Nora Pouillon
Nora and Asia Nora Restaurants
Washington DC
Author, Cooking with Nora (Random House 1996)

Curried Shiitake Mushroom Soup with Fenugreek, Ginseng, Oysters and Burdock Root

"Throughout the world, different tribes and races have passed down traditional remedies from generation to generation and certain foods have a reputation of having aphrodisiac properties. So why not combine all or as many as possible from all the different cultures, when you need a boost! The French believe that oysters work, the Chinese take ginseng, the Japanese eat shiitake mushrooms and the Indians turn to fenugreek. Burdock root and celery stalks also have the same reputation so try the following for a potent global love potion. This should be a winning combination for Valentine's Day!!"

Serves 8-12

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces each: diced onion, diced celery, diced carrots, burdock root
  • 6 ounces shiitakes
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground turmeric, black pepper, salt, thyme, oregano, basil,
  • fenugreek
  • 1 gallon water or chicken stock
  • 1 dozen shucked oysters
  • 1 vial liquid ginseng
Saute the onions, celery, carrots, peeled and thinly sliced burdock root, and sliced shiitakes in extra virgin olive oil until soft. Sprinkle in the ground turmeric and other spices, and add 1 gallon chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Add the vial of liquid ginseng to the broth, and shucked oysters and allow the oysters to poach for 1 minute or so, remove from heat and serve immediately.