SHITAKE AND OYSTER MUSHROOMS WITH OYSTER SAUCE
This recipe is one my all-time favorites. It’s a bit of a splurge as the ingredients are a little pricey – but it’s absolutely delicious – and incredibly healthy, as are all edible mushrooms. And it’s easy to make!
And… if you don’t have time to make this great dish, just reconstitute a bunch of shitake mushrooms (see directions for reconstituting below); remove the stems and store the reconstituted mushrooms in your refrigerator. You can use them in just about everything! Just cut into bite-size pieces (using a pair of kitchen shears) and add to soups and stews, rice, pasta, beans and veggies! These mushrooms are very versatile, delicious and oh-so healthy! They also freeze well. Just freeze in small portion-size packets for later use.
1, 3 ½-ounce package dried shitake mushrooms
- Other names for shitake mushrooms are Chinese black mushrooms, black mushrooms, and black forest mushrooms.
- Medium-sized dried shitake reconstitute nicely. The larger ones get more watery.
- To order dried mushrooms by mail , you might try Wild Mushroom Supply.
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or canola oil) plus 1 tablespoon peanut oil
5 fresh king oyster mushrooms (or as many as come in one 11-ounce package)
- King oyster mushrooms are big oyster mushrooms and you will find them at Asian supermarkets (for example, Grand Mart in Sterling and Centerville, VA) and perhaps at some well-stocked regular supermarkets.
- They can be stored in the refrigerator (in the packaging they come in) for about a week without a problem.
- If you don’t have king oyster mushrooms, you can make this recipe without them. Just use less oyster sauce.
1-2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- Every Chinese cookbook I’ve read recommends Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Flavored Sauce, so that’s what I use.
- If you are vegetarian, you may skip this sauce entirely and use some Bragg Liquid Aminos or just a little soy sauce instead.
- Bragg Liquid Aminos is 100% ok for vegetarians as it’s made with “vegetable protein from soybeans and purified water” and that’s it. Braggs, available at Whole Foods (and other natural foods stores) actually tastes amazingly similar to Oyster Sauce. But the oyster sauce I used in this recipe has some sugar in it – 4 grams sugar per tablespoon, according to the label, and the Bragg’s product has no sugar in it. One teaspoon of sugar weighs 4 grams.
- So to make 1 tablespoon of the vegetarian equivalent of oyster sauce, you would use about 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 teaspoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos. Or instead of sugar, you could use agave nectar. Since agave nectar is sweeter than sugar, just use 1/2 teaspoon of agave nectar and 3 teaspoons of Braggs.
- I don’t think it matters in this recipe whether you use sugar or agave nectar. It’s such a small amount and it’s part of a meal. So the gylcemic index issue isn’t an issue. (More on the glycemic index another time.)
1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil (optional)
- Note added on 8-28-09. When I first posted this post, I debated with myself whether to include the sesame oil in the recipe. The sesame oil makes the dish taste even better, but heated oils are not recommended. They may contain cancer causing chemical byproducts and they are oxidants — the exact opposite of the anti-oxidants that we need to have more of in our diets. Still, at the time I wrote this recipe, I figured that this is a very small amount of toasted sesame oil, so I included it – as an optional ingredient. I just want you to know why the sesame oil is optional, and you may want to skip it. The mushroom dish will still taste GREAT without it.
Reconstitute the dried shitake mushrooms:
- Place dried shitake mushrooms into a bowl of water and rinse.
- Remove shitake mushrooms from water and place in a medium-size pot; add water (to fill with enough water to cover the mushrooms if they were all submerged) and heat to boiling; cover (with lid partly ajar) and boil gently for one minute. You may need to stir the water a little so that it doesn’t boil over.
- Remove the pot from heat; let it sit, covered, for 1-2 minutes, covered.
- Test to see if the shitake mushrooms have been fully reconstituted: Use a kitchen shears and cut through one of the thicker mushrooms. If there is a light colored stripe in the middle, it needs to sit in the water a little longer to get fully reconstituted.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms from the cooking water.
When cool enough to handle, cut off the mushroom stems using a pair of kitchen scissors. Set the cooked and stemmed mushrooms aside. Reserve mushroom stems and the water the mushrooms were in for another use.
Slice the king oyster mushrooms lengthwise into slices (slightly more than 1/4 -inch wide). Slice each slice lengthwise to make 2-3 strips per slice. Set aside.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of peanut (or canola) oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add half of the oyster mushroom strips and sauté until lightly browned on both sides. Remove the lightly browned oyster mushrooms strips to the serving dish.
Add the one 1 tablespoon of peanut (or canola) oil to the pan from which you just removed the oyster mushroom strips; let the oil get warm/hot; add the rest of the oyster mushroom strips; brown on both sides and then remove the browned mushrooms to a mixing bowl.
Add the reconstituted and stemmed shitake mushrooms to the bowl with the oyster mushroom strips.
In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce with the toasted sesame oil (if using). Pour the oyster sauce-sesame oil mixture over the mushrooms in the large bowl; stir to mix well.
Notes re directions:
- Note re reconstituting shitake: You will find other directions for reconstituting these mushrooms tell you to soak them longer. That’s OK. The directions I have given above are what I used and were based on what I read on the back of the package of Havista Black Mushrooms that I used.
- Note re mushroom soaking liquid: The water that the dried shitake mushrooms soaked in is great in soup.
- Note re shitake stems: You can puree the stems in a food processor or blender and add the puree to the mushroom broth for a great soup starter.
- Note re sediment in mushroom soaking liquid: When you pour the mushroom soaking water over into a storage container, you will notice that there’s some sediment at the bottom. I discard the small amount of liquid with sediment because it probably contains some gritty matter (dirt?).
How to grow your own mushrooms
Here’s a link to information about how to grow your own shitake mushrooms (in temperate climates).
Enjoy and be healthy!