Soup Of the Day: Shiitake Rice

This soup is a simplified version of the Shiitake Rice Soup they served at The Peaceful Dragon, a now closed vegetarian restaurant where I used to waitress in Charlotte, NC. The soup was a customer and an employee favorite, and I ate many bowls of it as both. It’s got a wonderful, rich, and savory flavor, and it’s both filling and light. It’s the perfect cozy winter night meal or a fantastic lunch.

Like most soups, it reheats well, but the rice will absorb extra liquid, so you’ll need to add a bit more or eat it thick.

Because I’m lazy, I use pre-diced and cleaned shiitake mushrooms like these so I can just dump them in the pot. If you’re using whole, dried mushrooms, you’ll have to pre-soak them in boiling water until they’re softened. Then you need to remove the stem and dice the caps. Reserve your soaking water and add it to the soup because it’s a big part of the flavor, but do be aware that sometimes there is a bit of grit on the whole, dried mushrooms that will fall to the bottom of the soaking water, so strain it or pour only off the top if you find that’s an issue.

Mise en place
Mise en place


  • 2 carrots (¼ inch dice)
  • 2 stalks celery (¼ inch dice)
  • 1 yellow onion (¼ inch dice)
All my veggies are chopped and ready.
All my veggies are chopped and ready.
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T minced ginger, or about 2 thumb-sized pieces
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • ½ C diced, dried, shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ C soy sauce
  • 2 C brown rice
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 10 cups of water (6 if using vegetable broth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: cracked red pepper or Siracha to taste
  • Sliced green onions and toasted sesame oil to garnish

Preheat vegetable oil in a soup pot, then add carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and ginger. I add about 1/4 t cracked red pepper here, but it’s optional. Sweat over medium heat until vegetables are softened, but not browned.

My veggies have sweated and they're readying for the rest of the ingredients.
My veggies have sweated and they’re ready for the rest of the ingredients.

Add mushrooms, soy sauce, rice, water and bouillon cubes, and bring to a simmer.

Everything in the pot. It's not pretty now, but come back in an hour.
Everything in the pot. It’s not pretty now, but come back in an hour.

Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, or until the rice is tender.

Taste and adjust spices and salt.

All done!
All done!

Serve garnished with green onions and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, if desired.

Dinner is served.
Dinner is served.

By Laura-C

Hopes to someday train her dogs not to be douchebags.

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