Slow-Cooked Shiitake Mushrooms

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Shiitake mushrooms are an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. They are mainly in Asian cuisine and are  very fragrant. They are the 2nd most popular mushroom in the world, right after the standard white button mushroom!
 
Dried shiitake mushrooms have more flavor and aroma than their fresh counterparts. Dried shiitakes are rehydrated  by letting them soak in water for several hours or overnight. The water is then strained and used to flavor dishes and soup stocks like dashi. The stems can be added to soup stocks for added flavoring, but are typically discarded afterwards because they are too chewy.
I find shiitakes intimidating to use in recipes, but was so pleasantly surprised to find that a Japanese recipe I recently tried was simple and fuss-free! They provide a vegetarian meal with some satisfying substance, thanks to the “meaty” texture. 🙂
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 large shallot ~ peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2″ ginger ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, julienned
  • 2 cups dry shiitake mushrooms ~ see prepping instructions below
  • 1 medium organic carrot ~ scrubbed clean, skin left on, cut into thick matchsticks
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1/2 cup shiitake liquid ~ strained
  • 4 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • fresh ground black pepper ~ optional
  • chopped cilantro ~ optional
HOW TO REHYDRATE REHYDRATE SHIITAKE 
  1. Place the dried shiitakes in a large bowl or cooking pot. Cover the shiitakes with filtered water (1:2 ratio; 1 cup dried shiitakes to 2 cups  water) and set it aside on the kitchen counter. Place a lid or plate over the bowl as the mushrooms can get a little “aromatic.” Let the mushrooms soak for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Squeeze all the liquid from the mushrooms. Cut the stems from the mushroom. Cut the shiitakes in half or to desired size for you recipe.
  3. Strain the liquid and reserve it in an airtight jar for later use. This liquid should keep for about 5 days, stored in the refrigerator.
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COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Stir the shiitake liquid, evaporated cane sugar, and shoyu in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large stainless steel pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Very lightly brown the shallots and ginger. Add the carrots and cook them halfway.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the prepared shiitakes and sauté them until they are mostly brown. Add more oil as needed to avoid sticking.
  4. Pour in the mixture from step #1. Gently stir contents. Bring the liquid to a boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and let the liquid to simmer until mostly evaporated.
  5. Turn off the heat, remove pan from the stovetop, and add the sesame oil. Stir all the contents. Gently fold in the snow peas.
  6. Serve with jasmine rice or vermicelli noodles (my favorite!) and garnish with black pepper and cilantro.
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