This dish is best served cold but not chilled. Shitake mushrooms are expensive but well worth it. Serve as a side dish, you only need a couple each.
Serves 4 as a side | Prep time: 10 mins (+overnight soaking) | Cooking time: 10 mins
75g sliced mushrooms
A couple slices of ginger
1 tsp light soy sauce
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
Pinch of white pepper (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
Soak the mushrooms overnight (or if you forget 15 minutes in boiling water will do). When they are soft, cut off the stalks then check the underneath for any small particles of grit and rub clean. Rinse and drain.
Heat the oil in the wok. Fry the mushrooms with the ginger pieces until they change colour. Add the soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper (if liked). Pour in enough water just to cover the mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, topping up the water if necessary, until the mushrooms are plump and soft.
Turn off the heat and add the sesame oil and mix gently. Then allow to cool.
When ready to serve, arrange the mushrooms cap side up on a plate and tip any remaining the sauce over the top and garnish with the coriander.
P – A sustaining breakfast for Pitta appetites
V – Okay but can be heavy for delicate digestions
K – In moderation. Better warmed
Shitake mushrooms are a favourite of mine to cook with. While Ayurveda does not encourage consumption of fresh mushrooms because they are considered heavy and hard to digest, the ancient traditions revere dried fungus for their many health benefits. Dried Shitake contains 65% of our daily copper requirement per serving. Copper cannot be manufactured in the body so needs to be consumed in foods. Benefits of copper include efficient use of iron, improved health of connective tissues, hair, and eyes.
Shitake also contains high levels of key B vitamins, and amino acids for improved energy levels and enhanced immune function, and selenium for skin health. Micronutrients in Shitake mushrooms have been shown in studies to discourage inflammation, tumors, “bad” bacteria, harmful viruses, and, ironically, fungus.
From a culinary viewpoint, because of its amino acid levels, Shitake is a source of the taste sensation the Japanese call ‘Umami’, which adds richness and depth to a meal. A little goes a long way but it is always worth the effort of seeking out this nutrient packed food.
To prepare cover with water then soak overnight, then clean well (depending on your source). Strain the soaking water through a muslin and use in stews and sauces.