Hakusai and Two Lentil Soup

While making this soup it occurred to me that i was making it up as i went along, and writing the recipe in my head. Thought it might be fun to write down… it was good, so here it is!

  • 3 – 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbls olive Oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 150g red lentils
  • 150g brown lentils
  • hakusai (roughly enough to fill the pan you’re cooking the soup in)
  • white pepper
  • salt

Boil a few dried shiitake mushrooms for around 10 minutes in a little water. While the mushrooms are softening, finely chop a large onion, and sautee in a pan with a few whole peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves.

Remove the shiitake from the stock, and carefully (there is usually grit or dirt trapped in the mushrooms) pour the stock over the onions. Remove the woody stems of the shiitake, finely chop, and add to the pan.

Add roughly 150g of both red and brown lentils to the pan, cover with water, and season with salt (less than a teaspoon, but lentils need salt so don’t be too stingy) and white pepper (yes, white pepper, it works well with hakusai).

Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the brown lentils are soft (but not falling apart). This takes roughly 20 – 25 minutes. Keep an eye on the lentils as they cook, the red lentils will fall apart and thicken the stock, and the brown lentils absorb a lot of water. If the stock gets to thick it’ll stick to the pan and burn – you’re making soup not stew!

Wash and cut a large pile of hakusai, and add into soup. Let the hakusai soften for roughly 5 minutes (it can take a little longer depending on how thick the leaves are).

Eat with decent bread.