I ate a lot over the holidays. I ate too many sweet rich foods. It's time to cut back on the carbohydrates and fat and fill in with flavor. There is no better way to do this than with Asian food. You'll be seeing a lot if low fat low carb meals from me in the near future. Tonight I made a mushroom and seaweed soup served with a soy/mirin marinated grilled chicken served on a salad with a ginger soy dressing. It was delicious, low fat, low carb and absolutely satisfying.
I used two kinds of dried mushrooms. One was already shredded into thin strips and the package simply called it "dried black fungus". The other is my favorite dried mushroom, a dried shitake. These were soaked in water for a good 4-5 hours before cooking. I like to soak my mushrooms in zip-lock bags. It's easy and convenient.
If you haven't had soup made with dried seaweed you are missing out. I am inspired by many of the Korean soups (masters of soup if I may add) that use seaweed as a base. The Japanese also use dried seaweed as a soup and flavor base. I have two kinds in my soup this evening. One is Japanese - dashi kombu. This comes in wide sheets and hydrates to give a chewy thick seaweed in the end. I broke this up into small pieces. The other is a shredded seaweed. This one is much thinner and opens up into sort of very thin seaweed leaves as it hydrates and cooks. Both have a wonderful salty sea-like taste. It really is wonderful.
Here are everything combined together. The seaweed has been broken up into small pieces. The shitakes were sliced thinly. The mushroom soaking water was added to add all that wonderful color and flavor. To this I added some salt, lots of fresh ground pepper, lots of chopped garlic, a splash of soy sauce, and about 4 cups more water. This was heated to boiling and then simmered for two hours. This picture was taken before adding the water and cooking.
I made a simple salad of finely shredded romaine lettuce, green cabbage and carrots. This was eventually tossed with a dressing made from grated ginger, a splash of soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil and olive oil.
Here is the salad with the grilled chicken on top. The chicken was marinated for two hours with a mixture of sesame oil, mirin, and soy sauce. It was grilled and allowed to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
The soup! It was delicious! I could eat this every day. The flavor of the shitake was most pronounced and it mingled with the seaweed flavor. I enjoyed dinner tonight!