The energizing ingredients in this soup are ginseng, which increases energy levels and restores strength after a long illness, and astragalus root, which is recognized for its beneficial effect on the immune system. It strengthens the lungs, helps to avoid colds, and eases any shortness of breath. Chinese black fungus is rich in phosphorus, amino acids, calcium, and iron.
- 1⁄2oz (15g) Chinese black fungus (hei mu er/Auricularia auricula),
- 1⁄2oz (15g) fresh or dried astragalus root,
- 1⁄2oz (15g) fresh or dried ginseng root,
- 6 shallots, trimmed with the skins left on,
- 3 garlic cloves, trimmed with the skins left on,
- 1 large carrot, scrubbed,
- 1in (2.5cm) cube ginger root, thinly sliced,
- 13⁄4 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms,
- 13⁄4 cups fresh oyster mushrooms,
- 1 large piece wakame seaweed, cut into small pieces, or 1 tbsp dried,
- 1⁄4 cup goji berries, pre-soaked if dried,
- 7oz (200g) soba noodles,
- 2–3 tbsp barley miso paste,
- 1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped,
- freshly ground black pepper.
Makes 4 servings
- Put the fungus, astragalus root, ginseng root, shallots, garlic, whole carrot, and ginger into a large saucepan, pour in 11⁄2 quarts (1.5 liters) of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over very low heat for 30 minutes with the lid on tightly.
- Remove the pan from the heat, strain the liquid through a colander or sieve, and pour it back into the pan. Discard the astragalus root and ginseng. Squeeze the garlic and shallots from their skins and add them back to the soup. Slice the fungus and carrot into small pieces and add them back to the soup. Stir in the mushrooms and wakame seaweed and bring the soup back to simmering point. Stir in the goji berries. After 10 minutes, add the soba noodles and let them cook through for 5–7 minutes.
- Serve in bowls. Everyone should add enough barley miso paste to their liking. Decorate with the parsley and a grinding of black pepper.