Mushroom Congee with Angelica Acutiloba & Goji Berries/ The mystery of mushroom makes you grow taller

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I hope I didn’t freak you out with the title of this post. What the heck is angelica acutiloba??? Well, we Chinese don’t call it like that obviously.  We call it ‘当归/Dang Gui’ or ‘Dong Quai’; and it is commonly known as one of those super Chinese herbs that cures almost everything particularly for women. 😉 A must have Chinese medicine for people who are physically weak like women who just gave birth or people who had a surgery. I already knew about Dang Gui since I was a kid because it was often added in our soup and chicken dishes. It has a distinct herbal aroma and bitter in taste. I’m sure you already know about goji berry. I didn’t know that it was a super food, but my grandmother used to tell me that goji berry is good for your eyes. She also used to tell me that mushroom is good for you as it makes you grow taller.

Well, I didn’t quite believe in that theory, as you know mushrooms are contrarily short.

When I was a kid, I hated mushroom so much! It’s like whiskey and coffee, they belong to the ‘adult category’. Whenever my grandmother fed me mushrooms, she would say repeatedly that: ‘It makes you grow taller! It makes you grow taller!’ and immediately insert the spoon into my mouth. I would chew hesitatingly and swallow it with a little cold shiver, half believing and half doubting that it would ever help. Because being short had been a huge problem to me since primary school. In Malaysia we had a system that before entering the class every morning, all the pupils and students has to queue outside the classroom according to your height, which I still don’t understand why! Of course, we queued from the shortest to the tallest! For 6 years in my primary school, I had always been placed the second shortest in our class. I did not ‘achieve’ any further still during my high school era, which was really embarrassing to me to be so obviously shown as one of the shortest in class, especially when the boy I liked next door was watching. You see, not eating mushroom was not an option anymore. I needed to grow taller. But even when my mom made variation with mushrooms like stuffed mushroom with oyster sauce, I still hated it. But I would force myself to chew and swallow it without thinking how horrible it tasted.

The funny and irony thing is, now that I have entered the ‘adult category’, I really do love coffee and mushrooms! Not so much of whiskey though, because it tastes like my grandmother’s hair! The fact is, my grandmother always put whiskey on her hair every evening because there is a belief that it makes your hair grow. Some boys that I knew used to put whiskey on their legs as well, wishing that they would grow some hair in order to look more masculine. Well anyway imagine me growing up with the smell of whiskey coming from my grandmother’s hair, and asking me to drink that? Hell no! (sorry) For your information, as a 27 years old already, I have not grown any taller than 153cm… So tell me where did the ‘mushroom makes you grow taller’ theory come from?

Back to the recipe, as a mushrooms-loving adult, I’m using dried shiitake, dried enoki mushroom and dried black Chinese fungus together with the magical Chinese herbs angelica acutiloba and goji berries. Hmm, sounds nutritious and yummy! And it was really delicious that I needed to share this recipe with you. I hope you would try and tell me how it goes!

(Make 4 servings)

Ingredients:

500g cooked rice

2 Dried shiitake

2 pieces Angelica acutiloba (Dang Gui)

2 slices Ginger, julienned

1 bunch Dried enoki mushrooms

1 dl/ handful of Dried black Chinese fungus

1 tbsp Goji berries

1 l Water

2 tbsp Soy sauce

2 tbsp Vegetarian Mushroom/ Oyster sauce

2 tbsp Shaoxing wine/ dried sherry wine

1 tsp Sea salt

1 tsp Sesame oil (Optional)

Dash of white pepper

Methods:

1. Soak all mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes until soft. Chopped into edible size.

2. Put mushrooms, Dang Gui, goji berry, ginger, rice and water into a deep pot, bring to boil. Let it cook for 10 minutes and keep stirring to prevent sticking from the bottom of the pot.

3. Add in soy sauce, vegetarian mushroom / oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine and sea salt. Cook until the congee is thicken according to your liking.

4. Season with sesame oil and white pepper. Served warm.

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On a white plate clockwise from the top: Dried enoki mushroom, dried shiitake, angelica acutiloba (Dang Gui), goji berry. In a green bowl: Dried black Chinese fungus.IMG_2308Note: You can also used raw rice with this recipe (200g) but it takes more time to cook, as you need to stir constantly to prevent sticking from the bottom of the pot. My version of congee is rather quick, and I like it more watery than thick. Most people prefer their congee with rice completely broken down, but I like to keep the shape of the rice. It’s up to you!

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Oh I’m hungry again.

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After the dinner I still had enough to pack for tomorrow breakfast, so Asian! My Finnish husband also enjoyed this dish as much as I did, even as a breakfast!   🙂IMG_2336Feel free to serve with addition fried onion or garlic. Delicious!

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10 thoughts on “Mushroom Congee with Angelica Acutiloba & Goji Berries/ The mystery of mushroom makes you grow taller

  1. Beautiful… Kanji or Congee (as you have spelled) has been a staple Indian diet for centuries. I’ve never had it with mushroom but it looks beautiful. Back home we simply boil rice with garlic, a few fenugreek seeds, some green chillies and salt. There is a ‘blast your brain’s out’ chutney made with red chilli powder, salt, tamarind and shallots that go with it.
    I’d like to try your recipe someday, if I can get my hands on the ingredients!
    And mini wave to you for being Freshly Pressed. Feels awesome doesn’t it?

    • Hi Archie, thanks for commenting! Wow I have no idea that you also have congee in India! And cooked with chili, sounds extremely interesting to me! I love chili and I would like to try your recipe soon. The most common Chinese( Teochew) ones would be just boiled rice with water, and served with many other salty dishes. In other region in China, people make salty version like this but mostly with meat. Some make with Chinese red dates, beans and other legumes for sweet version.

      I hope you find those ingredients in Chinese stores near your location, at least those are quite common ingredients used in Chinese cuisine. And yes, freshly pressed is so awesome! 😀 😀 😀

      • Oh and by Chilli I meant those mean green chillies that give a punch of heat. You see that’s why adding mushrooms or other items is so surprising for us 🙂 We have a desert version too. We call it payasam in south india, made with lentils, rice, clarified butter, roasted raisins, cashew nuts, toasted coconut pieces (some version) and beautiful packed jaggery… Maybe someday I’ll have the courage to try making some and will send you the recipe if it is palatable

      • Wow, I’d love to try the sweet version one day, roasted raisins and toasted coconut pieces sound delicious to me! We love using mushroom especially shiitake to add extra flavors into our food. Oh please do send me the recipe if you have got one. I would definitely try it out! 🙂

        Have a wonderfully day!

        Kind regards,
        Eva

  2. Eva, I’m not sure I’m going to find this angelica acutiloba in my local supermarket. I will try the Asian grocery stores. Those places are amazing. As one short person to another (who loved and still loves mushrooms) I say, learn to embrace your shortness,. Very cliché, I know, but we used to say ‘great things come in little packages.’ It’s true 🙂

  3. Ha ha! Well said! At least I enjoy buying winter outfit from children department that is half cheaper! 😀 I don’t think angelica acutiloba (Dang Gui) can be easily found in normal grocery stores, unless you are based in China…? 😉 I could get it from our Asian grocery stores even in Finland, where there is no Chinatown and very tiny little Chinese community. But I saw them everywhere in London and San Francisco China town. I hope you’ll find it because it is one of the main ingredients in this recipe.

    Oh I’m so thankful that you checked out my post. My sister just told me that these pictures did not look as delicious as it actually is. (especially when you like the fragrance of mushroom!) If you can’t find it anywhere but you would like to try this recipe, please let me know. I don’t mind mailing you some of it by post. 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on Soulsez… and commented:
    Gourmet version of a humble meal.
    Eva truly understands flavors and her passion is infectious! Beautiful photos, thank to her husband and elegant blog design makes hers the first ever Food Blogger to be reblogged on Soulsez.
    Please feel free to leave comments on her website…

  5. Pingback: Goji Berry Recipes | Superfoodliving.com

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