Serves: 8 Cook time: 7 hrs 30 min
24 dried shiitake or black Chinese mushrooms (2 to 3 ounces)
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-by-2-inch sticks
2 (8-ounce) cans bamboo shoots, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) packages extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
4 1/3 cups water, divided
4 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
1/4 cup white vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 cups cooked lo mein noodles (about 6 ounces dry)
1 cup sliced scallions
Discard mushroom stems and cut the caps into ½-inch pieces. Spread the mushroom pieces in a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Add carrots, bamboo shoots and tofu to slow cooker; sprinkle with white pepper. Top with cabbage.
Combine 4 cups water, broth, white (or rice) vinegar, red-wine vinegar, soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce and ginger in a bowl; add to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook for 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low.
Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup water, cornstarch and sesame oil in a bowl. Stir into the soup. If using the Low setting, turn to High. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in noodles, cover and cook for 10 minutes more. Serve topped with scallions and with more soy sauce and chile-garlic sauce, if desired
Author Notes: Dried mushrooms rehydrate as you slow-cook this classic Chinese soup, giving the broth deep umami flavor. With the addition of cooked noodles at the end, it’s a satisfying vegetarian meal.