Tết + Healing Ginger Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Mai Flowers

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
Happy Lunar New Year!

I’ve been feeling under the weather, so last night, I made a super spicy ginger soup!

My mom came to visit me and has brought plenty of traditional Vietnamese Tết food, which I will be sharing on Instagram throughout the weekend. ^.^

I wish you all a wonderful new year and hope it’s filled with blessings, positivity and happiness.
Chúc bạn sức khỏe dồi dào–I wish you a wealth of health! If you’ve been feeling sniffly like me, the following soup will do wonders for you.

Spicy Healing Ginger Soup

Hearty, fragrant, and above all, piquantly spicy, this soup was perfect for combatting my sinuses. I’ve been pining for some spicy ginger soup. After sipping just a small bowl, my sinuses were cleared and my throat was left with warm lingering feeling. It was a blissfully burning sensation! Loaded with antioxidants from garlic and onions, and numerous benefits from the warming ginger, this broth is hardcore, and it takes less time to make than phở.

I would serve this as an appetizer in small bowls, because it’s so potent. However, if you’re feeling sick, feel free to eat a big bowl of this! For a more substantial meal, throw in some soba noodles and tofu or Gardein chick’n strips. I think the Gardein would make an awesome addition.

Healing Ginger Shiitake Mushroom Soup (SPICY)
inspired by 101 Cookbook’s Immunity Soup
(serves 5-6)

Spicy Ginger SoupTotal time: 1 hour

  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • about 3 inches of organic ginger, sliced (I got 6 slices, as pictured)
  • water (as needed, amounts will be specified below)
  • sesame oil, about 1 T
  • 1/4 cup organic ginger, thinly julienned (Like this. And here’s another visual.)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 small carrots
  • 3/4 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t mushroom powder (or no-salt vegetable seasoning, but I prefer mushroom powder)
  • 1/2 t ground white pepper (plus more, to serve)


  1. Take the first onion, peel off the outer layer, and cut it into sixths. Roast this onion and the ginger slices in the toaster oven at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes.
  2. As for the second onion, it needs to be peeled and sliced (cut it in half first, then trim the ends, then slice each half, like this). Set these aside in a bowl.
  3. Peel the garlic, and slice it thinly. Dump these into the bowl with the sliced onions.
  4. Cut off the stems of all the shiitake mushrooms and set them aside. Slice the mushrooms (about 1/4” slices). Set these aside aside.
  5. Slice your carrots (about 1/4” slices) and save the scraps. Set aside.
  6. In a medium pot, bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil, and add the mushroom stems and carrot scraps, to start a broth. Cover the pot to get it to boil faster.
  7. At this time, the onions and ginger are probably done roasting. Remove them from the oven and place them into the broth, letting them boil gently for a minute or two. Then lower the heat to medium.
  8. Cover the broth and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes—the longer, the better. I let mine simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  9. In a pan, heat up about 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, on medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions, julienned ginger, and sliced garlic. Stir these around with a wooden spatula for a couple of minutes, until you can smell their fragrance. Then add the sliced shiitake mushrooms.
  10. Sauté gently for a little over a minute. Be sure to toss the mushrooms around so that they get incorporated with the onions, ginger and garlic. They don’t need to be totally cooked, just softened, because you’ll be adding them to the hot broth in a bit. Add a pinch of salt and a dash of mushroom powder, before taking them off the heat. Set aside.
  11. Once the broth is done simmering, strain it well and return it to the stove. Keep the ginger slices and place them in the pot again. Add another quart (plus a cup) of water to the pot.
  12. Bring the broth to a boil on high heat, and add the sliced carrots. Adjust the heat to medium, and let them boil gently, up to 5 minutes. When the carrots have a couple of minutes left, add the sautéed shiitake mushrooms to the broth.
  13. Adjust the heat to low, and add your seasonings–sea salt, mushroom powder, and white pepper. Adjust to your taste.
  14. Serve hot, with chopped chives and green onions for garnish. I also added some chili garlic paste to mine.

Healing Ginger Soup


2014 is the year of the Green Wooden Horse. Here’s an interesting excerpt from a recent article about the upcoming year:

It’s the Male Wood (Tree) Green (nature) Horse Chinese New Year. Horse contains fire. Wood helps fire burn hotter, brighter, longer. Fire is the child element of wood. Wood gives unconditionally, giving itself to the fire ‘til there’s no more wood. This means there will be opportunities in 2014. And then they disappear. We are to learn as much as possible for after the times of “disappearance.” We are to prepare for when there are no helpers. The wood tree needs water, sunshine and good earth to grow strong and tall. We are that tree. We are also horse.

I don’t keep up much with superstitions, but I like thinking about the symbolism of these things, and I think this is valuable message for 2014.  I look forward to learning from upcoming opportunities.  I was born in the year of the horse…so it’s going to be my year! Do you celebrate the Lunar New Year? What’s your Chinese zodiac animal? Let me know in the comments below!

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