I remember I didn’t like mushroom very much when I was a small child, in fact I was frighten of them ever since I saw some small grayish-looking mushrooms growing on the legs of the little wooden stool on our balcony. For a child who was growing up in the middle of the city, the sight of fungus creeping up from her little beloved stool was ghastly. Although it was’t exactly a childhood trauma, but it had haunted me for some time, it took my parents a long while to explain to me that it was the way how mushroom grew (perhaps not on a stool literally) and persuade me that it was delicious and most importantly, it was packed full of nutrients which I needed if I wanted to grow bigger and stronger (ironically this is what I tell my daughter nowadays when she refuses to eat certain food!) Although I later on agreed with my parents that I would eat mushroom again, but I didn’t enjoy eating it at all or I would try very hard to find some excuses to avoid having any type of mushroom landed on my bowl.
But after I moved to London many years later, on one sunny Sunday morning in Chapel Market in North London, I changed my attitude towards mushroom completely! I saw a stall selling nothing but mushrooms, I was dazzled by the varieties of mushroom there were in this tiny stall: Crimini, Portabella, Oyster, Shiitake (it was my first time to see fresh Shiitake, as we only had dried one back home when I was a child), King Oyster, Chanterelle, Enoki, Morels and the list went on. The lady who looked like she was in her 30s with dark blond hair tied loosely into a bun, smiling and chatting friendly with some customers about her mushrooms. She was so passionate about her produce so I couldn’t help but stood next to several people who were also spellbound by her charm and of course with the useful information she gave on how to cook and make the best out of these funny looking gems. I supposed she was such a good saleswoman, at the end, I bought a big paper bagful of Crimini and King Oyster, and went to next stall to buy a pot of fresh thyme. On the way home, I bought a loaf of crusty sourdough from an amazing bakery on Upper Street, then hurried home to make my very first sautéed mushroom on toast, with lots of butter!
Since that one morning in Islington, my love for mushroom has been continually growing, I have cooked many different types and with many different methods. My favorite way to cook them is sautéed them with a few slices of garlic in a mixture of olive oil and butter, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, a sprinkle of thyme or rosemary (fresh or dried), fry the mushroom until golden brown and crispy. Most importantly, add a small knob of butter towards the end to give the mushroom some creaminess. Crumble a small pinch of flaky sea salt with your fingers on top just before serving, add chili flakes if you are after some heat.
Topping sautéed buttery mushrooms on bread is by no mean the only way to serve these velvety and earthy jewels, I add them in silky scrambled eggs, on pizza, on my favorite rice bowl, in noodle dishes or even treat it as a spongy, luscious bed for a perfect crispy fry egg.
But today, I served them on miso soup accompanies by blanch edamame. Brown rice is a welcome addition whenever you feel like a more substantial meal. Since I grew up with rice served in soup, therefore this recipe gives me absolute comfort and soothes my occasional homesickness.
Note: this recipe can easily be double, but be easy on the miso paste, depends on how salty it is, always add half a tablespoon at a time in the stock and taste before you add more. I love to add dried shiitake mushroom and a small handful of dried shrimps in the stock to give it an extra umami flavour, but it is totally optional.
Miso Soup with Mixed Mushrooms, Edamame and Brown Rice
Serves 2 (easily double)
For the miso soup:
- 750ml Dashi stock (or vegetable stock, chicken stock)
- 1 tbsp. of Miso paste (plus more if needed)
- A small handful of dry shrimps (optional)
- 1 dried shiitake mushroom, leave it whole (optional)
For the mushrooms:
- 150g mixed mushrooms (I used here fresh shiitake, chestnut, and Shimeji)
- vegetable oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- I small clove of garlic, sliced
- Flaky sea salt
For the rest:
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 200g Edamame
First prepare the miso soup, add dried shiitake and dried shrimps (if used) in the dashi stock, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Turn the heat down to low and add in the miso paste and stir until it fully dissolves. Keep warm and set aside.
Warm up the cook brown rice if it is from over night, keep warm and set aside.
Boil the edamame for 5 minutes or according to package instruction, keep warm and set aside.
Warm a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan, add garlic and cooked for half a minute (careful not to let them burn), remove the garlic slices, and then add mushrooms, sauté them with a couple of turns of black pepper. Fry until they take on a nice brown colour, shake the pan a few times during cooking so the mushrooms are cooked evenly. After about 3 minutes or once they are cooked, add another knob of butter to the pan and remove from heat, shake the pan again, so that the mushrooms are coated with the silky melted butter.
To assemble the dish: ladle miso soup in warm bowl and add a cup of brown rice each in the bowl. Topped with sautéed mushroom, blanch edamame, and serve immediately.