For the past two days, I’ve been slightly under the weather, weakish and my throat feels slightly itchy, revealing signs of bronchitis. My sister is sleeping in her room next door, also suffering from the same effects.
At times like this, my mind wanders off to sweet memories of my mom bringing us medicine and soup. Even though we’re from Taiwan, I consider Bloemfontein home. Our house in Heuwelsig, is a sweet home, with so much warmth and Pico hair (that’s my Jack Russel – just by the way). Deduction: Yes, I’m homesick.
One of my favourite soups we used to make is a simple Shiitake mushroom and chicken soup, using dried Shiitake mushrooms as they weren’t available fresh in supermarkets. So we would buy huge bags of dried Shiitake mushrooms from Asian supermarkets because we use them in a wide variety of dishes. I find that dried Shiitake mushrooms are have a more pungent smell and flavour compared to the fresh ones, which is why I prefer the dried ones.
In Taiwan, chicken drumsticks and thighs are often more costly than the rest of the chicken because of the difference in texture. Luckily, in South Africa, it all pretty much costs the same because I’m not fond of chicken breasts – it takes very little to screw it up – very big hater of chicken breast that’s too dry. For soup, I stay safe by using chicken drumsticks, thighs and wings.
serves 4 people
- 10 Fresh or dried Shiitake mushrooms
- 4 pieces of chicken
- salt to taste
- 1.5l water
- If your mushrooms are dry, soak them in some water before throwing them in the soup-to-be, this helps them cook faster and minimises the chances of them having a hard centre.
- Bring the water to boil on the stove
- Add the mushrooms (with dried mushrooms, add the water the mushrooms were soaked in as well)
- Boil for 5 minutes
- Add the chicken and bring it to a lower boiling temperature for 15-20 minutes.