Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dried Chinese Mushrooms

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?

36 comments:

  1. These look soo good! I used to hate the taste of these mushrooms at Chinese restaurants or at wedding dinners when I was a kid, but I adore them now - they're awesome in braised meat dishes too! And as luck would have it, I just got myself a couple of packets of these today; I know what I'll be making for dinner tonight!

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  2. wow..蚝菇生菜!!This is one of the classic items served in any Cantonese restaurants! It has been ages since I last had any good Cantonese/Chinese veggie dish.

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  3. Whole process takes less than 10mins because you are an iron chef Ju!

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  4. Wow, you made these mushrooms look fantastic! I've never seen any like them.

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  5. This dish looks delish! I too love all types of mushroom.

    Btw, I love your blog.

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  6. never taken mushroom in a slow cooker before. looks yummy ... and simple for a noob like me. thanks for sharing!

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  7. Simple and delicious! Love Chinese mushrooms, they are so healthy and fills you up quickly!

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  8. I don't know this kind of mushrooms, but they look so délicious, your photos are so wonderfull, I just want to taste !

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  9. Quando apro il tuo blof troavo sempre ricette interessanti, anche questa mi attira molto, bellissime foto.
    Buon week-end Daniela.

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  10. Look at how those mushrooms glisten! I've always enjoyed mushrooms but never knew how to cook them this style (is it cantonese?). I also didn't realize that we could achieve this using a slow cooker! Thanks so much for sharing this tip with us! Oh and Ju, please never shut up! We enjoy your blog too much! :)

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  11. wow looks so tender and slippery :) can I simmer on very low heat since I dont have a slow cooker?

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  12. This looks and sounds amazing. The person who wrote that article sells it very well! Oh and guess what... *hides face in shame* Whenever I bought dried Chinese mushrooms I soaked them in boiling hot water and wondered why they never softened up. I feel so foolish looking at your wonderful pictures of those plumped up mushrooms. Thank you for showing me the light! :)

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  13. MMMMMMMMM,...lovely!! The mushrooms look luscious, Ju!

    A lovely & great dish!

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  14. Wow that looks awesome JU!!! I must try this. first I must get a slow cooker..bt it loks so worth it esp if u can keep it for a month and have a lovely stock as well! TQ whata lovely recipe..:))o the pics are absolute droolers!

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  15. Mushrooms are yummy!! Like a dish like this, no hassles and healthy!

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  16. I have never think of keeping mushroom in this way, you are very smart !! Maybe I should start to prepare some and freeze it for coming CNY. Thanks dear. I like the 1st shot, awesome !!

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  17. Lovely succulent mushrooms, looks like those served in restaurants!

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  18. You just stirred up another simple and delicious veggie dish,...35 days more to go before you become a carnivore. haha

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  19. They do look wonderful..I can taste them Ju..we love mushrooms..Tick..to do list:) You are buys! That with eating light? Your profile pic will be tinier and tinier:)

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  20. I better follow your method of keeping mushrooms in this way before CNY. Thanks for sharing.

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  21. Hello JU, wow! Your culinary skills sure finger licking.
    Love the mushrooms in your dishes.
    My favourite is King mushroom.

    By the way, when you cook fish head lemak or curry, send me a telegram, ha ha.
    Have a great weekend, Lee.

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  22. thnaks Ju
    I love mushrooms so I will adopt your recipe cheers from paris Pierre !

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  23. Your personality is so cute Ju! :) You always make me smile.

    I had no idea these could be made at home ~ I learn something new every time I come to your blog. I, too, adore mushrooms and completely agree they are a delicious substitute for meat; very satisfying texture and taste.

    Your photos are stunning!

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  24. Wow! This is a great idea for a quick dinner!

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  25. Oh my that dish looks so fabulous....I could just stick my chopstick right into the screen and have a lovely lunch...
    This is the stuff I adore...
    Uh...can I come live with you JU? :)

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  26. I have always added hot water to them...yikes...I didn't know. They are always in the kitchen cabinet, but I think they'll taste even better now. I can't tell you how long I've been doing it wrong :-(

    Thanks Ju. I promised my self to eat lighter and just came back from a large Indian meal. There is always tomorrow!

    Diane

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  27. As always, you make hard to photograph dishes look incredible

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  28. This looks so delicious and healthy and wonderful. The simplest things are the best for you!

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  29. I have been using these mushrooms for years but I knew nothing! Thankyou for all I have learnt today... and I haven't even read the linked article yet!

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  30. This is a fave of mine! Simple and yet delish!!

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  31. Looks like a perfect restaurant creation!

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  32. Beautiful, Ju. I like to braise my mushrooms beforehand too. Learnt from my vegetarian MIL. I use a regular stainless pot and braise the mushrooms with ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar until they are plump and tender. Lovely when I need to cook chicken/pork/tofu in a hurry.

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  33. What a wonderful idea to freeze these! I love mushrooms but don't always want to deal with the soaking & braising. I never thought to freeze them.

    Love your blog - you are a great writer, but it would be great if I could comment just with name and not URL. I don't have a url so always need to leave my comments as "anonymous" which I think is kind of unfriendly. Ah well...

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  34. Thanks everyone, for your wonderful comments and ocmpliments!

    Anon: Thanks for your compliment! :) You CAN comment with just your name. The URL is optional. Or just sign off with your name/initial together with your comment? Cheers!

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  35. Wow, I never tasted such a plum and juicy mushroom before! Thanks for the receipe.

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