Thai-Inspired Porcini Soup

The mountains speak to me in full sentences. The first word of each, a sunrise. The wind rattling trees provides commas. Every mushroom is a period, full stop. They are telling me that summer is about to slip beneath autumn.

I feel anxiety and also relief, knowing that the crush of foraging high season is about to end, and my time for hibernation is nearly at hand. Tomorrow, the cold winds will wipe my mind clean before I turn inward. Today, I gorge myself on the fruits of warm days - the last of the wildflowers, cumulus clouds fluffed over crayon skies, sunshine on my bare toes.


It's rare that I publish a recipe with this many ingredients. Most of them are pretty easily found in an Asian market. If you read through the instructions, you'll see that this soup hardly takes any work - just throw some the ingredients in a pot, cook, strain, then add a few more. The broth is at once flavorful and light, never overtaking the flavor of the fresh porcini (Boletus edulis).

Thai-Inspired Porcini Soup

1 can coconut milk
trimmings from 4-5 small fresh porcini mushrooms
1 shallot, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1" galangal root, peeled and sliced
4-6 lime leaves
3 stalks lemongrass
10-12 cilantro stems
1 tiny thai chile, whole
1 Tbsp. palm sugar

4-5 small porcini mushrooms, sliced
juice from 1 lime
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 c. water

cilantro leaves
thin slices of chile
lime wedges

1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, load up the coconut milk, porcini trimmings, shallot, garlic, galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass, cilantro stems, chile, and palm sugar. Turn the flame to medium, and let the ingredients start to slowly bubble. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let the coconut broth cook for 15 minutes.

2. Strain the broth through a sieve and discard the solids.

3. Return the coconut broth to the pan. Stir in the sliced porcini mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, and water. Over medium-low heat, let the soup gently heat until the mushrooms have just cooked through.

4. Serve the Thai-inspired porcini soup garnished with cilantro leaves, slivers of chile, and a wedge of lime.


  1. Three cheers for the change of seasons if it allows you to write more gorgeous posts like this. I've made so many of your great recipes over the years, and your photography is excellent. But I really come here to read your writing in those rare moments when you decide to give us your tightly pressed gems.

    1. Yes, what Katie said. And "tightly pressed gems" is also a tightly pressed gem, IMHOP.

  2. It just so happens I have 3 and was wondering how to use them for dinner. What could be better than porcini soup on this fine rainy day?

    Thanks for the inspiration. And so many porcini recipe. I don't mind at all that you seem to be obsessed with them.

  3. I'd like to second the call for more of your poetry.

  4. I'm a long-time reader. Many years.

    And I agree that it makes me giddy when you write one like this.

    Amazing how you usually do it in so few words.

    But sometimes, I get chills.

  5. I've never gone asian with them. Interesting.

    1. They're so good in this broth. My concern is always in obscuring the flavor of porcini, particularly the fresh ones.

  6. Those first two paragraphs epitomize why I love your blog. It's the music of the mountains and the magic of nature's harvest encapsulated perfectly in a few short lines. Your words remind of John Muir's: "In every walk with nature (one) receives far more than he seeks". I'm sitting in the morning sun in Helsinki as I write this, hoping for one last good mushroom run tomorrow, with similar mixed feelings as you've expressed - watching summer fade into fall. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your writing with us.

  7. New visitor from your buddy wildfoodgirl. She said your writing was totally worth the visit and I wasn't disappointed.

    Great site. Lots of food for thought LOL.

  8. I've been reading your blog a lot this week. Somehow it is a comfort to know that the plants will survive this flood and come back new maybe next week maybe next year. Its gonna take me longer to bounce back.


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