As we settle into our new life in the San Francisco Bay Area, and more specifically Sausalito and Marin County just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, I'm still trying to make sense of the weather. I've never lived in a place where one can pass through three distinct micro climates in a 10 mile radius.
If you're following me on Instagram, you've likely seen what our weather is like in my Stories. Situated on a hill between the Pacific Ocean and North Bay, we get plenty of windy, foggy, wet and cold days. Let's just say, 6 out of 7 days of the week Leila and I take our early morning walk in these conditions. The cool foggy mornings often give way to (still windy) but sunny, blue skies in the afternoon, and we get the occasional mildly warm summer day. But drive 5-10 miles north, and it's full summer, all day, every day.
We were warned June and July are the worst months. Fortunately, we were also told to look forward to Indian summers in the fall and beautiful days in the spring. I've always appreciated dynamic weather. So even if the seasons are backwards, I'll take it.
This Coconut Mushroom Noodle Soup is a reflection of what I've been craving with our moody "summer" weather. It's also a great weeknight dinner solution for all of you getting back into the work and school routine these next two months, especially as your evenings begin to cool off. Mushrooms float in a simple but rich and fragrant ginger coconut broth with cubed tofu. Ladle this over noodles of choice (see suggestions in the recipe headnotes below) and top with whatever makes you happy: cilantro, chili, toasted cashews or peanuts, green onion, etc.
I've taken the opportunity with this soup to explore mushroom varieties I often come across at the store or farmer's market but don't routinely pick up. I'm now wondering why I haven't branched out beyond baby portobellos, crimini, and shiitakes more often! In addition to their immune-supporting properties and added dimension of texture and umami flavor, mushrooms and all their varieties are some of the most low-maintenance vegetables around. Which means they're ideal for quick weeknight cooking.
For this recipe I used Chantarelle (pictured directly above and Enoki (pictured on top of soup) mushrooms, both of which require minimal cleaning and chopping. But feel free to experiment with other varieties that you like. I saute the Chantarelle mushrooms with onion and chili before adding water. That simmers for 5 minutes before tofu, coconut milk, tamarind and Enoki mushrooms are added to warm through. Yep, it's that simple, but so satisfying. Hope you give it a try!
Coconut Mushroom Noodle Soup
Notes: I use Chanterelle and Enoki mushrooms here but you're welcome to use other varieties depending on what you find and piques your interest. Recipe calls for rice noodles. Pictured is brown rice spaghetti, but I also like using the wider, flatter stir-fry/Pad Thai style brown rice (or white rice) noodles. Recipe also calls for tamarind paste. It's easy to find at Asian markets, health food stores, or online, depending on where you live. It hits the same tart/sour notes as lime, which you could substitute in a pinch.
- 1 knob of coconut oil
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 2 thumb size pieces ginger, minced or grated
- 1-2 Thai chilies, minced (or to taste)
- 250-300 gr. Chanterelle mushrooms, quartered
- 4 cups/1 L water
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1-200 gr. package firm tofu, cut into cubes
- 1 (15oz) can full-fat coconut milk
- 200 gr. Enoki mushrooms (they often come in 100 gr clusters/packets)
- 2-3 Tbsp. tamarind paste
- 1/2 lb. (230 gr.) rice noodles, cooked
- Toppings (optional): Toasted cashews, green onions, chili, toasted coconut, fresh cilantro
- Melt coconut oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Saute onion and ginger (~1 minute). Add Chanterelle mushrooms and saute until starting to soften and brown (~3-5 minutes).
- Add water and salt. Cover, raise heat and bring to a simmer.
- Cut off woody stems from Enoki clusters (~the bottom 1/4 of cluster) so they separate. Stir tofu coconut milk, tamarind paste and Enoki into soup. Cook for another minute, just to warm through. Taste, adjust for seasoning.
- Serve over cooked noodles and with desired toppings.
*Mushrooms, Thai chili, and fresh tamarind provided by Bay Area Herbs & Specialties. All opinions are my own.