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Mushrooms!

I LOVE mushrooms!! Found some interesting stuff about mushrooms, I mean edible mushrooms.

Chinese Mushroom (a.k.a Shiitake Mushroom, Chinese Black Mushroom and Forest Mushroom), not to be confused with European dried mushrooms, are the most widely used mushrooms in Chinese cooking and are grown chiefly in China and Japan. Their fleshy caps are dense and their stems are tough yet can be used for flavoring before being discarded. Shiitakes have a pleasant flavor and absorb the taste of other ingredients. They are often sold dried and can be kept for up to a year. Rinse well and soak in hot water for at least 30 minutes before using. The water then can be strained and used to add flavor to stock.

Agaricus Mushrooms are lump, dome-shaped mushrooms, ranging in size from small (button mushrooms) to big. This widely cultivated and consumed mushroom have a mild and earthy flavor. Their color ranges from white to pale brown and their caps should be firm and evenly colored.
Straw Mushrooms, also known as paddy-straw mushrooms and grass mushrooms are cultivated on straw that has been used on a paddy. These grayish brown fungi are long with a conical cap over a bulbous stem, and have a mild flavor that makes a nice addition to Chinese dishes. They can be found fresh in specialty produce markets but are more readily available canned.

Wood Ear Fungi is a popular ingredient in Szechuan cooking. It is also known as the tree ear, Jew's ear or cloud ear mushroom because of its flat earlike shape. Its translucent brownish beige flesh is gelatinous but firm, crunchy, and relatively tasteless. They absorb the liquid in which they are cooked and take on the taste of the other ingredients. Wood ears are often sold fresh in Asian specialty food stores. They are also available dried. Store fresh wood ears unwashed in the refrigerator. Although they can be kept for up to a month, it is best to use them within a week. To use fresh wood ears for cooking, Wash the fungi quickly in cold water and remove the sticky parts. As for dried wood ears, soak them in warm water for ten minutes. Drain, change the water, and let them soak for a 10 to 15 minutes or until soft. They will expand up to five times their initial dried size. Rinse off any dirt carefully.


Snow Fungus, also known as white tree ear fungus, silver fungus, and silver ear is quite similar to wood ear fungi but it is white in color and almost transparent. Good-quality snow fungus has a pale and yellowish-white color. It is often used in soups and desserts and is believed to improve the complexion.

Enoki Mushrooms, also called golden needles mushroom are small white mushrooms that grow in clumps with long, thin stems topped with a tiny white cap and a mild, almost fruity flavor. They have a crisp, crunchy texture when fresh, but tend to become tough when heated. They are also known as velvet stem/shank, snow puff, and golden mushrooms. The enoki mushroom is highly esteemed in Asia and figures prominently in various Chinese dishes.

Oyster Mushrooms are fan-shaped mushrooms with white flesh and a gray to brown exterior. This soft, moist fungus has a peppery, robust flavor when eaten raw and is often used in salads. The flavor softens when cooked, thus a nice addition to casseroles, soups or stir-fried dishes.

Recipes:

Bamboo Shoot with Mushrooms
(Serves 4 to 6)
Ingredients:
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 can bamboo shoots, drained and sliced
12 Chinese dried mushrooms, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes, drained and chopped
2 tbsps. rice wine or dry sherry
4 tbsps. soy sauce
1 tbs. sugar
1 cup water

Directions:
1. Heat wok over moderate high heat for 30 seconds.
2. Add cooking oil, bamboo shoot and mushrooms; stir fry for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low.
4. Cover the wok and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Serve at once.

Straw Mushrooms with Broccoli
(
Serves 2)
Ingredients:
200g fresh broccoli

Seasoning sauce:
2 cups good stock
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. rice wine
1 tsp. corn starch blended with water
Salt and pepper
1 can straw mushrooms, drained

Directions:
1. Cut broccoli into small florets and blanch in boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain well.
2. Boil the seasoning sauce, thicken with corn starch paste.
3. Add straw mushrooms and broccoli, bring back to boil and serve.

Sweet and Sour Vegetarian Dish
Ingredients:

3 medium tomatoes
1 medium carrot
1 can baby corn
50g French beans
50g white fungi
1 tsp minced garlic
2 slices ginger

Seasoning:
2 tbsps Zhenjiang vinegar
2 tbsps ketchup
2 tbsps sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water

Sauce:
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

Directions:
1. Skin and seed tomato. Cut each into 4 quarters.
2. Peel and shred carrot. Wash and set aside baby corns.
3. Soak white fungi until soft, wash and cook with ginger for 5 minutes. Remove and drain.
4. Trim French beans. Section and fry with 1 tbsp oil until green and dish up.
5. Stir fry minced garlic with 1 tbsp of oil until fragrant. Add carrot, baby corn, white fungi and seasoning.
6. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Put in tomatoes and French beans.
7. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in sauce.
8. Dish up and serve.

Snow Fungi Sweet Soup (Dessert)
(Serves 6 )
Ingredients:
50g snow fungi
3 cups water Some rock sugar
1 can fruits

Directions:
1. Soak snow fungi in hot water for 30 minutes. Rinse well, cut away and discard any hard or discolored pieces.

2. Put snow fungi in a bowl with the water and sugar and steam for an hour.
3. Leave to cool, then place in the refrigerator to chill.
4. Before serving, strain the canned fruits and mix with the fungi.

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