Japanese "Forest" Mushrooms
Shiitake, Japanese forest mushrooms, are one of the Orient's most exotic, versatile, and delicious foods. Their distinctive taste lends a gourmet flair to almost any dish.
Mitoku Shiitake are cultivated by the natural, traditional method. Hand-harvested at their peak of vitality, they are carefully dried, thus concentrating their exquisite flavor and goodness for year-round use. Shiitake Mushrooms are known to be a source for naturally occurring vitamin B 12. Truly the world's "Miracle Mushroom," modern science has proven shiitake contains anti-cancer properties.
Uses: Use with their soaking water for superb soups, tea, stews, sauces, gravy, casseroles, fried rice, noodles, or add to stir-fries.
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Cooking with Shiitake
Shiitake, Japanese forest mushrooms, are one of the Orient's most exotic and delicious foods. Shiitake's delicate, yet wild, woodsy taste adds a gourmet flair to almost any dish.
Shiitake should be enjoyed as part of a daily diet. Dr. Mori recommended four shiitake a day for the maintenance of health. However, when using shiitake as part of a therapeutic regimen, much larger doses are usually recommended.
The temperatures of cooking do not seem to destroy shiitake's healing qualities. In addition, cooking greatly enhances the mushroom's flavor. You can cook fresh shiitake in all the ways you are used to enjoying other mushrooms - in soups, stews, sauces, and gravies. Shiitake are a flavorful addition to fried rice, noodles, and stir-fried dishes. They are particularly delicious in tempura or when baked with a seasoning of shoyu, mirin, and fresh ginger. For a special treat, brush shiitake caps with olive oil and grill three to four minutes.
To clean fresh shiitake, simply wipe them with a damp cloth or soft brush. Fresh shiitake can also be rinsed under cold water and patted dry, but be careful not to soak them or they will become soggy.
Though the texture of reconstituted dried shiitake is not as tender as that of the fresh mushrooms, shiitake's exquisite flavor is even more concentrated with drying. To reconstitute, submerge the dried shiitake in water for at least one or two hours, preferably overnight. After soaking, cut off and discard the tough stems and slice the caps. The soaking water makes a wonderfully rich stock for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies. Used with their soaking water and other ingredients, such as carrots and greens, shiitake are a superb addition to miso soup.
Regardless of the type of food you enjoy, shiitake will add rich flavor and vitality to your diet. Following are several of our family's favorite shiitake recipes.
Shiitake Dashi (All-Purpose Soup Stock)|
Makes approximately 6 cups
This simple stock is great for soups; stews; sauces and gravies; noodle broths; and dips for tempura, fried mochi, and fried tofu. Dashi will keep for one week in the refrigerator.
6-inch piece Mitoku Hidaka Wild Kombu
3-4 dried Mitoku Donko Shiitake caps
7 cups spring water
In a pot, soak kombu and shiitake in water for 15 minutes*. Remove shiitake, cut off and discard stems, and thinly slice caps. Return mushroom caps to the water, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 5 minutes, then remove kombu and reserve it for another use. Simmer shiitake 10-15 minutes more. If not using the shiitake in the dish, remove it and reserve it for another use.
*If you intend to use the shiitake in the dish, they will be more tender if you soak them for several hours or overnight. Add the kombu for the last 15 minutes of soaking.
Shiitake Soup and Noodle Broth
For soups, add your favourite vegetables or other ingredients to Shiitake Dashi, simmer until tender, and season with a little salt and Shoyu or Tamari and Mirin to taste (about 1 tablespoon of each). If desired, add a little fresh ginger juice.
Broth for Soba or Udon is made the same way, except that more Shoyu or Tamari is added (about 1 tablespoon for every 2 cups of broth). Increase the Mirin, if desired, and season with ginger or wasabi. Ladle the hot broth over bowls of cooked soba or udon and garnish with minced green onions.
This tasty gravy will enhance all your favorite grain dishes.
2 dried Mitoku Donko Shiitake caps
2 cups spring water
1 1/2 tablespoons Eden Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unbleached wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon Ishigaki Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Mitoku Johsen Shoyu
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon Mikawa Mikawa Mirin or white wine
Soak the shiitake in the water for 30 minutes or longer. Squeeze excess water out of the mushrooms, cut off and discard the tough stems, and thinly slice the caps. Reserve the soaking water for the gravy.
Heat the oil in a small frying pan and sauté the shiitake, onion, and garlic over medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Lower heat, sprinkle flour over vegetables, and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the soaking water while stirring briskly to prevent the flour from lumping. Stir frequently until gravy begins to simmer and thicken. Add the salt, shoyu, thyme and mirin or wine and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Hot and Spicy Chinese Noodle Soup|
Ginger and chili-flavored sesame oil give this dish an authentic Asian flavor.
6 cups water
5 dried shiitake
2 slices peeled fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ cup thinly sliced carrots
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper or thinly sliced celery
2 ½ ounces/70 grams clear noodles, such as bifun
12 edible pod peas, trimmed and diagonally cut into 2-3 pieces
2 teaspoons natural soy sauce
¼ teaspoon chili-flavored sesame oil
In a pot, submerge the shiitake in water and soak for 2 hours or longer. Remove shiitake, cut off and discard stems, and thinly slice caps. Return caps to soaking water. Add ginger to the shiitake stock and gently simmer 10 minutes. Remove and discard ginger. Add salt, carrots, and bell pepper or celery, and simmer 10 minutes.
While soup is simmering, boil noodles in another pot for 5-6 minutes. Rinse cooked noodles under cold running water, drain well, and chop into 2-inch lengths. Divide noodles among individual serving bowls. To the simmering pot, add peas and soy sauce and simmer a minute more. Add chili-flavored sesame oil and remove from heat. Ladle hot soup over noodles and serve.
This is a traditional folk remedy to relax and soothe. Soak one mushroom for an hour, then cut it into quarters and bring it to a simmer with two cups of soaking water or fresh water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half. Drink just one half cup at a time.