Shiitake Mushrooms (シイタケ)
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Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Sometimes referred to as ‘black forest’ or ‘sawtooth oak’ mushrooms, Shiitake (しいたけ) mushrooms (and specifically dried shiitakes) are a staple necessary to create some of the most pronounced flavors in Japanese cuisine.
The process of sun drying shiitakes draws out the umami – or “fifth taste” – and rehydration by soaking in water yields a deep, earthy flavor in both the mushroom flesh and the leftover water used for soaking.
Recipes using shiitake mushrooms:
- Vegan mapo tofu
- Creamy vegan carbonara
- Baby bok choy soup with garlic and ginger
- Mu shu tofu
Shiitake mushrooms can be used to create vegetarian dashi – or can be added to the original recipe to tack-on an earthy flavor element. And the mushroom flesh is seen in dishes from nabe to chawanmushi.
While the caps are ubiquitous throughout Japanese cooking, the stems are rarely used as they are much tougher in texture.
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