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Mushrooms and Fungi in China

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67 replies to this topic

#31 liuzhou

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 07:03 AM

Thank you. If you are interested in Chinese ingredients in general (not just mushrooms), my illustrated work in progress can be seen here.

#32 Will

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:30 PM

What advantage would there be in soaking in cold water?

I haven't done extensive direct comparison, but in my experience, cooler water seems to give a better flavor and a more even texture to the rehydrated mushrooms, and I think less of the flavor seems to be released into the water. Also, it will depend on the size, etc., but even with fairly hot water, soaking for only 20-30 minutes doesn't seem to hydrate the mushrooms enough for me -- the middle is generally still too tough -- might be Ok, depending on how the mushrooms will be further cooked.

My in-laws soak in cool water, but just to make sure they're not weird, I did an informal survey of a few (5 so far) ethnic Chinese about what they or their parents do. Some of them are from Mainland China; others from Taiwan, HK, or SE Asia. Most said they soak in cool or room temperature water, with longer soaking times (from 2-3 hours to overnight), unless they're in a hurry. So, regardless of the reason, I don't think this is an uncommon practice.

#33 liuzhou

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:32 PM

Another commonly available fresh mushroom is the Jade Gill Mushroom (海鲜菇 hǎi xiān gū, literally "seafood mushroom"). Although this looks like a larger version of the enoki mushrooms above, it is actually a variety of the shimeji mushroom (also above). Shimeji normally grow in bunches but when they grow individually they are referred to as jade gill mushrooms. They are used in cold dishes and soups.

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#34 ojisan

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:41 AM

What does it mean when dried mushrooms start turning white?

I have dried shiitakes and porchinis, stored airtight well over a year, turning white. I realize that I've held them too long, but I've been using them, so I assume they're safe to eat. But I wonder if there any concerns or reasons why they should not be eaten.

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#35 liuzhou

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:56 AM

Here is one type of fresh mushroom which I bought a few years ago from my regular trusted mushroom seller in the local market. I never did positively identify them. She never had them again, so she probably can't remember either. I must print out the picture and see if she does.

They really look like the chocolate mushrooms they sell to the kids round here, but I promise they were real!

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#36 liuzhou

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 01:31 AM

I came across these today. I'm not sure what they are. The Chinese is 松柏菇 (sōng bǎi gū), which literally translates as 'pine cypress mushroom'. Mr. Google and his Chinese counterparts have proved to be no help in identifying them.

I haven't eaten any yet, but they have a strong mushroom scent. After soaking the dried mushrooms the soaking water has a distinct green tinge.

Anyway, here they are dried

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and here are a few rehydrated

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Edited by liuzhou, 22 February 2012 - 01:34 AM.


#37 Nayan Gowda

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:16 AM

They remind me Slippery Jacks http://en.wikipedia..../Suillus_luteus
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#38 liuzhou

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 02:30 AM

They remind me Slippery Jacks


I'm fairly certain they aren't. They don't match the description or the pictures in that article or this one.

"It is slimy to the touch, bare, smooth, and glossy even when dry ..." The ones I'm looking at aren't.

#39 liuzhou

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 12:51 AM

Here is the mushroom list from a local restaurant. They offer 48 different varieties.

I am working on a translation and will post it asap.

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#40 Kent Wang

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 09:44 PM

Excellent work. I use the king oyster mushroom a lot for stir-fries. They brown up real nicely.

Wood ear and golden needle I like to put into kaofu (Shanghai wheat gluten dish).

#41 liuzhou

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:45 PM

In post #2, I mentioned bamboo pith fungus. What I failed to mention was that these come in two forms. There are the adult mushrooms with their lace-like veil

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but the immature fruiting bodies are egg shaped and are sold as "bamboo fungus eggs" (竹荪蛋 zhú sūn dàn).

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These are soaked in hot water for half an hour, then braised, fried or used in soups.

(P.S. I'm still working on the 48 mushroom menu translation. Soon, I hope.)

Edited by liuzhou, 28 March 2012 - 10:53 PM.


#42 liuzhou

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 07:47 PM

The 48 mushroom menu from my local restaurant turned out to have only 41 mushrooms on it. Here they are. Those in red are some which I haven't been able to positively identify, but have given a somewhat literal translations instead. If anyone can elucidate, I will be delighted.

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羊肚菌 Morel
松茸 Matsutake Mushroom
黄金菇 Golden Oyster Mushroom
竹荪 Bamboo Fungus
鸡油菌 Chanterelle
老人头 Portobello Mushroom
猴头菇 Monkey Head Mushroom
美味牛肝片 Porcini Pieces
白牛肝 White Bolete, King Bolete
鸡枞菌 Termite Mushroom
金喇叭带 Girolle
橙盖鹅膏 Caesar's Mushroom (Amanita Caesarea)
百灵菇嫩 Lark Mushroom
鲍鱼菌 Abalone Mushroom
姬松茸 Almond Mushroom (Agaricus subrufescens)
蜜环菌 Honey Agaric
冷杉菇 Fir Mushroom
珊瑚菌、有药效功效 Coral Mushroom
青杠菌 Tricholoma quercicola Zang
球盖菌 Burgundy Mushroom (Stropharia rugosoannulata)
松毛菌 (美容菌) Thelehhora ganhajun Zang (Beauty Mushroom)
黑牛肝 Black Boletus
金丝蘑菇 Golden Thread Mushroom
小黄菌 Small Yellow Mushroom
黄牛肝 Yellow Boletus
黑虎掌 Black Tiger Paw Mushroom (Sarcodon Aspratus)
茶树菇 Tea Tree Mushroom
鱼肚菌 Fish Maw Mushroom
雪山菇 Snow Mountain Mushroom
鸭掌菌 Duck Web Mushroom
姬平菇 Oyster Mushroom
小白侧 White Oyster Mushroom
冬瓜菌 Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus)
玉黄菌 Jade Mushroom (Russula virescens)
红乳牛肝 Boletinus asiaticus
白乳牛肝 Milk Boletus
马蹄菌 Horse's Hoof Mushroom
海鲜菇 Shimeji (Beech Mushroom)
见手青 Boletus speciosus
草菇 Straw Mushroom
野生香菇带 Wild Shiitake

Edited by liuzhou, 30 March 2012 - 07:48 PM.


#43 liuzhou

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 11:59 PM

I came across these today.

Known as 元蘑 (yuán mó) in Chinese, they are the highly rated "Honey Mushrooms" (Armillaria mellea). They have been compressed and dried (or vice versa) into little tablets measuring 2½ x 1½ x ¼ inches. The packaging suggests stewing them with chicken or "meat". They shouldn't be eaten raw as they are slightly poisonous when uncooked.

This block is soaking now, just to the side of my computer desk, and the smell is amazing.

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Edited by liuzhou, 04 April 2012 - 12:02 AM.


#44 dcarch

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 04:26 AM

Thank you for doing this whole topic. It has been fascinating.

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#45 Carolyn Phillips

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

This is brilliant! What did those honey mushrooms smell and taste like, how did you use them, and where were they grown?
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#46 liuzhou

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:34 AM

The honey mushrooms are from Daxinganling (大兴安岭) in China's Heilongjiang province. It is a forested area on the border with Russia. The annual average temperature is minus 2.8C (27F)and in the long winters get as low as minus 40C (minus 40F). Summer is a mere two months long. The area is known for its mushrooms and other wild foods.

When soaking, the mushrooms have a distinct earthy smell, but the taste is more subtle. Not so pronounced as cepes, but up there with morels and chanterelles.

I've used them in stews with chicken, in a mixed mushroom stir fry and had them in soups.

Here is what happens when I soak the compressed block in hot water.

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And the final reconstituted mushrooms.

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#47 Carolyn Phillips

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

Oh wow, that looks so delicious, and the photos are great! Do you know whether they ever available outside of China?
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#48 liuzhou

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 05:33 PM

I don't know that the Daxinganling mushrooms are available outside China, but the species grows pretty much everywhere, including the USA.

See here.

#49 Carolyn Phillips

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:44 PM

Oh, I'm in heaven. Thank you so much!
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#50 liuzhou

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Posted 09 May 2012 - 10:33 PM

Today I came across these big fellows.

This is a giant flower mushroom (大花菇 dà huā gū) - a shiitake considerably larger those normally available.

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Interestingly, they were also considerably cheaper than regular "flower" mushrooms". At ¥60 per 500g as opposed to around ¥100 per 500g for the regular sort. Also, these were supposedly imported from Japan, so the price difference seems even greater.

It seems the little ones are more highly prized.


Edited by liuzhou, 24 February 2014 - 10:46 PM.


#51 liuzhou

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 02:11 AM

China Central Television is currently running a cookery series. The beginning of episode one is (mainly) about wild mushrooms. It's in Chinese, but even if you don't understand the images will have you drooling.

On YouTube here.

#52 rod rock

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 04:52 AM

Wow that flower mushroom is huge! Crazy :)

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#53 hzrt8w

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 02:53 PM

This is a giant flower mushroom (大花菇 花菇 dà huā gū) - a shiitake considerably larger those normally available.

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Wow these are really huge shiitake mushroom!

About 2 decades ago these mushrooms used to be very expensive. But these days, perhaps due to technology advancement in growing them, prices on flower mushrooms have come down significantly.
W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"

#54 liuzhou

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 11:25 PM

The first fresh straw mushrooms of the season appeared in my local market this morning. Guess what's on the menu tonight!

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#55 aznsailorboi

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 09:56 AM

you should post what you made with those straw mushrooms :)
...a little bit of this, and a little bit of that....*slurp......^_^.....ehh I think more fish sauce.

#56 liuzhou

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:05 AM

I just sliced them and fried them with a bit of garlic and a tiny splash of Thai fish sauce. Then ate them with a simple stir fry of pork and fermented black beans. And rice.

Keep it simple.

I do have a picture, but I'm on the road at the moment and can't post it now. Will do so in a day or two.

#57 dcarch

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:54 AM

To get max flavor and no soaking time, I often use a coffee grinder to turn dried muchrooms into mushroom powder.

This will also allow you to use the tough stems.

dcarch

#58 liuzhou

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 11:24 AM

Mushroom powder has its uses, yes. Mainly industrial.

But for me, a huge part of the joy of mushrooms is their texture. And texture is also a key feature of Chinese cuisine.

I also think that most dried mushrooms, at least in China, aren't so dry that they would grind easily. But I've never tried.

(I'm posting this from a train somewhere in the middle of nowhere in southern China. We haven't moved for over an hour. Hope I'm not late for the promised lunch tomorrow. I think mushrooms are on the menu! Along with many other things. Sleep now. Nothing else to do.)

#59 liuzhou

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:55 AM

Home again and didn't miss my lunch appointment!

Here is what I did with the straw mushrooms:

Sliced 'em

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Fried them very simply with garlic in some bacon fat I happened to have from brunch. Finished off with a splash of Thai fish sauce.

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Then served 'em

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It was a quick throw together dish, but I was leaving for a short field trip early next day and had no time to get elaborate. Anyway, I prefer to let the mushrooms do the talking. And they had to be used. They do not keep. In fact, even overnight in the fridge, they start to auto-deliquesce.

When I have more time, I also like them braised whole in soy sauce. They're also great in an omelette.

Edited by liuzhou, 31 May 2012 - 05:59 AM.

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#60 liuzhou

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:39 PM

Yesterday, I received a parcel from an old and dear friend, 李美 (who uses the English name, Vera). It was a large box of dried mushrooms, but not any old mushrooms. These are rather special. I’d heard rumours that they existed, but had never been able to track them down.

IMG_0515Large.jpg

The hongzhui tree, 红椎树 (literally ‘red vertebrae tree’) (Castanopsis hystrix) is a subtropical species of evergreen broadleaf tree, which grows up to 30 meters in height. It is found in the eastern Himalayas of Nepal, Bhutan, and north-eastern India, across Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam), southern China (Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, south-western Hunan, south-eastern Tibet, and southern Yunnan), and Taiwan.

In a few areas of China, particularly Guangxi, but also Fujian and Guangdong, the hongzhui forests are home to a unique species of red mushroom. These are named after the trees and so are hongzhui mushrooms – 红椎菌.

Hongzhui mushrooms are found in the mountainous areas from May to August when it is both hot and wet. They grow under the shadow of the hongzhui trees, which also bear edible fruit similar to chestnuts but smaller.

Hongzhui mushrooms have so far resisted all attempts to grow them commercially, so they are all picked from the wild.

Pubei County in Qinzhou on the southern coast of Guangxi contains the largest area of hongzhui forests and the town of Longmen is the centre of the mushroom picking area.

My friend Vera writes:

I was born in a village of Longmen town, the major growing area of hongzhui mushrooms. Around the town, we have the most red fungi in the area. Picking them from the hills behind my old house is a very good, funny and happy memory from my childhood. We got up at dawn or even earlier, took a basket and started our journey. And we would also do it right after a sudden rain in the afternoon. There would be a good harvest. When walking in the wild, we had to be careful, otherwise we would suffer from being attacked by hornets or get itchy because of worms. I suffered many times but I enjoyed seeing the red “babies”. Because they could help earn money to pay for my school tuition.

We moved to town when I was 12 years old. I have never had such an experience again since then

The amount of hongzhui mushrooms picked is decreasing year by year due to environmental and climate changes. These mushrooms are much more rare than wild matsutake mushrooms but they are easier to take care of as they do not decay so rapidly.

 

They are normally sun dried, but in inclement weather over hot wood or coals. They are also eaten fresh, but fresh hongzhui mushrooms are only found local to their picking grounds. A trip is planned for the new season next year.

They are used with chicken, ribs, fish and with pig stomach, both in main dishes and in soups. It is said that they taste better when ginger and rice wine is used, but Vera prefers them plain so that she can get the full, natural taste.

Hongzhui mushrooms come in up to four grades. Nutritionally, there is no difference. Rather they are graded by appearance and texture. Prices vary from 170 – 400 yuan per 500g. (US$27 - $63, UK£17 - £39).

So here they are:

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Opening the bag released a strong mushroom scent. Almost overpowering. The whole room smells of mushrooms!

As an experiment, I set four specimens to soak. The water immediately turned pink and after five minutes was distinctly red.

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Here are the reconstituted mushrooms

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Following Vera's suggestion and continuing my experiment, I used these four babies in a simple chicken soup, minimally flavoured with a bit of ginger and salt. Of course, I strained and added the soaking liquid, too. The red soaking liquid was diluted by the chicken stock giving me a nice pink soup.

The mushrooms remained firm to the bite and tasted slightly sweet and somewhat nutty. They certainly went well with the chicken. More experiments shall follow.

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Thank you 李美!


Edited by liuzhou, 26 January 2014 - 08:54 AM.






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