Winter Warming Hot & Sour Soup

We have a bunch of logs that we put shiitake spawn into and every now and then (usually after a downpour) they produce shiitake mushrooms. It’s all part of our trying to live off the land as much as possible, avoiding all the crappy packaging, living lightly, working with, not against this beautiful earth, appreciating the changing seasons and enjoying the fruits of the seasons when they happen. So when the other day our mushroom logs exploded with the most mushrooms we’ve ever seen I searched the internet for shiitake mushroom recipes. I found this recipe by Jamie Oliver. As usual, I have altered the recipe because I didn’t have all the ingredients! It was delicious and really excited me as I now have another recipe which I know I’ll be making again and again just with slight variations.

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chillies
  • sea salt
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 250 g shitake mushrooms or some other meaty mushrooms (never button mushrooms because they bore me out of my mind and they will do nothing, I tell you, nothing for flavour, ever!
  • 225 g thin noodles of some kind
  • vegetable oil
  • soy sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • Big fat pinch of white or black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1.5 litres hot organic vegetable/ chicken stock
  • 2 spring onions or 1 white onion as it isn’t spring!
  • ½ bunch of chives or something similar
  • 1 or 2 free-range eggs

What next….?

Peel the garlic and take most of the seeds out of the chillies, then roughly chop and place into a pestle and mortar. Bash with a pinch of salt to a rough paste. Peel, finely chop and add the ginger, then bash until broken down and combined.

Slice the mushrooms. Heat a lug of oil in a large wok or heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and fry for 4 minutes, or until lightly golden. Stir in the chilli paste and fry for a further minute.

Meanwhile, mix together 3 tablespoons of soy, 4 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar, the honey and a good pinch of white or black pepper. Stir the mixture into the pan and cook for a minute, add the white onion if that’s what you have, then pour in the hot stock and bring gently to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes adding the rice noodles/thin noodles a few minutes before the end so they cook in the stock and yumminess.

Chop the chives or whatever green herb you’re using as decoration and whisk the egg well.

Once reduced, remove the soup from the heat. Using a chopstick, stir the soup in a clockwise direction until you get a little whirlpool, then slowly add the beaten egg, stirring continuously to form thin ribbons. (Mine didn’t look at all like ribbons but added another texture which was yum) Then serve immediately with the spring onions (if you have any) and chives/other garnish you have, scattered on top.

It’s perfect for a cold weather. Ingredients that Jamie Oliver suggested were bamboo shoots and tofu. I didn’t have these but added water chestnuts as I had some tucked away.