Chinese mushroom and chicken soup

Serves 4 . 30 minutes. very easy, _gluten free. vegetarian option; use vegetable stock and replace chicken with tofu just before serving.

1500ml chicken stock
50g light soy sauce
50g Hua Tiao cooking wine
200g free range chicken thigh, finely sliced
20g finely chopped ginger and garlic (50% ginger:50% garlic)
4 dried chillies – optional
24 annatto buds
80g wood fungus, washed, drained and finely shredded
80g gold oyster mushrooms, separated. see tip 1.
80g shemeji mushrooms, gently pulled apart
200g green daikon, peeled and diced
celery leaves
100g white daikon, peeled and julienned. see tip 2.
4 teaspoons sesame peanut chilli relish (available from all Chinese grocers)
4 medium tightly closed Swiss Brown mushrooms, finely sliced sea salt
black pepper, freshly ground
50g Egg Enriched Bechamel _see tip 2.

Put about one third of the chicken stock into a saucepan and add half of the soy and cooking wine. Bring to the boil, stir through the chicken, turn the heat off and leave in a warm place. see tip 3.

In another pot put the remaining chicken stock, soy, cooking wine, ginger/garlic, dried chillies and annatto and bring it to the boil. Add the wood fungus and oyster mushrooms, stir through, then turn the heat down to a gently simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the shemeji, stir through and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the daikon dice and celery leaves and heat for another minute. Check that the chicken is just set and divide it between four bowls. Divide the soup between the bowls. The julienned daikon and relish can either be added to the soup just before serving or if you are not sure just how much chilli everyone likes serve them on small side dishes.

To turn this soup into the main meal add rice or wheat noodles

In China where their cooks have had far more experience with cooking different types of mushroom, they always cook Golden oysters, abalone and oyster mushrooms very well before eating them. It is advice we have learned to follow. Also when this group of mushrooms are no longer sound they give off a distinct ammoniated smell like a really bad cheese. do not eat the mushrooms if they have this smell.
There is a nifty gadget found in all Chinese grocers that looks like a grater with two rows of teeth. It is actually a julienne tool and for about $8 makes perfect fine julienne of most crunchy vegetables.
If you are just cooking for the family and donÍt care if the soup remains clear, add the chicken at the same time as the daikon.

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