Great Food Fast: Shiitake Mushroom Broth with Tofu and Baby Bok Choy

Normally I’m an advocate of slow food.  I love to cook and think time in the kitchen is well spent.  But like you, there are times when I just need something good, and I need it now.  So, from time to time I’ll be featuring worthwhile and delicious dishes which can be put together quickly under the category: Great Food Fast. What do you like to cook that’s delicious and goes together quickly?  Let me know and I’ll feature it in this category.

For starters, here’s a light, yet rich tasting soup you can make in one pot in twenty minutes. It’s as welcome on cool spring and summer evenings as it is any time of year.  This does go together fast, so it’s best to gather and cut all your ingredients before beginning to cook. Serves 4 as a first course or two as a main course.  To make this a heartier soup, add 4 ounces of cooked udon, soba or rice noodles.


1 teaspoon sesame oil

4-6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed off, thinly sliced

1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thin

4 cups mushroom broth, or soup stock of choice

10 ounces soft or medium tofu, cut into 1-inch dice (you could use firm tofu, but this soup is more sensually pleasing if the tofu is soft and melts in your mouth)

1 small carrot, trimmed and julienned

4 small baby bok choy, cut in half, ends trimmed (or 2 cups chopped regular bok choy)

3/4 cup sugar snap or snow peas, stem ends trimmed

1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed

1-2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste (the amount of soy sauce depends on the salt level of your broth)
1-2 tablespoons mirin, or to taste (optional)

1 green onion, trimmed and sliced thinly on the diagonal

Heat a generously sized pot with a heavy bottom, add the sesame oil and the mushrooms, sauté for two minutes, add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more.  Add the broth, turn heat up and bring just to a boil, turn down and simmer the mushrooms on low heat 8-10 minutes.  Add soy sauce and mirin to taste. Add the tofu and simmer two minutes, add the carrot, bok choy and peas and simmer two minutes more. Turn off heat and add the bean sprouts. Taste and give a final seasoning if necessary. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the green onion.


One response

  1. Here’s one for Great Fast Food:

    Celery-Lotus Root Stir-Fry

    The only thing to do ahead is soaking the dried lotus root. A unique mixture of textures and flavors, both delicate and robust.

    Saute in 1 T sesame oil in a heavy skillet over a medium flame for 1 minute:
    1/4 medium red onion, slivered
    1 medium carrot, cut into match sticks (or sliced)
    1 large stalk celery, sliced on diagonal
    1/4 cup dried, sliced lotus root (pre-soaked, two hours)
    a handful of raw pumpkin seeds

    Reduce the flame to low and continue cooking 3-4 minutes
    Serve over soba or somen noodles, seasoning with shoyu to taste. Garnish with slivered scallions.

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