add chicken bones and Chinese herbs. Add 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 2 hours. Remove from heat and strain out the bones and herbs. This will be the broth you will use for the soup.
Sauté onions, leeks and celery in a pot until translucent. Add vegetables of your choice such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, cabbage and mushrooms. Add water if necessary. Cook until vegetables are ready.
Add salt to taste.
Notes: In my regular chicken soup, I use onions, leeks, carrots, potatoes as the vegetables. I may have prepared the broth beforehand with chicken bones. I add thyme, bay leaves, black pepper and of course garlic. I add garlic at the beginning of the preparation and at the end before serving. Thyme and bay leaves help with sinus and lung congestion. I may serve the soup with chopped parsley or cilantro and a squirt of lemon. Lemon brings out a lot of flavor in soups if added at the end. Parsley and cilantro are detoxifying for blood.
This is the basis for a wide variety of soups I ate on a daily basis while living in Belgium. They eat soup every day.
- 2 large leeks
- 1 medium onion
- 2 medium potatoes
- 8 – 10 cups of water or broth of your choice
- 2 tbl. olive oil
Cut green section off of leeks. Clean leeks by splitting down the center and run under water to wash off any soil. Chop up leeks and onion. Sauté leeks and onions in a pot until translucent. If you want, you can peel potatoes or not. Dice up the potatoes and add to the pot. Add water or broth of your choice. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are cooked through about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and blend the soup until smooth. Add salt to taste.
CARROT & PARSNIP SOUP
You can substitute carrots, parsnips for the leeks for a carrot and parsnip soup. Carrots benefit the intestines and help with intestinal absorption. They are also beneficial to the lungs helping with cough.
You can substitute tomatoes for the leeks. I generally find that in season tomatoes are the best. If not, I might use 2 bay leaves and 4 garlic cloves. Tomatoes nourish Yin and fluids.
You can use celery stalks and celeriac root. I use the celeriac root to thicken the soup instead of potatoes. I also like to use the celery leaves instead of the stalks. Chinese celery is more bitter and helps to reduce heat conditions. It has been used to reduce hypertension.
Notes: Many vegetables can be cooked this way. The recipe remains the same. You can add other ingredients to the soup. What I have found is that using the freshest vegetables and not overcooking brings out the best flavor. You will not need to add much to any of these soup variations.
Making mushroom soup is a bit different. Flour is used to make a roux to thicken the soup instead of potatoes. You can thicken the soup with gluten free options such as potato starch. This is my mushroom soup that I have been making for years. It is a favorite of many guests.
- 1 lb. mushrooms of your choice
- 10 dried shitake mushrooms
- 1 medium onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 tbl. flour or potato starch
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of water to rehydrate shitake mushrooms
- 6 – 8 cups of water or broth of your choice
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbl. olive oil
Bring water to a boil. Add dried shitake mushrooms to rehydrate. Wait until softened about 10 minutes. Drain liquid. Be sure to keep the dark mushroom infused liquid. It will be added to the liquid of the soup. Slice up the mushrooms. If the center stem is still too hard, you can discard or keep for use in other stocks.
Chop up onion and celery. Sauté onions and celery in a pot until they soften. They do not have to be translucent. The onions will continue to cook when you add the mushrooms. Add the fresh mushrooms and continue the sauté until they soften and reduce. Add If using flour, add towards the end of the sauté. Add water or broth of your choice. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. If you are using potato starch, add at the end and stir as it will thicken the soup. Remove the bay leaves. Blend the soup until smooth. Add salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice to taste.
Note: Thyme and bay leaf help to break up phlegm. In the south of France, they told me to use fresh thyme and rosemary in a steam inhalation for congestion and phlegm. I have used even dried thyme and rosemary for steam inhalations.
Ken Glowacki, DACM, LAc, is a full-time faculty member and clinical supervisor at NUNM. He actively uses Chinese medicinal principles in cooking as well as giving dietary advice to patients. He uses a variety of treatment modalities including acupuncture, Chinese herbs, essential oils and bodywork.
He loves to take long walks with his dog, hike, garden, travel, and cook and share meals together with family and friends (when not social distancing).