Snow Fungus; The New Superfood?!!

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Welcome to Vegan Mamis Good Food Kitchen! Thank you for stopping by, today. I want to share with you a new item I found while shopping in my local Asian grocery store. It’s called Dried White Fungus. This is how I saw it in the store, on a shelf, nestled in its festive box:

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packaged dried white fungus

It looked like a gift, and I was intrigued. I could tell it was delicate because the package had been designed to guard the delicate little fungi from being crushed. I was drawn to it and decided it would be my next adventure into the culinary unknown.

Later, when I returned home and was able to do my research, I found  snow fungus goes by many names such as: snow fungus, white fungus, silver ear, white jelly mushroom and white wood ear. It’s latin name is Tremella Fuciformis, and it is a mycoparasite which means it isn’t cultivated on wood like oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and other mushrooms, but it feeds on the mushrooms that are cultivated on wood. (You can learn more about the mushroom world by going to TomVolkFungi.net).

The snow fungus has been used in chinese medicine for centuries and is credited as a beauty enhancer and digestive aid and possibly improving lung immune function. Now I am not a doctor, and I know nothing of these claims, but if you would like to see more information on this type of thing, you can find it at Ping Ming Health- Accupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine  http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/773/white-fungus-and-lung-immune-function

More benefit information is found at  http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/medicinal-benefits-snow-fungus

But I am learning about this snow fungus because it heightened my curiosity, and I’m always happy to try new foods and discover how I can use them. To begin, I had to reconstitute the dried fungus in water, which involved soaking the yellowish fungus in water for about 2 hours. It grew into a good sized ball and turned a beautiful white color with a soft and yet firm consistency. Before I could cook the snow fungus I turned it over and trimmed off the hard yellowed bits that looked to be part of a stem.

I read quite a few recipes from the internet and they were all a bit different, but the simplest recipe was to boil the fungus with jujubes (which are chinese red dates) and a handful of goji berries, for approximately one hour , or until you feel it is done. This procedure is meant to create a bowl of soup served warm or cold that enhances beauty; and really, who could turn that down? When cooked, the fungus had a crunchy texture that was at the same time, soft and gelatinous. Cooking it made the water thicker and slippery, as though I had mixed an arrowroot slurry into the soup pot. The fungus had no taste. The interest about it was in the texture. I had noticed some recipes called for adding sugar, other recipes added fruits to cook with the fungus, such as peaches or apples to add flavor.

This was not a culinary treasure in the taste department, at least not these recipes, but if one was interested in the purported benefits of the snow fungus, than its not a bad way to get it down. I tried the soup hot and cold, and the texture of the soup hot, was interesting but when I tried it cold, the next day, it was hard to eat until I became used to the extra silky body of the broth and the gelatinous and crunchy texture of the fungus.

 

I was determined to try another recipe, to see if I could make it more enjoyable. This time I made it as part of a stew. In a large pot, I put the snow fungus, torn into pieces, tofu, zucchini, onions, leafy greens, carrots, sweet potato noodles, a couple large spoonfuls kimchi and one green chile pepper. Then I filled the pot with vegetable stock to cover the veggies, and added a spoonful of gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste). Bought everything to boil, and turned to low, covered with a lid and let it simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.

The flavor of the stew was good, and the snow fungus added its magic as it thickened the stew, ever so slightly, giving the stew juices a silky feel. The snow fungus stubbornly retained it’s soft chewy- yet crunchy texture. Although it added no taste, it added an interesting texture to the stew, and was not in the least disagreeable. So this recipe was a yes, and I could see myself making it again.

I have other recipe ideas to try with this beautiful little gem, but I will leave that for another time. I am sure I have not even begun to tap the possibilities. Thank you for visiting with me today, and remember to keep an open mind and try new things, and always

always

always,

feed yourself and your loved ones good foods, real foods, and foods that are as unprocessed as possible.

 

 

Cha Cha Cha Chia Tea!

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Red Roobis Tea with Chia Seeds

Good morning everyone! This morning I started off the morning experimenting with hot beverages, once again. Even though the weather has been  scorching hot lately, I like to wake up and begin my day with a hot drink, and sometimes coffee just seems a bit too heavy.

Have you seen those drinks in the produce section, that cost three dollars (sometimes more) and they contain chia seeds?  The label says the chia seeds add omega threes and are very good for digestion?  Or have you ever had a bubble tea? Bubble teas are served hot or cold, can be made with teas or fruits and blended with your choice of milk. The really interesting thing with bubble teas is that it has sweetened tapioca balls added to the drink, which at first taste may seem strange if you are not used to it, but if you can appreciate the texture, it’s really a fun drink.

The tea I made this morning was inspired by these two different kinds of beverages. If you enjoy the chia drinks or the bubble tea, I think you would enjoy this too. I started by brewing a simple cup of hot tea. I used Better Off Red, by Now food products, a roobis red tea, which has no caffeine. After letting it steep about 4 minutes, I added just a touch of soy milk creamer which I had purchased at Trader Joe’s grocery store. Then I added approximately 2 tsp. of chia seeds directly to the tea and stirred, untill blended. As the chia seeds absorbed the hot tea, they became as chia seeds do, slightly bigger and viscous (dare I say, slimey?) When the tea had cooled enough to sip, it was pleasant to drink, and nice to have with my unbuttered whole wheat toast and nectarine, as it helped to add an element of interest to an otherwise neutral breakfast. Although, I do have to comment that the nectarine was divine, mother nature at her best!.

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Chia seeds in my Tea !?!

Thank you for visiting Vegan Mami’s Good Food Kitchen!

Have a blessed day, and remember to feed yourself and your loved ones Good Food!

Tumeric Latte- Caffeine Free and full of Tumeric Goodness!

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Tumeric Latte

Good monday morning to everyone, and welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! Ever hear of the health benefits of tumeric? I think we all have; just google tumeric and you will find a plethora of information on why its good to include in our diets. One can take a supplement, or use turmeric in powder form, or use it fresh. I believe the best way to use tumeric is to use it fresh. You can buy it in its whole form and it can usually be found in a grocery store, in the Asian or Indian produce section, if you have a store in your area that has those kinds of groceries. If fresh tumeric can’t be found, than powdered is the next best option.

My husband is wanting to give up caffeine, and his morning cup of coffee is the hardest thing for him to give up. Choosing caffeine free coffee is the first obvious route to take, but he didn’t like the taste and just wasn’t happy no matter what brand we tried. He had also heard about the health benefits of tumeric and felt he wanted to try it and see if it gave him positive benefits. Sometimes, when trying to make a drastic change in the diet, such as cutting out something that’s not benefiting you (such as caffeine) the easiest and best way is to totally avoid the item you are trying to eliminate and replace it with something else. I had heard of tumeric milk, a drink made by Indian mothers to give to their loved ones who maybe had a cold or were feeling under the weather, and thought I would research to see if it made sense to make something like that to substitute for my husband’s morning coffee.

After looking at the many recipes I found, I came up with a latte drink, served warm, that just might do the trick. It’s a Tumeric Latte – and this is how I made it:

  • 1  1/2 cups plant based milk (so far I used almond and soy- both came out great)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 thumbsized piece of tumeric, skin scraped off and minced
  • 1/4 ” slice of ginger, skin scraped off and minced
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon, 1 /4 tsp powdered nutmeg, sprinkle of cinnamon

In a saucepan, I added the water and the plant based milk. Turned the heat on to medium. while that was heating up I added in the minced tumeric  and  ginger , and the powdered nutmeg and cardamon. when the mixture just comes to a boil, I turned the heat off and with my stick blender, blend the milk mixture for a few minutes, until the mixture is frothy and well combined. You will still get small pieces of pulp in the drink, which can be strained out before being poured in a cup, but I think you will benefit more from the entire tumeric and ginger, but its a personal preference.

with a ladle, place Latte in a cup and sprinkle with powdered cinnamon.  And then, Enjoy!

This recipe makes two cups latte, and can easily be saved and reheated if you serve only one cup.

My husband did enjoy the latte, and is looking forward to having it again. It made it easier for him to give up that morning cup of joe, maybe because he was distracted by the new tastes in a different, but still warm drink? I don’t know. As for the benefits, well, we will have to wait and see…

But for now, he is happy, and that’s what Mami’s Good Food Kitchen is all about!

Thank you for visiting, and may you have a day that is full of blessings and love.

Supper Tonight at Mami’s

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen! Pull up a chair, bring along  your adventurous taste buds and try a dish with a flavor profile that pops you out of your same old, same old meal prep and transports you to a place you may not have expected in your own kitchen.

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Based on Koshari

This recipe is based loosely on a Egyptian recipe called Koshari. I came across it as I was checking out Mommy Tang’s YouTube channel, where she does mukbangs and vegan recipes. She had, as her guest, a young lady named Marion, who shared with everyone her version of Koshari, as taught to her by her father, I believe.

The recipe caught my attention right away, as the spices were different than other spices and flavors I had used, and also seemed perfect to serve as a vegan meal because it looks nourishing and filling and oddly familiar. Even though there seemed to be a lot of prep, it looked as though it would go together easily, once all the components were assembled.  It looked easy to make into a whole foods meal and looked forgiving enough to stand up to omissions or changes one might wish to make. For example, I used a mix of three lentils, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Came out very delicious!

So the main idea is to use pasta, rice, and lentils. Which are all cooked separately and then served in a dish with a tomato sauce on top to be mixed in before eating, as I’ve pictured above. Although, as I researched on-line for recipes, I noted some directions instructed  to cook the lentils and rice together. I am always concerned  if my rice and lentils will be done at the same time, so I prefer to cook them separately just to be sure.

I cooked the rice and lentils separately, but used the same spices for both. and I used a dry roasting method – or dry frying- toasting the spices in the dry pan before adding the rice or lentils and the cooking water. I used garlic, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cardamon, salt and pepper.In the rice I also put a stick of cinnamon, which would come out after the rice was cooked. For the rice, I used 1 cup rice to 2 cups water and for cooking the lentils I used the same measurement. The rice cooked for 35 minutes at low, and covered, after coming to a boil. The lentils I cooked uncovered and they took about 25 minutes to cook, but I kept checking the lentils to make sure they were not overcooking. At the same time, I cooked the pasta. I used whole wheat pasta shaped as  corkscrews, and followed the package directions. When all three were done, I lined them up on hot plate trivets on my counter in covered pots. Oh Yes, the lentils and the pasta were drained of  their cooking water so they wouldn’t get soggy, as they waited for me to pull  all the components  together.

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Plated and ready for dinner! just add a salad!

As I was cooking the rice, pasta and lentils, I also made the tomato sauce to top the dish. It too, was simple and went together really fast.

I used one 12 0z can of crushed tomatoes and put it in a saucepan. to that I added 1/2 can of water, 3 crushed garlic cloves, salt and pepper and one tbsp of vinegar. Brought to a boil, covered and let simmer for at least 25 minutes, while everything else was cooking.

To serve the dish, layer all ingredients on a plate beginning with the whole wheat pasta, then the aromatic rice, and finally a layer of lentils. Top  with tomato sauce,using however much you like. Finally serve the dish with a side of salad to complete the meal.  I chose a green salad with romaine lettuce, tomato, red onion and cucumber. Very simple, but a good and pleasing side dish.

Even though there were a lot of steps to pulling this meal together, it was very tasty and simple. Filled me up fast- one serving was quite enough and it kept me feeling full for quite a while.

Thank you for visiting Mami’s  Good Food Kitchen and may all your meals be nourishing and delicious and full of love!20160705_204205