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This Japanese inspired soup by Tom Conran uses ingredients that are now readily available in most super markets. It is incredibly tasty and nutritious and doesn’t take much preparation although you’ll have to leave this to cook for about an hour.

Shiitake mushrooms, (and most mushrooms) are packed with beta-glucans and Lentinan and other polysaccharideswhich can modulate the immune system and stimulate T cells via various mechanisms (Meng et al 2016) and are important for our gut microbiome. GInger, garlic and spring onion are all full of anti-viral molecules whilst pearl barley is a wholegrain that supports our gut microbiome and immune system. We know that greens and fermented foods such as miso support a healthy gut microbiome too so this is a bowl supporting optimal overall health and offering immune system support.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 spring onions, sliced into strips

½ onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 tbsp groundnut oil

12 1- 15 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 cm ginger, cut into matchsticks

50g pearl barley

2 tbsp of miso paste

1 litre boiling water

2 pak choy, roughly chopped

1 small handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp sesame oil

Juice of ½ a lime

  1. Add the spring onions to a bowl of cold or iced water and refrigerate until the soup is ready.

  2. Heat a large pan and add the groundnut oil.

  3. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes.

  4. Turn up the heat to medium and add the shiitake mushrooms and ginger and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown.

  5. Add the barley and cook for another 2 minutes.

  6. Add the miso and 1 litre of boiling water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum.

  7. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the barley is cooked.

  8. Add the Pak choy and cook until wilted. Season well.

  9. Drain the spring onions from the water – they should be crisp.

  10. Serve the soup garnished with the spring onion, coriander, lime juice and sesame oil


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