Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Daikon and Mushroom Soup

Daikon and mushrooms make a good soup. The lady in my local Chinese grocery says I should use dried White Flower Mushrooms, and in the name of authenticity I tried them once. However, I found I prefer the texture of fresh local shitake or even plain old white mushrooms, so now I use them instead.

The soup succeeds or fails on the basis of the stock. If you plan to use powdered stock, forget it and cook something else. You could try a liquid stock, but I find liquid stocks overpoweringly salty. Instead, it's worth making a chicken stock.

You can prepare a stock especially for this soup from a chicken carcass, a few slices of fresh ginger, two peeled cloves of garlic, two spring onions split lengthways, some dried mushrooms and two litres of water. Alternatively, make a big batch of normal chicken stock, use some for this, and keep the rest for something else. Once the stock is ready, the soup is very quick to make.

According to my recipe book, daikon and mushroom soup is eaten for breakfast in Korea. Philistines that we are, we eat it for dinner served alongside rice and vegetables.

Daikon and Mushroom Soup

- 1 daikon, diced small
- 10 to 15 fresh mushrooms, diced
- 200g mung bean sprouts
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1½ litres chicken stock
- coriander, optional

Bring the stock to the boil. Throw in the mushrooms and daikon, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until the daikon is tender.

Add the bean sprouts, and simmer for a few more minutes. Add the soy sauce and sugar, and serve.

A few leaves of coriander floating on the surface make a lovely finish.

Adapted from a recipe in Korean Cooking by Hilaire Walden.

(Local: daikon, mushrooms, bean sprouts, most of the chicken stock. Not local: soy sauce, sugar.)

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