Crackling rice vegetable soup

Yield: 8 servings

Measure Ingredient
2 cups Cooked rice
1 cup Deep-frying oil
1 cup Dried soybeans
8 \N Nami black mushrooms
1 medium Onion, quartered
10 cups Cold water
2 teaspoons Thin soy
2 tablespoons Sherry
1 teaspoon Sesame oil
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
¼ teaspoon MSG (opt)
1 \N Clove garlic
10 \N Fresh snowpeas
1 large Carrot

Rice Cakes: Work with cooked leftover rice that is slightly moist and sticky. If too dry, reheat with sprinkling of water until sticky.

Spread rice in frying pan or pie tin, ½" thick. Pack rice into firm cake: this is important to make sure rice holds together. Place in oven on low heat, and dry to slightly brittle texture; break into pieces. Ten minutes before combining with soup, deep-fry rice pieces until lightly brown. Strain, place in soup tureen, and keep hot in oven. Avoid holding fried pieces more than 10 minutes, as they tend to acquire a rancid taste and become overly dry.

Vegetarian Soup: Wash, then soak soybeans overnight in enough water to cover. Wash and soak Nami mushrooms in 1 cup warm water for 1 hour. When mushrooms are soft, separate caps from stems. In large soup pot, combine water, beans, mushrooms (and stems), onion and garlic. Bring to boil, lower heat, and simmer 2 hours. Strain and reserve stock until ready to finish. Save mushroom caps and ½ of beans for soup.

To finish soup, thinly slice mushroom caps, combine with strained stock, cooked soybeans, soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, salt and sugar. Peel carrot and make thin flower slices (or use flower cutter); add to soup. Bring soup to just under the boil. Add MSG and snowpeas. Cook for 2 minutes.

To serve, seat your diners, place soup tureen of freshly fried, hot rice pieces on table and pour hot soup over them. If rice and soup are very hot, rice will sizzle and crackle to everyone's joy and amusement!

Posted by Fred Peters.

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