Thursday, March 13, 2014

Washoku: Soy-Simmered Shitake Mushrooms

If you've been to an Asian grocery store, you know there's at least one aisle, if not two, devoted to dried foods. I've wandered through them, trying (pointlessly) to identify was I was looking at. Seaweed, squid, various leaves, the variety is staggering (Though there is no dried fruit - it took me 20 minutes but I finally found it, in the candy aisle; which makes a lot of sense if you think about it.)

Anyway, one of the basic ingredients of the Washoku pantry is dried shitake mushrooms. This week, I decided to try the recipe for Soy Simmered Dried Shitake Mushrooms or Shitake No Umani.

Dried mushrooms. They're pretty in a dried flower arrangement kind of way.

The first thing to do is soak the mushrooms in hot water, to rehydrate them. Easy enough.

Soaking mushrooms
Get out your pan and add stock, some of the water you soaked the mushrooms in and a little sake. Bring to a simmer and add the mushrooms. Then wait. (6-8 minutes) add sugar (another 6-8 minutes) add soy (2- minutes). Remove from heat and let cool in the pan with whatever remains of the liquid, most of which will have boiled off.

You are left with these:
Soy-simmered shitake mushrooms
And they are really good. A little sweet, a little salty, chewy. I realized that I've had these before at Japanese restaurants. They are usually used to garnish a main dish. To me they seem like a great addition to a lunch box, since they are supposed to be eaten cold. This is one I'll make again. I'll have to. I have at least 1/2 a pound of mushrooms left.

Have a good weekend!

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