Do I Make ... ?
Mushroom Soup or Guo Tongei
One Chinese we regularly visit in the small town of
Lah't Lau (Leiliu) in Shunde offers one of the most
amazing soups I have ever been fortunate to taste. It
is a tangy soup similar to Borsch with 5 or more types
of added mushrooms and wafers of sour orange or grapefruit.
The restaurant would not give me the recipe unfortunately,
so I have emulated and improved it for the western palate.
||Jonno, China Expats, Foshan, China
|Jonno is a keen chef for friends
and family. He has cooked and interpolated many
dishes over the years, and invented ones of his
own: Most notably 'Splodge', which is vaguely
based upon Italian cuisine
1. You will need to plan ahead to cook
this dish, but know it is really quick and easy to make.
|Let's get started:-
Chinese Tangy Mushroom Soup
• 1 tin Russian Borsch
• 5 types of assorted mushrooms
• 1 sharp orange sliced wafer thin
• Zest of half an orange
• Salt and pepper
Mushrooms: (Our Chinese
mushroom page relates)
Your choice of mushrooms is entirely up to you,
and what is available that day in the wet market.
We suggest the following:
Chinese stick mushrooms (Enoki or snowpuff
mushrooms) - these are white and a thin strip
about 3 or 4 inches long. They have a very small
round crown, and usually come in bunches, which
you should break apart a little.
2. Chinese egg mushrooms. These
are a creamy gray colour and between 1 and 2 inches
long. They look exactly like small eggs. Prepare
these by chopping into halves or quarters.
Chinese fan mushrooms (Oyster). These
are known in the west but I do not know their
real name. They come in various sizes and are
sold as blocks. They are notable for being fluted
and look like a long thin flower petal. White
ones are usually fresher. If you buy them in a
clump, then break them down to individual florets.
4. Chinese brown mushrooms are
know as Chinese Black Mushrooms or Shiitake. These
are normally sold dried in plastic bags in supermarkets,
and have a cross on the top. If you can find these
fresh then they are a lot better. If not, then
you should soak these for several hours at least,
and overnight is preferred. If you do this, then
save the water to use for thinning the soup. As
long as these are not very wide, I would not cut
5. I like to use a traditional
button mushroom as the final ingredient, although
you can add whatever takes your fancy, and as
many types of mushroom as you like. Standard or
brown caps are good, and size is important re
presentation. If I have small mushrooms, then
I would simply wash them and add to the pot. If
they are larger, then I would break off the stem,
and probably cut the crown in two.
Herbs and spices:
• I use salt and pepper for taste only,
and freshly ground black pepper is great for adding
a slightly hot tang. I use refined salt as it
works better than rock salt. Add the salt as the
very final ingredient, as I think salt fixes the
final flavour of any dish it is used in.
• There is a
Chinese long thin chewy root thing that has medicinal
properties. You can add this, but it will need
a long soak first to stop it being chewy.
• You will also find at
dried food stalls around the wet market something
that looks like strips if birch. This is another
medicinal preparation, and again should be soaked
for an hour or so before adding to the soup.
• Parsley or Basil are great, but probably
unobtainable in your location. You can use fresh
Coriander leaves, but only add a little as these
in China are generally very powerful and could
overwhelm the delicate flavours of the dish.
Whilst you can use sweet orange, I prefer one
with a sharp taste. Once you have this recipe
cracked, you could change this for Lime, or Grapefruit.
You have the option to add tomatoes to this dish
which enhances the flavour. Either cube one standard
size or add several cherry tomatoes half way through.
|1. Put the tinned
soup in a pan and bring to a simmer. You will
probably be using Campbell's Brand condensed soup,
so add two of these tins to serve 4 people. Thin
as recommended on the can with either boiled water
or the juice from soaking the dried mushrooms
2. Add the
thinly sliced semi-sour orange. It should be wafer
thin and almost see-through.
the mushrooms and leave to gently simmer for 10
4. Add black pepper
5. Check taste
6. Adjust as necessary and fix
the flavour with a little salt and leave simmering
for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Serve in soup bowls or turn
down heat to very low.
For the authentic Chinese presentation, then you
should actually cook this in an earthenware Chinese
soup vessel - available at specialist stores around
the wet market. These are fine to be used on a
gas ring, but be careful if using full heat at
the beginning as these are designed for slow cooking
only. Check temperature also, as the lid keeps
heat in and this may overflow if not watched.
Using this method cooking time would be nearer
to 1-hour instead of 15 minutes.
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably
supported by our friends and various internet portals.