Vegan Mushroom & Rice Soup

This is a very laissez-faire recipe actually: the aromatic broth can be made days ahead and can be frozen too. Packed full of flavour, it offers a cornucopia of delectation and does so persuasively that I use it as the base for many recipes.

If you can’t get bok choy, don’t be put off making this; baby spinach, napa cabbage, red cabbage, celery, sorrel or mustard greens could be substituted. Similarly, replace rice with other cooked grain or millets. And this recipe is worth bearing in mind even when your starting point is not meat: if you were to bung in some prawns or leftover chicken at the end, this would make for a fabulous dinner for omnivores.

What you will need – (for 4 servings)

For the broth:

  1. Shiitake mushrooms – 6-7 dried (roughly 80g)
  2. Peanut oil – 2 tablespoon
  3. Red onion – 1 medium (roughly 60g), quartered
  4. Carrot – 2 medium (roughly 120g), chopped in large chunks
  5. Lemongrass stalks – 2, bashed with the back of a knife and trimmed to 1 inch pieces
  6. Galangal root – 2 inch, sliced thick
  7. Garlic cloves – 5-6, unpeeled, smashed
  8. Bird’s eye chillies – 3-4 (1 gram), slit
  9. Kaffir lime leaves – 4-5, torn
  10. Water – 5 cups or as needed
  11. Spring onion – 2 stalks, white parts removed
  12. Soy Sauce – 3 tablespoon
  13. Rice Wine Vinegar – 3 tablespoon
  14. Coconut Sugar – 1 tablespoon
  15. Black peppercorns – 6-7, roughly crushed
  16. Star anise – 3
  17. Sea Salt flakes – 1/2 teaspoon

For add on:

  1. Rice – 1/3 cup, uncooked (I use unpolished sonamasoori, but any brown rice should work just as well)
  2. White button mushrooms – 7-8, sliced (roughly 80 g)
  3. Shiitake mushroom tops – 6-7 (reserved from the broth)
  4. Carrot – 1 small, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  5. Baby Bok choy – 1, stems and leaves chopped into 1 inch chunks
  6. A few sprigs of fresh coriander and some chopped spring onion
  7. Chilli oil and toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Method –
  1. Soak Shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for atleast an hour. Once rehydrated, separate stalks from the tops and reserve everything, soaking liquid included.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy pan on medium heat and add quartered onions. Leave untouched for 2 mins or till the onions are lightly browned. This golden carapace helps build flavour, careful not to burn it to a blackened crisp.
  3. Now add garlic, lemongrass, galangal root and carrots. Sauté for 5 mins.
  4. Once the carrots have lightly brown edges, add in soaking liquid and stalks from the shiitake mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, coconut sugar, black peppercorns, star anise, spring onion and sea salt. Top with 5 cups water or more, enough to cover everything.
  5. Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour.
  6. Meanwhile, cook the rice, sauté white button mushrooms and bok choy stems. Set aside.
  7. Once the broth is done, strain with a fine mesh strainer.
  8. Add to a bowl and top with add ons as desired. I prefer to add 1/4 cup cooked rice per serving and lots of bok choy.
  9. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, chilli oil and serve

Storage notes –

Broth can be made and kept for 4-5 days in the fridge or frozen for up to a month.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Sweet Sunshine Soup

If you are looking for food to feel cheered, this would be the answer. And if the sprightly, mood-boosting yellowness of it is not enough of a clincher, it might help to know it’s a doddle to make. The silkiness comes from the pumpkin and carrots which are quickly blitzed in a hot oven, then blended with some coconut milk. There’s nothing more to it, given that you can excuse the tweeness of the title and it’s a soup to banish the blues.

I tend to always have a stash of roasted veggies in the fridge and that’s certainly a case of cracking convenience. But even if you were to roast the vegetables to order, you need to do nothing else while they’re in the oven, and not much after.

I like this velvety smooth with a scattering of seeds though you can make it as liquidized or as rough as you please. And if you’re poutily pursuing protein, you should obviously take the legume route.

What you will need – (for 4 servings)

  • Pumpkin – 100 g, seeds removed
  • Carrots – 600g (about 6 medium sized), slit in half lengthwise
  • Garlic cloves – 4-5 lightly bashed
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Paprika/Chilli flakes – 1/2 teaspoon (adjust to taste)
  • Chilli powder – 1/4 teaspoon 
  • Salt – 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Fresh thyme – 3-4 sprigs
  • Olive oil – 2 tablespoon
  • Coconut milk – 400 ml (approx 2 cups), or use veggie broth for a thinner consistency
  • For Garnish: Fresh herbs, microgreens, sundried tomatoes, nuts or seeds (optional)
Method –
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a small bowl mix together cumin, paprika, chilli powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle sliced pumpkin and carrots with olive oil (I leave the pumpkin skin on while roasting because I find it easier to remove once baked; if you want to peel it before, please do). Sprinkle the spice mix, bashed garlic cloves and thyme. Toss so everything is well coated. Arrange on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 mins. The edges will have lightly browned. Once done, take the sheet out and allow to cool for 10 mins.
  4. Remove thyme sprigs and add the rest to a blender.
  5. Top with coconut milk and pulse to achieve a smooth consistency.
  6. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Garnish with microgreens or seeds and a little drizzle of coconut milk or olive oil and serve.

Storage notes –

Keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!