Chinese Mushrooms

by | Jan 20, 2009 | Ingredients | 0 comments

Ingredient Name:

Dried chinese Mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms, 

Traditional Chinese Name:

冬菇 (dōng gū)

Video on “How to Prepare Mushrooms for Chinese Cooking” on YouTube. 

This is a MUST HAVE in your Chinese soup (or cooking) pantry!  It can be used for soups, stews, stir-fry, herbal drinks, or hot pots and has a very flavourful taste (and sometimes a more unique smell depending if you like it or not) which enhances whatever it is you’re making.

These typically come dried and you’ll see all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colours (ranging from dark brown to light brown and various patterns).  Shiitake mushrooms are the most commonly used mushrooms in the Chinese cuisine and their Chinese name comes from the fact that they are grown in colder climates.

How do I prepare it?

    These little mushrooms come pretty hard and firm (they are dried after all) and need a good soak before they are usable in any form.
    I’ll usually use 5-6 in a soup and soak them in cool water for an hour, rotating them once in awhile to ensure they’re fully submerged.  Once the stems and the body becomes soft, sponge-like, and malleable, you can remove the stems or slice them as needed.
    You can also watch our “Mushrooms:  How to use them in Chinese Food!”  video on  YouTube.
      There’s also a great video section in this video on using vegetarian options in place of meats in “Amazing Substitutes for Meats in Chinese Soups”.

Where can I buy it and cost?

      • You can purchase these from most Asian supermarkets prepackaged
      • You can also purchase this in bulk from specialty stores (online herbal shops)
      • Be sure that you’re buying from a reputable source
      • The price range of these mushrooms is insane!  And I thought they were only mushrooms!  Supermarkets normally carry a package of 200g for less than $10 CAD
      • However, at the specialty shops, I have seen these for way more!  They scale almost similarly to dried scallops where you can cheaper ones or more expensive ones.  To be honest, if you’re using them in soups, normal ones will do.  Sometimes, they have perfectly round, large ones when they make wedding or Chinese New Year’s dishes (like the mushrooms and fat choy dish).

Any benefits?

      • Shiitake mushrooms are amazing source of fiber, including Vitamin B
      • They are known to contain equivalent amounts of amino acids as meat, making them great substitutes for meat
      • The taste of dried shiitake mushrooms are acquired, but pack a punch in flavour when added to soups and stews
      • They are immune boosting and have antioxidant properties
      • You can use these in a variety of soups and stews and can be found in many recipes

Any precautions?

      • Be sure you are buying these from a reputable source as there are cases where they are fake

      • I like to soak them and then rub them a bit to ensure they’re clean.  This is to remove any potential drying agents or additives that are added as part of the drying process.

      • Be sure to soak them for at least an hour until they are soft or they’ll be hard to digest

Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?

Check it out in my video to learn more!

 

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