Tofu and Vegetable Soup with Cellophane Noodles
Provided by: Lillian Chou
- For vegetable stock:
- 20 large dried black Chinese mushrooms (shiitake)
- 12 cups boiling-hot water
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 4 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
- 2 large leeks, (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
- 1 (3-inch) piece ginger, chopped
- For soup:
- 3 ounces very thin bean thread noodles (3 small skeins; also known as cellophane, glass, or mung bean noodles)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 (14- to 18-ounces) package soft tofu (not silken)
- 4 cups chopped Napa cabbage leaves
- 2 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved, diagonally (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Soak mushrooms in 10 cups boiling-hot water in a bowl, keeping them submerged with a small plate and turning mushrooms over occasionally, until softened and cool enough to handle, about 30 minutes. Squeeze excess liquid from caps back into bowl and reserve liquid, then cut out and reserve stems from mushrooms. Quarter caps.
- Transfer mushroom liquid and stems into a 5-quart large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Trim cilantro sprigs from stems and reserve sprigs for garnish. Add stems to pot with remaining stock ingredients. Gently boil, covered, for 30 minutes, then drain through a fine mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl, pressing down hard on solids. Discard solids and return broth to pot (you should have 8 cups broth).
- Make soup:
Meanwhile, soak noodles in cold water to cover until softened, about 5 minutes, then drain in colander and transfer to a bowl. Coarsely cut into 3-inch lengths with scissors.
- Stir in soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, and salt to broth and season with salt to taste. Add mushroom caps and bring to a simmer.
- Rinse and drain tofu, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Add cabbage and tofu to broth and simmer 10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. Add noodles and peas and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.
- Make ahead: Broth can be made 3 days ahead, chilled, covered or frozen up to 3 months.