Experimenting with more Asian ingredients is something I’m relishing now that I’m back in California. There are so many wonderful Asian stores out here like HMart (they have them in Chicago, too), 99 Ranch, Marukai, Tokyo Central & Main, and Mitsuwa Marketplace.
It’s there that I see the most variety of mushrooms as well as lots of other things, but to me particularly fascinating are the enoki mushrooms, large oyster mushrooms, shiitake and so much more. Of course you can go to the local farmers market for the delicate ones like chanterelles, when they’re in season, but these are the type you can typically find all year round.
In preparation for my interview with Eugenia Bone of The Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook, which you can watch here, I wanted to prepare a soup that was from the cookbook to showcase how lovely yet simple some of these recipes are.
I chose the Enoki Mushroom Soup recipe because there are simple and easy to find ingredients called for in this recipe, AND I wanted to discuss miso in terms of the Halal perspective on it.
Miso is a fermented soybean paste very popular in Japanese cooking. It’s umami taste is what gives a certain depth of flavor to dishes with just a small amount that is whisked into a liquid such as a soup broth. The problem from the Halal perspective is that it often contains alcohol, however, nowadays in Japan and other countries like Malaysia where Japanese food is also popular, there are certain brands of miso that are certified Halal and hence alcohol-free. Here in the States, I had to sift through each and every container of Miso at the 99-ranch store and find the ONE that was free of any alcohol. I even double-checked with someone working at the store to make sure I was reading the label correctly and he assured me this particular brand and container of Yamabuki Milder Miso was in fact, alcohol-free. Yay, I was on my way.
Recipe by Dipa Chauhan adapted from the Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook.
ENOKI MUSHROOM SOUP
1 tablespoon grape seed oil (the original recipe calls for avocado oil, but I didn’t have it so I decided to use another neutral-tasting oil. Just heat either one very gently).
5 ounces enoki mushrooms, chopped into 1-to-2-inch pieces (if you cannot find enoki mushrooms, you can use others such as small shiitake or cremini mushrooms, but they may take longer to cook because they are thicker)
8 ounces extra-firm organic tofu, diced
One to two 10-inch fresh scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 cups mushroom broth, water or chicken stock
3 tablespoons alcohol-free mild miso (usually without soy sauce)
2 ounces rice noodles (fine or medium)
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Sea salt, to taste
Chili oil for finishing
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil gently over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, tofu, scallions and garlic. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until the enoki mushrooms are soft.
Add the broth or water and the miso paste. Turn the heat up to high and stir to dissolve the miso. When the miso has dissolved and the soup is boiling, add the rice noodles. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the noodles are tender.
Divide the soup equally into four bowls and garnish each bowl with a pinch of the cilantro, salt and a dash of chili oil, if you like.
To get a copy of the Fantastic Fungi Cookbook, click here.
To watch my interview with Eugenia Bone, click here.