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Rice Vermicelli with Bok Choi and Cilantro

8 ounces dried rice vermicelli
4 large dried shitaki mushrooms
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
5 green onions, white parts only; 3 crushed, 2 thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 heads small bok choi, trimmed and ribboned to 1/4-inch
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Soak the noodles and shitakes in two separate bowls of hot water until soft. After about 20 minutes, drain the shitakes. Trim and discard stems, and julienne the caps. Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until golden. Remove from heat and set aside. Place the shitakes, stock, crushed green onions, and ginger in a large pot. Season with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer.

Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drain the vermicelli, add to the boiling water and cook for 5 seconds; remove with a sieve and divide between 4 large soup bowls. Add the chicken to the boiling water, cook for 10 seconds, remove with sieve, and divide between the bowls. Add the bok choi to the pot; blanch until just tender, 1-2 minutes. Remove with sieve, arrange on chicken and ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Garnish with sliced scallions, cilantro and the garlic. Serves 4.

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