White Tree Fungus in Clear Broth (Canh Moc Nhi Trang Recipe)

Yum
  • Preparation: 25 mins
  • Cooking: 1 mins
  • Skill level: Easy
  • Servings: 4

Description White Tree Fungus in Clear Broth Recipe (Canh Mộc Nhĩ Trắng)

Vietnamese cooking, like Chinese cooking, takes texture seriously. In fact, ingredients such as dried white tree fungus, a highly prized relative of the wood ear, lack flavor but offer interesting texture. Crunchy, resilient, and gelatinous, white tree fungus is expensive when compared with regular mushrooms and most other fungi and is thus saved for special occasions. It looks like crinkly, golden sponges and is sold in boxes or plastic bags at Chinese and Viet markets.
It is important to use a good chicken stock in this recipe. Both the mild-flavored fungus and the vegetables need the contrast of a rich backdrop. The resulting soup will remind you of an underwater scene, the florets of white tree fungus suspended like silvery blades of seaweed among the orange carrot slices and bright green snow peas. For extra flair, add hand-shredded poached chicken breast along with the carrot.

Ingredients

  • 1½ ounces dried white tree fungus (2 or 3 whole ones)
  • 7 cups chicken stock, homemade or quick version
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into rounds or scored and thinly sliced into decorative pieces
  • 12 snow peas, trimmed, strings removed, and cut on the diagonal into ½-inch-wide pieces
  • Black pepper
  • Leaves from 5 or 6 sprigs cilantro

Method White Tree Fungus in Clear Broth Recipe (Canh Mộc Nhĩ Trắng)

1, Put the white tree fungus in a bowl and add warm water to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. The fungus will lighten, double in size, and become pliable. Drain and gently squeeze out the excess water. Break into 1-inch florets with your fingers, removing bits of dirt along the way. If the stem hasn’t been well trimmed or seems too hard to chew easily, cut it off. You should have about 2½ cups total.
2, In a 4-quart saucepan, bring the stock to a boil over high heat, and then lower the heat to a simmer. Salt the stock to taste and add the fungus and sugar. Let the soup simmer for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and continue cooking for 3 minutes longer, or until the carrot is tender but still firm. Add the snow peas and cook for 1 minute, or until tender and bright green.
3, Taste and add extra salt for greater depth, if necessary. If there are overly sour notes from the fungus, add a little more sugar. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl or individual soup bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of pepper and the cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

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