This delicious soup is profoundly healthy – I actually call it my “Magical Medicinal Mushroom Soup” as it really is powerful – but that’s not such an appetising name, is it. So, “Happy Soup” it is. This soup contains a surprising ingredient, goji berries. These delicious berries have a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and are often included in healing foods like this, in Chinese culture. Called ‘Gou Qi Zi’, goji berries are used to slow down ageing, improve eyesight and act as a general tonic.
- 1 lb/450g baby bok choy, washed and separated (cut any large leaves in half vertically)
- 4 oz/120g vermicelli rice noodles
- 3 oz/85g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2oz/50g maitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 4 slices sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth (no-or low-salt, or make your own)
- Handful of goji berries
- Juice from ½ fresh lemon
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Seasoning to taste
- Place a large saucepan over medium/high heat.
- Add a centimetre of water to the pan and toss in the onion and all the spices, and cook until the onion is soft.
- Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes, or just until they begin to colour.
- Add the goji berries.
- Add the broth, lemon, and sun-dried tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until fragrant and broth begins
- Add the rice noodles and cook until soft but still a bit firm.
- Finally, add bok choy and cook just until they begin to wilt.
- You can use bottled lemon as it is convenient – but be warned, it contains sulphite preservatives – many people react badly to these.
- If using dried mushrooms, soak them in a little warm water for 20 minutes so that they rehydrate. Cut off any tough stalks (don’t throw away – save them to add to a smoothie – for ‘stealth nutrition!). You can add the resulting mushroom broth to the soup as it is really flavourful – but make sure that you don’t add any of the gritty bits that sometimes accompany dried mushrooms – so pour your broth in carefully – bar the last teaspoon or two.