The past week has been so hectic, my batteries were literally flat out by mid-week. All that sending, fetching, running (of errands and after the children) ... welcome back to the daily grind, people.
I have so many food recipes/photos still unblogged, I am wondering if they'll ever see the light of day. Perhaps a wordless post might be the way to go, you think? Ah well, let's see how it goes. Just shut up already, Ju!
Anyway, since going (almost) meatless for the past week - and eating more tofu, veggies, eggs and mushrooms - I feel so much better and lighter.
Now, one of my favourite ingredients is mushrooms. Any kind. In any style. Today, I'll feature Dried Chinese Mushrooms. They are extremely flavoursome, and a perfect sidekick in any veggie dish. I like to make a large batch and separate them into individuals bags for freezing. Whenever I need to jazz up a dish, I reach for one of these bags.
If you want to know more about Dried Chinese Mushrooms, you can read an excellent article here. Below is a snippet:
"Not just called xiang gu, in China these mushrooms are also known as tung gu and are considered as both a fragrant and a flower mushroom. This mushroom family is exceptionally meaty, is a vegetarian’s dream, called 'meat without bone,' and some say are more tasty than a piece of steak."
Now, drool over that! Every word of that is true.
Now, to prepare the mushrooms, you need to soak them first. Always use cold water, not hot. Cold water preserves their flavour while hot water destroys it.
Throw them into a slow cooker and fill with water (enough to submerge the mushrooms). Add 1 or 2 tsps of sugar, and a few cloves of bruised garlic (to be discarded after cooking). Stew the mushrooms in the slow cooker for the next 3 or 4 hours. Yup, just forget about them and go do something else.
Taken right after they came out from the slow cooker. Always buy the best quality mushrooms possible. Those that have thick, meaty caps. They make all the difference.
Once done, you'll get plump, juicy, succulent mushrooms stewed in their own liquor. Do not discard this precious liquid. Use them as a vegetable stock for stirfries. They add a wonderful woodsy depth to any dish.
At this point, you can opt to pack the cooled mushrooms into individual bags for freezing (each bag should contain some of the mushroom liquor). They keep well for about a month. Well, I have never gone past a month, so I don't know if they keep even longer.
Here's what I did for today's veggie dish:
Sang Choy With Stewed Mushrooms
- 4 heads of Sang Choy (a type of Chinese lettuce), washed and blanched very briefly. Arrange on a plate.
- In a skillet, fry some garlic in oil till fragrant.
- Throw in a portion of the mushrooms with its liquor (thaw first if you are using a batch from the freezer). Add 2 tbsps oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce if you want a vegetarian version) and continue stirfrying. To thicken the sauce, you may want to add 1 tsp cornflour mixed with some cold water. But this is optional.
- Dish up the mushrooms onto the Sang Choy. Pour the oyster sauce gravy over and serve.
- The whole process takes only 10mins. How easy is that?