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5 Popular Mushrooms in Asian Cooking (And Their Uses)
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Are you confused when it comes to cooking various types of mushrooms?

Popular Mushrooms in Asian Cuisine

Mushrooms are plentiful, they are everywhere and have been crowned with new titles of “superfoods” and “functional foods” lately. They are perceived to deliver all sorts of health benefits, including the boosting of immunity.

As a dietitian, I am most interested in everything mushroom. The benefits are amazing and I personally consume mushrooms for both their taste and health benefits. As a matter of fact, I was interviewed for an article written by Renée S. Suen and titled “Why Are There Suddenly Mushrooms In Everything?” for Chatelaine magazine last year. You can read the article at the following link: Why Are There Suddenly Mushrooms In Everything

Instead of consuming mushrooms as an expensive oral supplement, I love cooking with mushrooms and include them in everyday preparations of soups, stews, and stir fry dishes and for hotpot.

To learn about different types of mushrooms, their nutritional values and how to cook mushrooms, please read on. We have also featured a delicious and nutritious Asian-inspired Braised Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mountain Yam Recipe, developed by “Cooking with 3C!”

Types of mushrooms

👨‍🍳👩‍🍳Shiitake mushrooms usually come dried and appear cracked. Deeper fissures and whole mushrooms with larger caps tend to have more flavour so look for those when you’re shopping. Try using them in curries, soups, or sauté them along with other vegetables!

👨‍🍳👩‍🍳Wood ear fungus also known as cloud ear mushrooms are black, thin, wrinkled mushrooms with a soft and smooth texture. They are a high source of fibre and contain many antioxidants, iron, protein, and vitamins B1 and B2.

👨‍🍳👩‍🍳Enoki mushrooms are long, skinny, white, and bunched together. They typically have a soft, chewy texture and are a highly versatile ingredient for cooking.

👨‍🍳👩‍🍳Oyster mushrooms are large, fan-shaped mushrooms with white flesh and a grey, brown exterior. They have a meaty texture when compared to other mushrooms but can also be soft textured. Try searching for canned oyster mushrooms when the fresh variety is unavailable.

👨‍🍳👩‍🍳White button mushrooms are probably what you think of when someone mentions mushrooms, they are stout, round, and white hence the name white button mushroom. Although you can eat them raw, cooking them brings out their full fragrance. Try white button mushrooms sautéed, in salads, or soups!

Nutritional value of mushrooms and ideas for use!

🍴Shiitake Mushrooms

  • High in Vitamin B5, manganese, and Niacin
  • Mainly soups, but also curries or vegetable sautés.

🍴Wood ear fungus Mushrooms

  • May help lower cholesterol and promote gut/immune health
  • Stir fry, salad, or soups

🍴Enoki Mushrooms

  • High in vitamin B and fiber
  • Soups, but also stir-fried with sauce

🍴Oyster Mushrooms

  • High in fibre, low in carbs
  • Particularly high in niacin

🍴Button Mushrooms

  • High in potassium and phosphorus
  • Toast, soup, pasta, and stir fry

How to cook mushrooms

🍳Shiitake Mushrooms

  • Deeper fissures and whole mushrooms with larger caps tend to have more flavour
  • Water used to soak shiitake mushrooms has a lot of flavour and can be used as broth for more taste

🍳Wood Ear Mushrooms

  • Soak dried wood ear mushrooms for 2 hours in cold water then 15-20 minutes in warm water for best preparation
  • When storing dried wood ear, an airtight container placed in a cool dry place is best. Rehydrated wood ear can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

🍳Enoki Mushrooms

  • Look for enoki mushrooms which are firm and white

🍳Oyster Mushrooms

  • Slice the bottom stem to separate the mushrooms and begin cooking
  • There are a variety of different oyster mushrooms that can be good for different recipes; for example, king oysters are the largest and have a meaty texture

🍳White Button Mushrooms

  • Fresh mushrooms only last 3-4 days, try freezing, canning, or drying to extend shelf life without affecting the nutritional value
  • The freshest mushrooms are firm and supple. Avoid slimy, damp, wrinkled, or spongy mushrooms.

 

Braised Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mountain Yam Recipe

(Recipe developed by Cook with 3C (Dr. Jennifer Gao, Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor, Chef Jason He, a Chinese Cuisine and Herbal Chef, Amy Yiu, Registered Dietitian)

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 45 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

 

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (whole, chicken breast or thighs) Half (200g)
  • Dried Shiitake mushrooms 50g
  • Mountain yam (fresh)* 100 g

 Seasoning:

  • Garlic 3-4 cloves
  • Ginger 1 peeled and sliced (1 inch wide and ¼ inch thick)
  • Shallots 3 pieces
  • Parsley 2 stalks
  • Water ¼ cup
  • Oyster sauce 2 tbsp
  • Low-sodium light soy sauce 1 tbsp
Braised Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mountain Yam Recipe

 

  • Dark soy sauce 1 tsp
  • Cooking wine (Shaoxing wine**)1 tsp
  • Cornstarch 1 tsp
  • Sesame oil ¼ tsp
  • Salt ¼ tsp
  • Sugar ¼ tsp

Directions:

  1. Pre-soak shiitake mushrooms in room-temperature water (for 45 mins or in the fridge overnight).
  2. Drain and cut shiitake mushrooms in half. Set aside.
  3. Cut garlic and ginger into small pieces. Chop shallots.
  4. Wash and cut chicken (or chicken breast/thighs) into pieces.
  5. Marinate the chicken with light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and salt.
  6. Blanch fresh mountain yam in boiling water for 1-2 mins.
  7. Heat oil in a pot or frying pan. Add garlic, ginger, shallots, and shiitake mushroom. Stir-fry well until fragrant.
  8. Add chicken and 1 tsp cooking wine (Shaoxing wine). Add ¼ cup of water or chicken broth and cover the pot/pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Season with oyster sauce, sugar, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce.
  10. Use Cornstarch water*** to thicken the sauce. Season with sesame oil.
  11. Decorate with 2 parsley stalks. Serve and enjoy!

*Fresh mountain yam can be found in the produce section of Asian supermarkets

** Cooking wine (Shaoxing wine) can be found in the dry goods aisles in Asian supermarkets

*** Mix 1 tsp of cornstarch with 1 to 2 tbsp of water to make cornstarch water

Part of the content researched and drafted by Matthew Wan of Libra Nutrition. For more Asian inspired or East Meets West recipes and cooking videos, please visit Libra Nutrition Recipes

 

There you have it! A simple guide on different types of mushrooms in asian cooking, their uses, nutritional values, how to cook mushrooms and to finish it off, the delicious and nutritious Braised Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mountain Yam recipe. If you tried the recipe or found this guide useful, please leave a comment below!

Resources:

Why Are There Suddenly Mushrooms In Everything

Libra Nutrition Recipes

Healthy Chinese Breakfast Ideas

Black Rice Recipe

Eating Well With Diabetes: East Asian Diets

Looking for more information on Asian cuisine or dietitian nutrition counselling?

Our Calgary dietitian and online nutritionist services do everything we can to help you move towards your personal best weight and a sustainable lifestyle. You won’t find any weird fad diets, unnecessary food restrictions and anyone trying to sell you shakes, supplements or so-called miracle cures here.

As trained Registered Dietitians, you can count on us for credible advice and practical meal planning so you don’t have to stress about food anymore. You can achieve a healthy and joyous relationship with food and your body. Let’s talk about what this can look like for you.

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