Originally Posted by GotGarlic
I was joking, Larry
I have a ton of Asian ingredients, too.
Are you open to other ways to use them or do you just want to recreate that one dish? As you say, without knowing exactly what you're aiming for, it's tough to give advice, but there are lots of tasty ways to use these ingredients.
You could ask someone at your Asian store for suggestions on how to make the soup. Is it Chinese? Soy sauce and shiitake mushrooms provide a lot of umami (veg but meaty) flavor to Asian dishes.
You beat me to it! Shiitake mushroom broth is used a lot. The dried mushrooms are dirt cheap.
Notice the ubiquitous scent in the air of virtually all chinese restaurants?
That smell is simmering shiitake mushroom broth in the 8 gallon pot at the back of the stove.
I used to sell thousands of live rock cod to a well known chinese restaurant over many years. This meant when I delivered the fish in large bins to the kitchen I was able to observe what was happening. Sometimes I saw a line cook empty a large bag of dried shiitakes into a large stock pot filled with water. Nothing else was added. I think this was the 'mother-stock' for a lot of dishes.
Dried shiitakes from China are a LOT cheaper than using meat scraps to make the mother-stock. The meat scraps were added to the shiitake mother stock later. Plus the shiitake mother-stock is a clear broth to start with compared to using meat scraps which as we know can turn a broth cloudy if not carefully made.