Saturday, 18 May 2013

Simple Chicken Soup with Oyster Mushrooms


This soup tastes very good and the oyster mushrooms added a smooth and silky mouth feel to it. Thanks to this month's Little Thumbs Up event, I am reunited with Oyster Mushrooms. There was a time when I grew Oyster Mushrooms for my final year thesis on fungal genetics. My research had to do with the effect of cross breeding of irradiated mushroom spores on yield and size. The mushrooms were grown on cotton waste. I had to soak the cotton waste overnight and then squeeze the water out by hand. That resulted in blisters on both my palms. Sobs! And the smell of the cotton waste stuck with me for a few days. The squeezed cotton waste were then put into plastic bags and then the mouth of the bags were secured with cut out PVC pipes.


Photo courtesy of Adventures of Juan Or and Mommy
Before implanting the mushroom spores, I had to grow them in an agar culture made from agar-agar and taugeh (beansprouts). I bought the taugeh from the mini market and the friendly cashier thought I was going to fry them for lunch. The taugeh had to be boiled and then strained just for the water. It contains nutrients for the spores to grow. Next  agar-agar powder was mixed into the water and distributed onto petri dishes. Once cooled, the mushroom spores are inoculated onto the agar-agar and left to grow. This has to be done under sterile conditions to avoid contamination by bacteria and fungus.

Here bottles are used instead of petri dishes. Photo courtesy of FAO Corporate Document Repository
In my first attempt, all my petri dishes were contaminated. Huge spots of ugly greenish grey mucor grew on the agar. And I broke down in tears. I had to start all over again with the help of my friends. The next step was to inoculate the spores from the petri dishes into the prepared cotton waste bags. These bags were then placed in a room specially set up for growing mushrooms. That room was called the "Bilik Cendawan" (Mushroom Room, obviously). One time, I accidentally locked myself in the room and was rescued 15 minutes later by one of the professors who was passing by. Instead of comforting me, he chided me with a stern "Hah! Menyorok lagi!" (Hah! Hiding again!).


Photo courtesy of Oyster Mushroom Facebook Page

It was a joy to see the mushrooms grow and mature. After harvesting, I had to weigh and measure the size and thickness of the mushrooms. Once the empirical results are recorded, I basically gave away my mushrooms to my classmates. Mind you, my mushrooms were very popular and there were always people eager to receive my research subjects.


All that was 24 years ago and I can't even remember the title of my thesis! Sadly, my copy of the thesis was eaten up by termites 2 years after graduation. I should have hauled it along with me when I moved to PJ. 


Anyway, this soup brought back sweet memories of my days spent in the science lab. Besides Oyster Mushrooms, Shitake and Lingzhi mushrooms were also grown in the lab.


Those were the good old days. I also had friends who did research on rabbits and even cows. And there was a guy who did a thesis on chickens. And after lectures he liked to announce that he'll be going off to feed his chickens and clean the coop. Hah! Hah! That's why I chose mushrooms :)








Chicken Soup with Oyster Mushrooms
Recipe source : Phong Hong

Ingredients :
- 2 chicken legs, thigh and drumsticks separated
- 1 medium carrot, cut into cubes
- 1 medium daikon, halved and sliced
- 1 big onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 200g oyster mushrooms, rinsed and stems removed
- 2 chicken stock cubes (optional)/or salt to taste
- 800ml water

Method :
1. In a pot, heat some cooking oil and saute onions and garlic until onions are wilted.
2. Add carrots and daikon and fry briefly.
3. Add chicken, water and chicken stock.
4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
5. Add mushrooms and simmer for about 5 minutes.
6. Serve with a dash of pepper.




This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of My Little Favourite DIY and hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.





32 comments:

  1. Sounds a lots to do if wanna growing own mushrooms. Thanks for sharing your experience :) This dish give me an idea how to cook with oyster mushroom.

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    1. Vivian, I understand that there are mushroom growing kits where most of the hard work is already done for you. But you do need a place in your home that is dark and humid. The growing part is easy, just make sure the mushrooms get enough moisture.

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  2. Hi Phong Hong,
    I would choose mushrooms too instead of chicken or cows for the thesis! I've actually bought some mushroom kits from Cameron Highlands last year. Managed to harvest about 4 or 5 times before the kits "retired", I supposed our weather here is too hot and the kit cannot tahan! The seller of the mushroom kits told me that they uses oats and other fibres in the kit. It is interesting that it uses boiled water from bean sprouts, never knew that the water contains so much nutrients! I should try that for my potted plants! Thank you for the interesting info on how to grow mushroom. I wonder how the spores look like, been wondering on that even since I bought the kit. Oyster mushroom is one of my favourites, but then I love all types of mushrooms!
    Using them in soups is simply wonderful, I would eat up all the mushrooms!
    Thank you for linking to LTU! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Joyce, it's great to know that you grew mushrooms from the kits! Must have been exciting harvesting your first batch of mushrooms. The spores are like fine powder and you can only see them in detail under the microscope. It is quite an interesting phenomena when the mushrooms release their spores. You can actually see puffs of white powder coming out from under the gills. I witnessed that in the lab one day and I was so amazed. But I never tried growing mushrooms after I left the uni. I remember all the hard work to well hah! hah!

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  3. WOW! This is a very healthy and delicious soup that I want to cook for my family. Great to grow your own mushroom at home. Thanks for sharing!
    Hav a great weekend :)

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    1. Hi Ann, you should try the soup as it has very flavors even though it uses very humble ingredients. Hope your family likes it!

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  4. Yes indeed this is a healthy soup. Would love to have this now as the weather turning really cold at night. And thank you for the great info on the growing of oyster mushroom.

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    1. Hi Mel, I envy you as I am sweating as I am typing this reply hah! hah! Enjoy the cold weather and when you come home, cook mushroom soup :)

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  5. Lol...poor thing....ahem...but at least after all that can eat pah...even your classmates untung leh.

    This soup sound good. Yummy ...if got flu just nice to clear the nose

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    1. Hee..hee..Sometimes I tell my classmates "Jangan jual kat pasar malam!". LOL!

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  6. wah...way...Phong Hong, u are so talented, grown ur own mushroom...pandai pandai.
    This chicken soup looks very very nice with the mushroom. I am not feeling well lately, I need ur chicken soup la friend.

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    1. Li Shuan, it is quite a lot of hard work lah but thesis punya pasal I had to do it. Chicken soup is good when you are not feeling well. I hope you get better soon :)

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  7. This surely is chicken soup for the soul. Slurp! Love how you made it a one dish wholesome meal.

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    1. Thanks! This is indeed a delicious soup. I finished my entire bowl and there was not a drop left :)

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  8. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post dear. it is such an interesting thing to learn how to grom mushrooms at home. soup looks great. Have a nice weekend. hugs

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    1. Thanks, Swasthi! After I graduated somehow I never thought of growing mushrooms at home cos I was too lazy hah! hah!

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  9. Yum-Yum your soup looks so very delicious makes me lau nyour and hungry.Yeh I can still remember in the good old days when you were studying each time whenever you come over to spend the weekends with us you will bring along with you your mushroom and I can remember how excited your parents were when they saw your mushrooms.It is also nice to stir fry with vegs.now must go and have my breakfast feel so hungry after seeing your soup

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    1. Ee-Ee, you are right that oyster mushrooms are also yummy when stir fried. Luckily Jusco now sell small packets. The used to have those big packets and I didn't buy because too much.

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  10. PH, I pernah berangan nak jadi pengusaha cendawan ni tau, tengok la nanti bila dah penat buat catering ker, sebab takder cendawan yg I tak suka makan, semua jenis cendawan i suka, aritu I dh try your recipe cendawan tu, mmg sedap gila sampai minum guna mangkuk (cair lg airliur bila teringat!) tp takdan nak amik gambar pasal abang i dok menyibuk kat dapur masa masak tu, pastu terus makan, habis cerita!

    and yours today, betul la menggoda lagi! ptg ni after meeting sure i menapak lagi kat JJ aeon tu nak cari mushroom, kat situ senang nak cari macam2 jenis mushroom kan?

    dulu2 kat kampung, kena tunggu petir tanpa hujan baru boleh dapat makan cendawan busut, you pernah makan cendawan busut? sedapnya tu PH...tp makan yg belum kembang la, kalau dah kembang tu ada banyak ulat! dia punya sedap mengalahkan daging ayam kampung! I juga rajin kutip cndawan telinga kera (yg selalu tumbuh melekat kat batang pokok getah tumbang tu).. mmg leceh la jugak tp dah suka punya pasal....

    apa pun I takkan lupa satu kisah tragedy yg menimpa kawan baik I, dia taktau ada orang baru sembur racun kat kebun getah tu, so bila dia masak n makan cendawan tu, adik beradik mati keracunan, adik yg kecik mati dulu...sedih sangat! sebab tu I setuju sangat kalau cendawan ni diusahakan cara commercial tu, lebih bersih dan selamat, kualiti pun tak berkurangan...kan?

    PH, thanks for sharing this ya! I suka nih!

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    1. Hi Q! Bagus juga jadi pengusaha cendawan. Dulu I pernah pergi mushroom farm kat Balakong. Besar jugak dia orang buat. Sedih lah I baca pasal kawan you. Dunia sekarang ni dah berubah. Apa-apa makanan yang Tuhan kurniakan di alam semulajadi dah tercemar dengan pelbagai racun. Cendawan busut tu kalau tak silap I is straw mushroom kan? Yang bujur macam bola rugbi. Itu I suka tapi makan yang dalam tin. Cendawan telinga kera pun I suka. Semua suka!Hee..hee...

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  11. so how long did it take from beginning to harvest the mushrooms? haha...at least i think this is better than cleaning the chicken's coops. nice soup, put in some bihun also nice.

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    1. Lena, if I remember correctly it takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks. Oh yes, put bihun or tang hun would be nice.

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  12. Hahaha, you made the right choice, research on mushroom sure feel better than chicken and cow! I don't think you are going to grow your own mushroom again right? better just go out and buy a pack to cook..I have never cook oyster mushroom with soup, like you described, it sound yummy.

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    1. Sonia, ya lah easier to just buy. One day you must try oyster mushroom in soup. Very sedap!

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  13. You grow your own mushrooms? Not bothered as easily available here and cheap too. Cook with ginger and red wine, no need for the chicken...will also taste like Foochow chicken soup - best with mee sua!

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    1. Oh no! I can't be bothered as well :) If only I could get the Foochow red wine, I will definitely try what you suggested :)

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  14. Interesting to see how oyster mushrooms are grown. It's own of my fav mushrooms, often add it to everything I cook.

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    1. Yen, it's my favourite too! I should use it more in my cooking.

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  15. As soon as I saw the word "simple" I was instantly drawn to it. This looks like the most perfect soup!

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    1. Cathleen, it's a very delicious soup. One that you will love!

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  16. Wow freshly grown mushrooms in home made soup, it doesn't get any better than this.

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    1. Mich, actually I didn't grow these mushrooms but bought at the supermart :) Maybe one day when I can afford to retire, I might grow mushrooms again.

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