Updated: Jul 19
This soup is a light summer soup, very nutritious and delicious. This variation, from those seen is traditional Chinese restaurants, is different, lighter and with a delicate flavor. The umami from the mushrooms set a deep tone to the soup that is enhanced by the ginger. The scallions and the fresh cilantro add herb and fresh notes that balance the soup. The soup is light and clear, not loaded with thickening agents like cornstarch, that make it goopy. This is what sets this soup apart, other than the beautiful balanced flavors. This is a delicious way to get some tofu into your diet. The soup is super simple to make, so no standing in front of the hot stove on summer days. The recipe calls for the ingredients to be added in rapid succession, so have all the chopping and prep work completed before you start cooking the soup.
This is a wonderful cookbook that specializes in soups for all seasons. Deborah Madison is one of the first chefs to start the farm-to-table movement in the Bay Area and her recipes reflect her expertise with vegetables and fresh produce. I have a number of her wonderful cookbooks, each one a masterpiece.
For more wonderful soup recipes from this cookbook, click here.
4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 5 cups hot water for 1 hour
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon ginger paste
Salt, to taste
2 teaspoons jalapeño or green chilies, diced finely, or to taste
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup cilantro stems, finely minced
10-12 scallions, finely minced
1 cup celery, or Chinese celery, finely diced
1/2 pack soft tofu, diced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon soy sauce
A few drops sesame oil
Heat a soup pot with the peanut oil for 30 seconds till the oil is hot and has roasted a bitt. Add the ginger and salt and stir to cook for 20 seconds till the ginger no longer raw. Add the green chilies and garlic and stir for an additional 1 minute. Add the cilantro stems and sti-fry for an additional minute till the stems are soft and cooked.
Add the scallions and cook on low heat for 2 minutes till the scallions are soft but brightly colored. Add the celery and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Strain the soaking liquid from the mushrooms, squeezing them to get every last drop. Add to the soup and bring to a simmer.
Meanwhile, dice the mushrooms to thin slices. Add to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
The soup can be prepped to this point and left. Finish the soup right before you serve it.
Finish the soup by adding the tofu an simmering for 2-3 minutes till the tofu is well heated through. Add the cilantro, stir through and take off the flame.
Serve immediately with a few drops of sesame oil drizzled on top.