I love foraging and this is a great season to find some great mushrooms. Today I went to look for oyster mushrooms and was able to find them right away, the forest was packed with them.

Tom Yum

I’m always excited to forage fresh and organic ingredients and to me nothing compares to roaming the forests. There is definitely a good fear factor that adds to the entire experience. In the case of the pacific north west of the United States it could be a mountain lion or a bear.

If you too like to forage, make sure to do that safely. It is always better to forage in a group. Also consult with an expert that can identify edible mushrooms to avoid poisoning. I gradually taught myself and always appreciate a 2nd opinion of seasoned foragers.

If you like to mitigate the risk by sourcing mushrooms from the supermarket… that’s perfectly fine too.

The mushrooms inspired me to make ‘Tom Yum Hed’ ต้มยำเห็ด, a classic Thai soup, characterized by bold spicy and sour flavors. This simple recipe with a plant based twist produces an authentic result of this fiery, sour and salty soup. As ‘Tom Yum’ is often prepared with shellfish, oyster mushrooms with their somewhat bouncy texture made a perfect substitute.

Kelp seaweed adds marine originated umami to the stock and shiitake mushrooms add extra layers of umaminess. Fried chili in oil adds spiciness and beautiful red tint of floating oil.

Ingredients

Pot:

  • Water
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Dried shiitake mushrooms
  • Kelp seaweed
  • Torn makrut leaves
  • Bruised and cut to pieces lemongrass stalks
  • Light soy sauce
  • Sea salt
  • Fried chili in oil

Serving bowl:

Method

1.In a pot bring water with shiitake mushrooms and kelp to a boil. Add the lemongrass and torn makrut lime leaves and cook for a few minutes. Remove and discard the shiitake and kelp. Season with sea salt, Thai soy sauce and fried chili in oil. Add the mushrooms a cook briefly.

2.Pound to lightly bruise kee nu chilies in a mortar. Place the chilies in the serving bowl. Squeeze limes into the serving bowl.

3.Ladle the soup and the mushrooms into the serving bowl with the chilies and lime juice. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

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