Autumn tong-sui, snow fungus and pear soup
What is snow fungus
I uploaded similar recipe last autumn and friends wanted me to explain more about snow fungus since they found it in many of my recipes. Snow fungus is one of my kitchen essential and kept in my pantry all the time. Similar to most fungus, or mushroom, it grows on deciduous trees in nature or it’s planted in wooden poles for mass production. When fresh, it’s watery white, coral alike. But usually what we can obtain in Chinese grocery stores are dry snow fungus.
Snow fungus is suitable for most health condition. In Chinese medicine, it can nourish the lungs, replenish the blood and strengthen the heart; it can also promote immunity; it’s rich in fiber so it can help to relax the bowels; with its gelatinous structure and high amounts of polysaccharides, it can make skin hydrated. As far as I know, there are capsuled or powdered snow fungus in the market and it’s obtained like many other healthy organic products.
It’s autumn again and let’s make seasonal tong-sui for the season. Pear, Asian pear I mean, is on season in autumn and winter. Tong-sui, also known as Cantonese sweet soup or dessert soup, it’s as important as soup in Cantonese food culture. Cantonese make tong-sui according to season changes and different body condition. Some tong-sui even serve for particular medical purpose, such as steamed apple or pear with apricot kernel is for curing coughing. (Note – apricot kernel is poisonous, proportion must be carefully calculated or consult your local Chinese herbal practitioner or pharmacist.) Except those with Chinese herbs, which might be a little bitter to taste, most tong-sui are wildly acceptable. They are sweet, delicate and easy to prepare. For more knowledge about tong-sui, read my previous post – Autumn Tong-sui, snow fungus, pear and sea coconut Cantonese sweet soup.
How to use snow fungus
Like other dry food, dry snow fungus should be stored in cool and dry place. It needs to be soaked in water till it’s soft enough to be torn apart. Usually soaking for half to 1 hour would be good enough; change water once or twice; rinse in running water when it’s soft; tear into small chunks and trim off the yellow root with scissor. I wouldn’t suggest soaking it in water overnight or for more than 4 hours since fungus soaked in water for too long, especially when in hot summer, might be polluted by unwanted microbial life.
Ingredients – for 4 serving, about 4 soup bowls
- Asian pear, 2, about 800g
- Snow fungus, 1, about 35g
- dried Jujube date, 30g
- Rock sugar, 80g
- dried Goji berry, 1tbsp, for garnishing
(all ingredients can be found in Asian grocery stores)
How to do –
- Asian pear peeled and cored, chopped into big chunks;
- Snow fungus soaked in water for half to one hour till soft, change water once or twice; tear into smaller pieces, and trim off the yellow root with scissor;
3. In a big soup pot, put in pear, snow fungus, jujube date and 1500ml of water; lid on and bring to boil in high heat; simmer in low heat for 1 hour till snow fungus turn half translucent and soft, soup become silky and sticky;
4. Put in goji berries and rock sugar, simmer for 10 more minutes till sugar melted. Then it’s good to serve warm, for teatime, or after dinner dessert.
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