This Chicken Mushroom Soup with cilantro in it was a request made by my best friend who had the sniffles. So did a friend who suddenly dropped all his work and stayed at home.

I made this soup for him. He was sore all over, and running a temperature.

Right now he is in Bangkok. I have no idea if he is okay or not, because he did not tell us. However, I shall hit him the next time I see him.

On to the soup.

This soup begins with a broth. Which is made by putting 1 kilo of chicken pieces, especially a lot of bones, in a pressure cooker. That is followed by some torn roots of coriander (a handful is enough), 1 inch ginger, sliced, and 500 ml. water. Boil for five minutes, and discard the top layer of the water. Add 1 liter of water this time. Preferably boiling. Close pressure lid, apply full pressure, and simmer, at full pressure, for 20 minutes, or 12 whistles, whichever comes first.

Let the pressure cool down naturally, and let it be for half an hour. Then, open pressure cooker, fish out most of the meat and stuff, and then quickly pass the broth through a sieve.

Let the broth cool down fully, and preferably put it in the fridge overnight. The more it is left alone, the better the flavors will develop.

Use the chicken from the broth in sandwiches. I generally add mayo and bread and call it a night.

Take three dried Chinese black mushrooms (Shiitake mushrooms) and re-hydrate them by soaking in 1 cup of warm water for 15-20 minutes. Put them in cold water, wash, and cut into long strips.

Take 1/2 cup of chopped chicken (I prefer raw meat, but you can also add the cooked chicken). Chop them in small pieces, or you can also use minced chicken.

Squeeze out the juice of one lime/lemon.

In a large, thick-bottomed vessel, add the broth and 1/2 cup of the mushroom soaking liquid, strained. Let this come to a boil. Add the chicken to it, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add 1 handful of chopped cilantro (coriander leaves), and 1/2 teaspoon pepper powder, or crushed peppercorns.

Add the mushrooms and let everything come to a boil.

Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1/2 cup water (use the remaining mushroom soaking liquid, strained) and add this to the broth. You can also drop in a beaten egg and watch it fluff around.

Finally, add the lemon juice, salt, and a big pinch of sugar. Pour in bowls and serve, with a bit of vinegar-soaked chillies on the side and soy sauce.

If you cannot find Shiitake, other types of mushrooms works well too. I have made this with button mushrooms, cloud ear fungus, morels, and they all come out wonderfully. You can also ditch the mushrooms for a non-mushroom soup. 
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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