Snow Fungus; The New Superfood?!!


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:

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

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

More benefit information is found at

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



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



Kimchi and Veggie Soup with Carrot Zoodles

figure friendly and tasty; kimchi and veggie soup with carrot zoodles

Welcome to Mami’s Good Food Kitchen, I hope you are keeping warm and happy during this cold and hectic time, while you are preparing for the holiday season. Have a seat and let me serve you a warm, spicy bowl of soup. It won’t add extra holiday pounds or leave you with the feeling of needing to work it off after the celebrations are over. It will fill your belly with a warm soothing glow, and you’ll feel lighter and more energized; maybe helping  you to feel ready to face another round of gift shopping, gift giving or celebrating.

This soup comes together quickly and simply. No need for simmering for hours on the stove top. What takes the longest is prepping the ingredients to add to the soup pot. One of the ingredients I used is braised king oyster mushroom, which was a leftover from a previous meal, but you could easily use any fresh mushroom you have on hand.

Let me walk you through how to put this together:

  1.  Put two cups water into a soup pot. Turn heat to medium-hi , to begin heating water. Spoon in 2 tsp of your favorite veggie-based powdered stock. I used mushroom powder. Mix together.
  2. Then add in ginger, garlic, onion, kimchi and mushrooms. Bring to boil and cook for 20 minutes.


3.  Now it’s time to add the zoodled carrots, bring quickly back to boil and cook for 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the carrots, you want them to be mostly firm and not soft.

4.  Add in the bok choy, tamari or soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Bring to boil, cook 3          minutes. Turn off heat and garnish with chopped scallions (or green onions). Ladle soup into bowl and if you use sesame oil, sprinkle just a few drops for added flavor and serve!

.List of Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp veggie broth powder or Mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp shredded ginger
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kimchi (I used spicy), chopped, and use the juices accumulated while chopping.
  •  a handful of chopped mushrooms, fresh or braised ( I had braised 4 large king oyster mushrooms in a 350 degree oven in a water bath, flavored with soy sauce and garlic powder, for 45 minutes to use in another dish the night before. The one mushroom I had leftover I chopped up and added to this soup).
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and zoodled.
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, leaves cut in half lengthwise.
  • 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • chopped green onions, or scallions

Equipment Used:

Special equipment I used is this treasure of a clay pot that I found at a yard sale summers ago, for only .25, an amazing and wonderful find!

Also, I used a kitchen gadget called a spiralizer, which changes the texture of veggies and can either give them a noodle-like form or ribbon form. There are so many things you can do with this item, it amuses and amazes me. I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond. The one I used, is from OXO Good Grips and retails for $39.99. But there are many manufactures that make the same thing, and in different configurations, with varying prices for all, and don’t forget store coupons, which I used. I actually  paid $20.99 for my spiralizer, which made me quite happy.

Thank you for visiting my kitchen today! I hope you enjoyed your soup and feel ready to get on with your busy day!

Remember to take care of yourself, feed yourself and your loved ones well, with healthy delicious foods, so we can look forward to enjoying many more crazy holiday seasons!

Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato

2016-01-03 14.12.14.jpg
Mushroom Spinach Stew over Baked Potato


Yesterday, when I punched out for the day from work, I knew I wanted to make my husband and I something hot and filling for supper. We needed a change from the rice and beans we have been having lately, even though the recipes we’ve been coming up with have been so, so, so, GOOD!  Spinach and mushrooms kept popping up in my mind, and naturally a warm,fluffy, perfectly baked russet potato kept inserting itself  into the equation.

So, I stopped into the grocery store to buy fresh baby spinach, white button mushrooms, and two of the biggest, handsomest russet potatoes I had ever seen in my life…maybe they just looked sooo good because I was truly hungry! How I escaped the grocery store without buying half of the store is still a mystery to me, because everyone knows you should never shop while hungry. And I know better from experience. Hahaha.

Once home, I preheated oven to 350 F, and placed my well scrubbed russet beauties in the oven on top of my pizza stone, and let them roast lazily as I prepared the stew.2016-01-03 14.08.16I prepped veggies next. Chopping 1/2 large white onion, 2 large cloves garlic,12 oz. White button mushrooms and 8 oz washed spinach. I measured out 1 cup frozen green peas.

Next I sautéed the onions and garlic in a couple teaspoons of water (to keep the fat low), in my favorite soup pot. Then added the sliced mushrooms to the pot and let them saute until they released their delicious mushroom juice. At that point I added2016-01-03 14.15.15.jpg2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup of low salt mushroom stock, 1 tsp thyme, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. I let it all come to a boil, then turned the pot down to low and let it simmer covered, for 25 minutes. Then I added the spinach and peas to the pot, and bought the stew back up to a boil.2016-01-03 14.10.59.jpgThen I tasted the stew for seasoning, adding more of anything I might think it would need…it tasted perfect…well…maybe it needed just a touch more salt.

For the finish of the stew, I dissolved 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 4 tablespoons cold water and stirred it into the stew, until the stew thickened. If I had wanted a thicker sauce-like stew, I could have added more arrowroot slurry; but I was happy with the way it was.

I sliced open the baked potatoes and layed them in a shallow bowl and then ladled the stew over them. So sublime! So warm and filling! So very delicious!

Once again, I find my food philosophy to be so true. The simplest and most basic preparations can be the most satisfying and most delicious! And it’s a bonus that it happened to be nutritious too!

A Warm Comfort Soup for a Cold, Story Day

As the year is coming to a close and the christmas season is over, we, in New England got our first storm of the winter season. Snow began to fall overnight, and then began to turn to freezing rain, making the commute to and from work, cold, slippery and not very pleasant. I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store to shop for supper, and my husband, Poppi and I didn’t feel like choosing a restaurant to eat at or to get take-home from; but we both knew we just wanted to get home and cocoon for the night.

So, the best thing for me to do, was cook whatever I could find on hand. Supper had to be nutritious, warming and delicious and I wanted it to be simple and easy to eat. What came to mind was an asian comfort food called rice porridge, or congee. This soup is often eaten for breakfast, or when one is sick or weak, or when one needs food-supplied comfort. Traditionally its made with meats and meat broths, but my mission was to make it vegan and low fat, which I was confident I could accomplish both. So, as soon as we arrived home, and were safely inside, I began gathering ingredients and chopping and preparing for our simple supper. As the storm raged on there was a certain comfort in knowing we had a delicious and nutritious stew simmering away on the stove.

This is the kind of cooking that doesn’t need exact measurements, or a complete listing of ingredients to be successful.  It mostly depends on what you have on hand, personal preferences  and technique, and how you combine all those elements.

First thing I did was choose a pot to cook in. My first mistake was choosing a too little pot.After cooking the rice, I realized I need a lot more room then I was allowing for in my 3 quart pot. A 5 quart to 6 quart pot should have been my first choice. Then I measured out one cup of medium grain rice, which I rinsed in the sink until clean. I put the rice and about 8 cups water in the pot and turned the burner on high. I added mushroom and veggie bouillon powder (low salt) to the water and tasted it to make sure I added enough seasoning.

As the rice began to cook, I began to chop my vegetables. I minced all the veggies very fine, almost the size of a grain of rice, and separated them into two containers. One container held the veggies that would take longer to cook, 1 small potato, 1 cup butternut squash, 1/2 large white onion, 1 large carrot,3 cloves garlic and about 3/4 cup white bok choy stems. The second container held the bok choy greens, minced finely, about 1  cup. I definitely would like to have put any other leafy green in the mix if I had some available, but I was going with what I had on hand at the time. I set the two containers aside to wait until the rice was ready.

After cooking the rice about 40 minutes, I was ready to assemble the rest of the stew. The rice was very cooked and the grains were beginning to break apart, which is exactly what I was going for. I added more water to the pot, as some had cooked away and some had absorbed into the rice, and then I adjusted the seasonings again, adding more mushroom bouillon, to my taste. All together I probably put in about 1 tablespoon of the mushroom veggie bouillon. Then I dumped in all the slow cooking vegetables and let them cook until they were soft, about 25 minutes longer. I tested the carrots for doneness, as I’ve discovered carrots take longer to cook than  potatoes and are a better indicator of doneness when cooking a combined dish. Then I poured in the minced bok choy greens, gave a good stir, cooked 5 minutes longer, then the vegetable congee was ready to serve.

If I had scallions, I would have garnished the congee with the scallions, but instead, I used a few grain of toasted sesame seeds, and crumbled toasted seaweed sheets. The congee hit the mark! It was comforting, hot, delicious and very healthy! We rounded out the meal with a side salad and my husband added a slice of his favorite rye bread!

Very easy and very repeatable. And as I am finding out for myself, more and more, the simplest foods are most often the most delicious and satisfying. Next time a storm is threatening, be it emotional or weather…cook up a pot of comforting congee and see if it does the trick for you!