Last night I saw a youtube video for a recipe called “New England Clam Chowder“, and it reminds me about 8 years ago when I ate my first clam chowder. Frankly, I have forgotten how was its taste.
But this time, the recipe is a little bit special, since it uses nori and shiitake mushrooms in replacement of the clams, and I just thought that was such a brilliant and clever idea.
Now I have all kinds of awesome ideas about making “sea-stuff” for a vegan like using nori and shiitake mushrooms to make a hoisin sauce! Wow, sometimes one idea can open so many doors.
So I did do some things pretty differently, like instead of 1 cup of cashew, which I don’t like to have that much because 1 cup is quite a lo. I also made the cream a mixture of cauliflower, potatoes, cashew, and almond milk.
Wow, that worked so well because it ended up being really creamy and delicious, and I couldn’t tell there were potatoes or cauliflower!
This is also the first time I’ve worked with fresh shiitake mushrooms, and I have to say, they are like one of the most amazing things ever, so chewy, delicate and they look fantastic. I think I’m going to get a packet each time now!
- ¼ cup cashews
- ⅓ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ russet potato
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion
- A sprinkle Himalayan/sea salt
- 1 medium carrot
- 1½ russet potato
- 1½ cup fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 1 nori/seaweed sheet
- ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth (add ½ teaspoon Himalayan/sea salt if broth contain no sodium)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white cooking wine
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- A few sprinkles ground pepper
- 1 sprig parsley
- Saltine crackers for garnish (look for ones without hydrogenated oils)
- To make the Cream: Soak the cashews in ⅓ cup of lukewarm almond milk for about 30 minutes in a small bowl. (You will need to briefly warm the almond milk up for a bit)
- Meanwhile, chop a russet potato in half (you will use the other half later) and peel the skin off. Chop it into blocks and toss it in a small saucepan with a cup of cauliflower florets. Fill up enough water to cover the cauliflower and potato, and boil it for about 10 minutes.
- Drain all the water and toss it in the blender along with the cashews soaked in almond milk, vegetable broth and cornstarch. Blend until it’s completely smooth.
- To make the Chowder: Peel, wash and dice the yellow onion in small cubes. It’s easier to slice it in half first. Put the diced onions in the frying pan. Peel and chop the garlic into small pieces and put it in the frying pan as well, with a tablespoon of extra light olive oil.
- Important: If you prefer very soft carrots and potatoes, you will need to boil them for about 15 minutes. Otherwise, they will come out chewy and hard. To boil them, just toss them in a small saucepan and fill enough water to cover them, and boil on high heat for 15 minutes.
- Back to the saucepan, turn the heat to medium high (5-6), add a sprinkle of salt and start stirring and sauteing the onions and garlic. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, then add the potatoes and carrots, and cook/saute and stir for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, chop the stems off the shiitake mushrooms (you can discard them if you want, I like to chop them into tiny pieces and use them). If the shiitake mushrooms are really big, slice them in four, otherwise keep them round and whole (to represent clams).
- After the carrots and potatoes have been cooking in the frying pan (with you continuously stirring), add the shiitake mushrooms and crush a sheet of nori/seaweed (the stuff you use to wrap sushi) into very small flakes and add them. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of salt over it and let it cook for another 10 minutes, with you constantly stirring.
- Finally, add the cream, vegetable broth (if your vegetable broth contains no sodium, add an extra ½ teaspoon salt), thyme, bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, white cooking wine, onion powder, garlic powder and ground pepper. Stir until everything is even, then close the lid and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Finally, remove the bay leaves and serve.