Japanese Mushrooms

Japanese Mushrooms

Shiitake Mushrooms

These Japanese fungi are now commonly available in supermarkets. They are among a variety of tree mushrooms (called take in Japan, the shii being the hardwood tree from which they are harvested). They have a meaty, slightly acid flavor and a distinct slippery texture. Shiitake mushrooms, though once only available in oriental stores, are now widely available in most supermarkets. Unlike button mushrooms that can be flash-fried, shiitake mushrooms need to be cooked through, although even this only takes 3-5 minutes. Add them to stir-fries for a delicious flavor and texture. Alternatively, fry them in oil until tender. Sprinkle with sesame oil and then serve with a little soy sauce.

Enokitaki Mushrooms

This is another Japanese mushrooms. The wild variety is orangy-brown with shiny caps but outside Japan, you will probably only be able to find the cultivated variety, which are similarly fine, with pin-sized heads, but are pale colored with snowy white caps. They have a fine, sweet and almost fruity flavor. In Japanese cookery they are added to salads or used as a garnish for soups or hot dishes. Since they become tough if overcooked, add enokitaki mushrooms at the very last minute of cooking.

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