Earthy Mushroom Soup

Okay, so whenever I see “earthy” in any recipe I immediately get suspicious.  Why do I want to eat something that’s like dirt????  After I took a sip of this soup I just had to have a moment of silence, because (probably to people’s delight) for once I had nothing to say.  That’s how decadent this savory soup is!  Adapted from Mark Bittman, this is such a great autumn dish that is incredibly easy.

If you do live in Shanghai, it would be great to check out 草菇 (caogu)for this recipe.  In English it’s called a paddy straw mushroom.  It’s the same mushroom other than shitake that’s used in Chinese cooking and I picked these up because unpeeled, they look like quail eggs and were just bursting with flavor.

egg or vegetable?

egg or vegetable?

earthy mushroom soup


Earthy Mushroom Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes                        Cooking time: 30 minutes                      Servings:  4 people

Budget for ingredients: 40RMB (if you go to the wet market)

Cutting board
2 Pots

3 handfuls of mushrooms (approx. 3-4 cups)  I chose paddy straw, shitake, and shimeiji
4 T butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 celery stalks
1 block of vegetable soup
1/4 c soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Strips of dried seaweed


  1. Chop up mushrooms and put it in a pot with high heat with pats of butter until it starts to release liquid.  Should take around 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add all other veggies and cook until onion turns translucent.
  3. Pour in soy sauce & veggie cube with  around 3 cups of water, and cook the soup until all vegetables are tender.
  4. Sprinkle on salt & pepper to taste.  Top with the dried nori (seaweed) and mix it in until it turns soft too.  Serve immediately.

Pumpkin coconut soup

So fall/winter/the holiday season is upon us, and I am really excited to share this recipe with you!  It is a luscious, rich soup that makes me happy that it is so freezing outside!  It was originally going to be adapted from Global Gourmet, but as usual, I have tweaked the recipe to my own tastes and to more accessible items in the Japanese supermarket–in particular the 金時人参 (きんときにんじん) kintoki ninjin, or Kyoto red carrot.  This carrot is a blood red color and is so sweet and much better than the regular carrot!  The recipe also calls for only using the white part of the scallions, which apparently have a more mild flavor than the green part.  The accompanying photo was taken by my talented friend Cat.  I got to be a model for a day.  Please check out her website!


pumpkin coconut soup
Soup in a breadbowl!

Pumpkin coconut soup

Prep time: 20 minutes                Cooking time: 20-25 minutes              Servings: 6

Budget for ingredients: ¥1000


1 grater
1 masher
1 pot


1 kabocha pumpkin (the only kind you can get here, with the green rind)
2 kintoku carrots
1 T fresh grated ginger
1 T chopped garlic
3 blocks of consommé
1 bunch of scallions (only the white part), chopped
1 can coconut milk
1 package Italian parsley, chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and white pepper to taste


1. Remove seeds from the pumpkin.   Wash and place in pot, and add enough water that 2/3 of the pumpkin is covered.  I leave the pumpkin in halves.

2. Chop carrots into coins and drop it in the pot.  Add grated ginger,garlic, and consommé.

3.  Bring to a boil, and remove pumpkin peel with tongs after it has softened.

4. Although this is probably not the correct procedure, I usually just stick my masher in at this point to mush up the mixture.  Much faster than just stirring with a wooden spoon!  Slightly dangerous but whatever.

5.  Turn down the heat, and add in chopped scallions and coconut milk.

6. Heat the soup through without boiling.  Add parsley, juice from the lime, and salt and pepper to taste.