I cooked this for a gathering at AA and EM's place 2 Saturdays ago. EM liked it very much and has been asking me for the recipe. Last Friday EM came over to my place earlier (before the start of our French-Chinese lesson) and I took the chance to show her how to cook this.
The "bamboo fungus with spinach soup" is inspired by the "braised spinach soup with bamboo fungus" from the Ling Zhi vegetarian restaurant in Singapore.
Bamboo fungus with spinach soup 竹笙翡翠汤
Ingredients for 4-5 large individual servings:
Vegetable soup stock. We used miso paste instead, roughly 1 tablespoon of miso for each large individual bowl/serving of soup. Note: Do not use meat soup base, especially not beef stock because it will overpower the subtle flavour of the bamboo fungus.
10g of bamboo fungus 竹笙
8g-10g of black moss 发菜
80g of finely chopped spinach. We used the frozen chopped spinach.
1 small bundle of mung bean vermicelli 冬粉
100g enoki mushrooms
Salt or soya-sauce to flavour. Note: We skipped this since miso contains salt itself.
Optional: Sweetener, e.g. sugar, molasses, or honey. We used 1 tablespoon of pure liquid molasses. If using honey, control the amount so that it would not overpower the subtle flavour of the bamboo fungus.
Optional: 10 water-chestnuts, diced for additional crunch in the soup.
Note: All measures are approximate, add more/less as per your preference. As I explained to EM, Chinese cooking often do not rely on exact measures because so much is determined by the quality of the ingredients. If you have an excellent quality ingredient, you may want to add less; and conversely add more if the ingredient quality isn't so great; so as to maintain the overall harmony of the flavours.
Clockwise from top-left: Mung bean vermicelli, chopped spinach, enoki mushrooms, black moss.
Bamboo fungus and black moss
1. Rinse the bamboo fungus. Slow-cook it for 1-2 hours with about 5 bowls of water and the soup stock. The longer you cook, the more the flavour of the bamboo fungus will develop in the soup. [Note: If you're in a hurry, even 30min of cooking time is also ok, just that the exquisite flavour of the bamboo fungus will not be so developed.]
2. Rinse the other ingredients.
3. Chop and throw away the dirty roots of the enoki mushrooms. Chop into 3 approximately-equal segments lengthwise. Split the large clumps (lower end, near the roots) into smaller clumps about 1cm x 1cm thick.
4. If using frozen chopped spinach, defrost it in the microwave.
5. At the final 15min of cooking time, add the mung bean vermicelli into the slow-cooker. [Be careful of the steam when opening the slow-cooker.]
6. At the final 10min of cooking time, add the black moss into the slow-cooker. Stir to distribute the ingredients. Do not overcook the black moss or it will break apart into tiny 0.5cm strands. [Be careful of the steam when opening the slow-cooker.]
7. At the final 5min of cooking time, add the spinach, enoki mushrooms, and water chestnuts (if using). Stir the ingredients to distribute it. Taste a tablespoon of the soup and add sweetener to adjust the flavour.
8. Scoop into serving bowls and serve immediately. Do not let the soup sit around or the mung bean vermicelli will expand and absorb most of the liquid.
Sorry, no final product photo. We were so happy eating that we forgot to take a photo of the completed dish again. :) If you need a sample, I recommend that you go to Ling Zhi vegetarian restaurant in Singapore to try the original "braised spinach soup with bamboo fungus".