We often write Ingredient Spotlight posts to highlight unique, natural ingredients in our products and how they benefit your skin. In many cases, those same ingredients are as nutritious for your body as they are for your skin. This first installment features a traditional Chinese soup with the Tremella mushroom, also known as the snow fungus.
The Tremella mushroom is a now-familiar ingredient featured in Earth’s Recipe’s products. As a reminder, this unique fungus can retain 500 times its weight in water, which translates to its hydrating and plumping properties in skincare products. When I asked about the benefits of eating Tremella, my mother said it replenishes the body. When translated literally from Chinese, replenish means to “fill with water,” which is reminiscent of the aqua-filling trend. In skincare products, Tremella extract has been found to effectively hydrate skin, filling and plumping it from within.
According to my mother, it has long been believed that the regular consumption of Tremella mushrooms, also known as snow fungi, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and minimizes dark spots. (The scientific jury is out when it comes to such claims.) Therefore, Tremella soup was a traditionally popular food to enhance beauty. Some research-proven benefits of the fungus is that it promotes circulation, lowers cholesterol, and increases liver function.
Whenever I was sick, my mother would make me a sweet Tremella soup to soothe my coughing, as it is believed to moisten the lungs. There is nothing that matches my mom’s homemade food, especially when I’m feeling under the weather. Specializing in East Asian cuisines, my mother can rival James Beard Award-winning chefs with her skills and knowledge. (But don’t trust my word as I am clearly biased). Her version of this soup is incredibly simple and not as cloying sweet as other variations.
Like many great cooks, my mother does not measure any ingredients. Instead she relies on her memory, instincts, and senses when cooking. Unfortunately, that means I can’t provide an exact recipe for this dessert soup, but I can still walk you through the process!
First, the dried Tremella (easily found in Asian grocery stores) is re-hydrated in water until it blooms into a soft, fluffy cloud shape. It’s cut into small pieces and thrown into a pressure cooker with water. Traditional additions to the soup include dried dates, goji berries, and dried longan berries. My mother’s soup contains 6 dried dates and a handful of dried lotus seeds.
Once all the ingredients are in the pot, it simmers for three to four hours. The final product is a viscous, dark amber broth. The Tremella melts into the soup and takes on a slippery, jelly texture while the natural sweetness of the dried dates seeps into the broth.
As every family has their own recipe, there are many variations. Other additional ingredients to add while cooking include nuts or rock sugar. Here are some actual recipes to follow:
Snow Fungus Sweet Soup Dessert
Longan and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup
Snow Fungus Sweet Soup with Lotus Seeds
Get your glow on,