Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

endless experiments with small things that bring joy to life

Recipe: Shiitake mushroom and pork soup

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As a child, I usually stayed up as late as my mom, to my dad’s dismay.  Once the clock stroke 12, I would usually complain that I was hungry.  As soon as he heard that, my dad would walk into the kitchen and 15 minutes later, voila, whipped together some type of simple but savory soup.  The recipe presented here is one of them.  The earthiness of the mushroom complemented the sweetness of the pork well.  It is a light and fulfilling dish, ideal for a late supper or midnight craving.

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 fresh shiitake mushroom, sliced*
  • 1 small piece of pork loin, sliced#
  • 1 stalk of green onion, biased cut
  • 1 bundle of Chinese vermicelli (bean threads)
  • 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • potato or corn starch
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste
*If fresh one is not readily available, it can be substituted with dried one, which need to be reconstituted by soaking them in cold water.
# It can be substituted with chicken or shrimp, if you are allergic or do not eat pork.
Directions:

1.  Slice mushroom and green onion.

2.  Slice the pork loin, and coat them with enough corn/ potato starch.  The starch will keep the meat tender while boiling.  Set it aside.

3.  Over medium heat, heat up a small sauce pot with enough vegetable oil.  Sauté the green onion until the edge is lightly browned.  Put in the mushroom.  Notice that the mushroom will soak up all the oil because of its spongy consistency, so do not put too much oil in the pot; otherwise, the soup will be very oily.  Stir constantly.

4.  Once the mushroom turn from white to light brown, add desired amount of water.  Turn down the heat to low-medium, so the broth can slowly simmer to bring out the flavor of the mushroom.

5.  Let the broth boil for 2-3 minutes, then put in the meat.  Make sure to stir and separate the meat, otherwise, you will get an unintentional meatball.  
6.  Put in the vermicelli.  Cooking time will vary depending on the consistency of the noodle.  Once the noodle is nearly opaque/ transparent, then it is done.  One of the good indicators is reboiling of the broth.  Be careful not to overcook the noodle.  It has the ability to suck up all the soup!

7.  Season the dish to taste.  Let the broth boil for another 30 seconds and remove from heat.
8.  You should have the dish immediately after to prevent total absorption of water by the noodle.

Bon appétit!  

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