Clear soups are light and easy to make. Clearing internal dampness requires a strong message of sufficient hydration along with a nudge to let go of stagnation. Here, diuretic green vegetables are paired with mushrooms to help the bladder and kidney with their functions, all while providing plenty of new fluids in a delicious, simple soup. Oh, and the greens help relax the liver too.
Prep time: 10 - 15 mins
Total time: 45 mins
- Dried black mushrooms (shiitake type) | 8 (soaked in boiled water, discard stem, slice)
- Water | 7 cups (not including mushroom soaking water)
- Kombu | 1 strip
- Carrots | 2 medium
- Green vegetables (string beans, snow peas, bok choy, broccoli etc) | heaping helpful
- Tamari | 1.5 Tbs
- Scallion | 1 (finely chopped)
- Cilantro (coriander leaf) | 8 sprigs
- Sea salt | 1/2 tsp
- Toasted sesame oil | 1/2 tsp
1. In a bowl, cover the dried mushrooms in boiled water to soak. When they soften (15 - 30 mins depending on size), cut off and discard their stems, then slice the caps and return them to the soaking water. Fresh mushrooms could be used, of course (omit the soaking step)
2. In a good size pot, bring the water to a boil with the kombu strip (kombu is generally easily available at markets/shops near the soy sauce). Simmer for 10 mins then remove. The seaweed can be sliced and sautéed in other dishes. Its job here is done.
3. Add the raw veges. Add the mushrooms slices and most of the mushroom soaking water (careful to leave any grit at the bottom of the bowl). Simmer until the greens are just barely cooked (bright green but still a hint crunchy).
4. Add the salt and tamari (traditionally brewed wheat-free soy sauce)
5. Ladle into bowls. Add the scallions, a sprig or two of fresh cilantro and a few drops of toasted sesame oil to each bowl before serving.
A Note on Food Energetics:
While a thick soup is nourishing, warming and building, a clear soup soothes and helps to clear and refresh the fluid system (and of course, also provides nourishment).
Old fluids tend toward stagnation, a bit like pond water. Lots of hydration is needed to signal to the body that stagnant fluids can be let go. The body needs to hear the signal: there are plenty of good fluids arriving. Use snow peas or string beans as the vegetable to renew the fluid system (they are gentle diuretics). Other greens have different properties but are also good.
Black mushrooms connect with kidney energetics, also helping clear dampness while supporting our ancestral Qi, our deep sense of wellness and confidence in our life's mission.
If we have conditions relating to excessively thick fluids (such as chronic cough or sinusitis) the addition of aromatic spices and herbs is needed. You might use mint, black peppercorn, Szechuan pepper, mustard seeds or cardamom Don't use everything at once, find what you like and what helps penetrate the thick turbidity over a few days of more.
Recipe sourced from:
Welcoming Food, Diet as Medicine for Home Cooks and Other Healers
Book 2: Recipes and Kitchen Practice