Korean Mushroom Soup

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes or a little longer

Korean mushroom soup can be as simple as precooked mushrooms, water, sesame oil, and soy sauce. This is a little more complex, substantial, and flavorful, but not much more work.

1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms

3 tablespoons dark sesame oil

8 ounces fresh button or shiitake mushrooms (shiitake stems discarded or reserved for stock), trimmed and sliced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3/4 cup chopped scallion

About 6 cups vegetable or mushroom stock or water

8 ounces silken tofu, cut into small pieces (optional)

2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

01 If you’re using dried shiitakes, put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water; soak for about 30 minutes, or until soft. Porcini or other dried mushrooms can be soaked in hot tap water to cover and will soften more quickly.

02 Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they give up their liquid, about 10 minutes. Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, trim and slice as necessary, and add them to the pan. Cook until they brown nicely, about 10 minutes more, then add the garlic and half the scallion and cook for another minute.

03 Strain the mushroom-soaking liquid and measure it. Add enough stock or water to make 6 cups, then pour this over the sautéed mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until simmering. (You can prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; cover and let sit at room temperature for an hour or two or refrigerate overnight before reheating.) Add the tofu if you’re using it and cook for another minute. Add the soy sauce, salt, and plenty of black pepper. Garnish with the remaining sesame oil and scallion and serve hot.