Shrimp and Snow Fungus Soup

Shrimp and Snow Fungus Soup

 From June 22, 2008:  I love going to the Asian market.  Everytime I go I pick up one or two items that I have never had before.  Then I go through my cookbooks and look online for ways to use the ingredients.  This week I got dried snow fungus and Oriental water spinach (mung toi).  Both of these ingredients  have various names.  For instance the snow fungus is called white fungus, silver fungus, silver ear, white ear, and peony fungus.  I didn’t have much luck finding recipes using these ingredients that appealed to me, so I created this soup.  It’s delicate.  I actually added some julienned Oriental water spinach to my soup, but I wouldn’t do it again because it’s flavor kinda took over the soup (it wasn’t horrible).  I really liked the snow fungus.  It was slightly crunchy with a delicate flavor.  It’s definitely an ingredient I will incorporate into other recipes.

Shrimp and Snow Fungus Soup

½ ounce dried snow fungus (about ¼ cup), reconstituted in hot water for about 10 minutes (until soft and expanded), then chopped coarsely after cutting away its hard knobs. 
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
¼ lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 egg, lightly whisked
fish sauce, to taste
black pepper, to taste
fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Chili-garlic sauce

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat, then sauté the shallot for about a minute. Stir in the shrimp and cook another minute.  Add the stock, then stir in the fungus. Bring to a simmer.  When ready to serve, pour in the egg in a slow, steady stream, stirring slowly to form ribbons. Remove from heat, season with fish sauce and black pepper, and ladle into bowls. At the last minute, sprinkle with the finely minced cilantro. Pass the chili-garlic sauce separately.

The snow fungus is pretty.  This is a picture before it is rehydrated.  It really does look like a peony.


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