Today's vegetarian soup is tasty and it has medicinal qualities. The three medicinal ingredients in this soup are ginkgo nut, wood ear mushroom (cow's ear fungus) and galangal. Galangal is known as blue ginger and it has a nice earthy, citrus, ginger kind of flavor. Galangal is a natural blood thinner and antioxidant. Ginkgo nuts are a very strong antioxidant and they help to ward off the common cold. A steady diet of ginkgo nuts will cause the skin to become smooth, silky and healthy. Wood ear mushrooms are a strong immune system booster and they also have anti aging properties.
You might say that today's recipes qualifies as a rejuvenating fountain of youth soup. Many chefs in Asia and India say that food is medicine. That is food for thought!
Winter Melon Soup with Ginkgo Nuts, Tofu, Wood Ear Mushrooms and Water Chestnuts:
This recipe yields 1 large portion of soup! (About 3 cups)
Step 1: Soak 4 or 5 dried wood ear mushrooms in 2 cups of water overnight in a refrigerator.
Step 2: Set the reconstituted wood ear mushrooms on a cutting board.
Slice the wood ear mushrooms into thin strips.
Step 3: Place the wood ear mushroom strips in a pot.
Add 2 3/4 cups of light vegetable broth.
Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
Step 4: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground galangal.
Add sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 pinch of Chinese five spice powder.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
Add 3 to 4 drops of pure sesame oil.
Add 2 sliced water chestnuts.
Add 6 fresh peeled ginkgo nuts.
Step 5: Cut the rind off of a 6 to 8 ounce piece of winter melon.
Scrape the loose seeds and pulp off of the winter melon.
Cut the winter melon into large bite sized cube shaped pieces.
Add the winter melon to the soup.
Step 6: Bring the broth back to a boil.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Simmer the soup till the winter melon pieces begin to turn clear and translucent in color.
*Do not stir the soup after the winter melon becomes tender or the delicate winter melon pieces will become damaged!
Step 7: Pour the soup into a large soup bowl.
Place 3 to 4 ounces of cube shaped pieces of semi firm tofu in the center of the soup.
Float a few very thin slices of onion on the soup.
Float a few cilantro leaves on the soup.
Delicious and healthy!