Saifun Noodle Soup with Black Helvella

This is a very simple Chinese style noodle soup using the fat rice noodles called saifun. These fettucini-style noodles usually come dried, in 12 or 16 oz. packages. The recipe uses Helvella lacunosa in a way that resembles the use of Chinese wood-ear fungus, which you can substitute if needed. You can vary the quantities of all of the ingredients below, since the quantities as stated came purely from improvisation.

Use two large pots, one to cook the noodles and the other to cook the broth and vegetables. Fill one pot with enough water to cover the noodles (but don't actually cover them yet.) Fill the other pot with the chicken or vegetable broth. Heat both pots on medium high. As the chicken or veggie broth is heating up, add the crumbled Helvella lacunosa and soy sauce. When the noodle water is boiling, add the saifun and cook for a few minutes until soft but not slimy. Drain the saifun in a collander, rinse with water, and separate it into individual serving bowls. Now add the brocoli, tofu, green onion and chopped hot pepper to the mushroom broth, which should also be boiling by this time, and heat for just a minute or two -- long enough to barely cook the brocoli, which should still be crunchy. Now ladle the broth over the noodles, distributing the brocoli and tofu, then sprinkle with fresh chopped basil. Serves three to four.