Snow fungus is often used in Asian soups and drinks due to its health properties. It is also known as white fungus and is often cooked together with a sweet fruit and made into desserts. The nutrients from the snow fungus are equivalent to that of the expensive ingredient, bird's nest. Just like bird's nest, the white fungus has anti-ageing properties as it contains collagen. One can definitely call it the poor man's bird's nest because snow fungus is so much cheaper yet nutritious. Instead of using apple to boil this soup, I am using the Korean pear or also known as Nashi pear to prepare this dessert. Korean pears have plenty health benefits too. Hence, this white fungus soup is a definite health booster as it detoxifies, dissolves mucus, treats constipation, heals sore throat and relieves cough. It is also a thirst quencher at the same time. In fact, this soup also helps to boost the immune system, according to traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
Before using the snow fungus, hydrate it in water until it softens. Only the soft parts of the snow fungus are used to make the soup. Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of any dirt. The snow fungus should be cut into slices and the Korean pear, shredded. Once cooked, both ingredients should combine well, thus making the soup so much more enjoyable to consume.
Just for your information, the Nashi pear belongs to the rose family. Thus, it is no surprise to smell the fragrant sweetness released by the pear after double boiling the soup for 4 hours. It takes quite long to boil this soup but it is surely worth the effort. Moreover, double-boiling for long hours is a tradition that goes way back. It helps to lock in the nutrients as it gently cooks the soup. If you are unable to find Nashi pear, use Chinese pear instead. It has a light yellow skin and can be found at your local grocer. I had tried using both types of pears but noticed that the final result is different. The Chinese pear is not as sweet and juicy as the Nashi pear. That being the case, just sweeten the soup with another honey date or add more rock sugar.
Traditionally, most Chinese households should have a double boiler. Unfortunately, I do not possess one, so I had to be creative. I managed by placing the soup in a ceramic bowl and covering it with a plate, then double boiling it in a cast iron pot. This works just as well as a double boiler. I had been using this method for years now and had never encountered any problems. So, try this method if you do not own a double boiler.
Boiling the soup directly is also possible but the heat is much harsher compared to double boiling. A lot of nutrients is perceived to be lost if it is cooked directly over the stove. Admittedly, I sometimes do so as it does not take long for the ingredients to soften. Therefore, I guess it depends on the time and tools you have in hand. Either way, you will still be rewarded with a great and nutritious thirst quencher.
Pear with White Fungus Soup is also known as: Shredded Pear with Snow Fungus
Whoops. No photos uploaded yet. Be the first!
Hydrate snow fungus for at least 30 minutes or until it softens. Rinse snow fungus before cutting the snow fungus into slices. Remove skin and core of Korean pear. Shred the Korean pear into small strips.
Add Korean pear and snow fungus into a bowl. Add hot water to the bowl. Ensure that the water is sufficiently covering all the ingredients.
Add water to a pot. Then, place the bowl into the pot. Allow the water to cover at least 1/3 of the bowl. Use a plate to cover the bowl. Increase heat to bring to boil. Once water begins boiling, cover the pot. Reduce heat to the lowest and double boil soup for 4-6 hours. Enjoy soup warm or cold.