Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

liuzhou

Mushrooms and Fungi in China

Recommended Posts

Will   

Regarding the comments in the first post about soaking dried Chinese mushrooms in hot water, my understanding has always been that you get better results for many types of mushroom with a long soak in cool water, rather than a short soak in hot water.

With shitakes, I'll sometimes cheat and soak for a couple hours in warmer water, but normally, I try to soak stem-down for 8+ hours in room temperature water. This is what I usually do for most other dried stuff used in Chinese cooking too (mian lun, fu zhu, etc.).

What do other folks do?


Edited by Will (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

I've never known anyone in China to soak mushrooms or anything else in cold water for so long. For example, the hua gu pictured above were pre-packed and the instructions on the bag say to soak in hot water for 20 minutes and that is all I have ever seen people do.

instructions.jpg

What advantage would there be in soaking in cold water?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the comments in the first post about soaking dried Chinese mushrooms in hot water, my understanding has always been that you get better results for many types of mushroom with a long soak in cool water, rather than a short soak in hot water.

With shitakes, I'll sometimes cheat and soak for a couple hours in warmer water, but normally, I try to soak stem-down for 8+ hours in room temperature water. This is what I usually do for most other dried stuff used in Chinese cooking too (mian lun, fu zhu, etc.).

What do other folks do?

I usually:

  • put the dried ones in a (largish-rice) bowl
  • cover them with tap water
  • cover the bowl with cling film
  • pierce it a couple times with a knife and then
  • zap it in the microwave for about a minute then
  • let them soak about an hour.

I'm not sure exactly where I picked that up at, America's Test Kitchen possibly? I've never tried any other way so I've nothing to compare it to but perhaps I should try another way? This seems to work out ok however.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Awesome mushroom porn. A truly great and informative thread. We can get a lot--but far from all--of those locally in fresh form. I, too, had been wondering about what to do with king oysters--I'd tried a couple of methods, including my go-to recipe for roast mushrooms (usually used with Swiss browns or, say, small portobellos), without much (i.e. edible results) success. Will keep braising in mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
naguere   

Thank you so much, what a thrilling post.

with the photographs and descriptions , you could write a book.

I will read it more than once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

haixiangu800.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ojisan   

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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!

mushrooms.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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

Conifermushrooms.jpg

and here are a few rehydrated

Conifermushrooms2.jpg


Edited by liuzhou (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

junlintianxia1Large.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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

800px-Bamboo_pith_mushroom.jpg

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

BambooFungusEggs.jpg

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

junlintianxia1Large.jpg

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

compresedhoneymushroom.jpg


Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dcarch   

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

dcarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

honeymushrfoomsoaking.jpg

And the final reconstituted mushrooms.

honeymushroom.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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

See here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
liuzhou   

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.

LargeFlowerMushroom1.jpg

LargeFlowerMushroom2.jpg

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 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Hennes
      I just got a copy of Grace Young's "Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge"—I enjoyed cooking from "Breath of a Wok" and wanted to continue on that path. Does anyone else have this book? Have you cooked anything from it?

      Here was dinner tonight:

      Spicy Dry-Fried Beef (p. 70)

      I undercooked the beef just a bit due to a waning propane supply (I use an outdoor propane-powered wok burner), but there's nothing to complain about here. It's a relatively mild dish that lets the flavors of the ingredients (and the wok) speak. Overall I liked it, at will probably make it again (hopefully with a full tank of gas).


    • By liuzhou
      We are all used to unami now. Maybe it's time to consider gan. Particularly found in teas, but also in other foods. An interesting article from a great magazine.
       
      Going, going gan
    • By liuzhou
      I’m an idiot. It’s official.
       
      A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
       
      So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
       
      First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.

      Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
       

       
      Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
       
      The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
       

       
      These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine,  they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
       
      If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
    • By Duvel
      “… and so it begins!”
       
      Welcome to “Tales from the Fragrant Harbour”!
      In the next couple of days I am hoping to take you to a little excursion to Hong Kong to explore the local food and food culture as well as maybe a little bit more about my personal culinary background. I hope I can give you a good impression of what life is like on this side of the globe and am looking very forward to answering questions, engaging in spirited discussions and just can share a bit of my everyday life with you. Before starting with the regular revealing shots of my fridge’s content and some more information on myself, I’d like to start this blog and a slightly different place.
      For today's night, I ‘d like to report back from Chiba city, close to Tokyo, Japan. It’s my last day of a three day business trip and it’s a special day here in Japan: “Doyou no ushi no hi”. The “midsummer day of the ox”, which is actually one of the earlier (successful) attempts of a clever marketing stunt.  As sales of the traditional winter dish “Unagi” (grilled eel with sweet soy sauce) plummeted in summer, a clever merchant took advantage of the folk tale that food items starting with the letter “U” (like ume = sour plum and uri = gourd) dispel the summer heat, so he introduced “Unagi” as a new dish best enjoyed on this day. It was successful, and even in the supermarkets the sell Unagi-Don and related foods. Of course, I could not resist to take advantage and requested tonight dinner featuring eel. Thnaks to our kind production plant colleagues, I had what I was craving …
      (of course the rest of the food was not half as bad)

      Todays suggestion: Unagi (grilled eel) and the fitting Sake !
       

      For starters: Seeweed (upper left), raw baby mackerel with ginger (upper right) and sea snails. I did not care for the algae, but the little fishes were very tasty.
       

      Sahimi: Sea bream, Tuna and clam ...
       

      Tempura: Shrimp, Okra, Cod and Mioga (young pickled ginger sprouts).
       

      Shioyaki Ayu: salt-grilled river fish. I like this one a lot. I particularly enjoy the fixed shape mimicking the swimming motion. The best was the tail fin
       

      Wagyu: "nuff said ...
       

      Gourd. With a kind of jellied Oden stock. Nice !
       

      Unagi with Sansho (mountain pepper)
       

      So, so good. Rich and fat and sweet and smoky. I could eat a looooot of that ...
       

      Chawan Mushi:steamed egg custard. A bit overcooked. My Japanese hosts very surprised when I told them that I find it to be cooked at to high temperatures (causing the custard to loose it's silkiness), but they agreed.
       

      Part of the experience was of course the Sake. I enjoyed it a lot but whether this is the one to augment the taste of the Unagi I could not tell ...
       

      More Unagi (hey it's only twice per year) ...
       

      Miso soup with clams ...
       

      Tiramisu.
       

      Outside view of the restaurant. Very casual!
      On the way home I enjoyed a local IPA. Craft beer is a big thing in Japan at the moment (as probably anywhere else in the world), so at 29 oC in front of the train station I had this. Very fruity …

       
      When I came back to the hotel, the turn down service had made my bed and placed a little Origami crane on my pillow. You just have to love this attention to detail.

    • By Soul_Venom
      The best Chinese food restaurant I have ever been to is a place called the Imperial Buffet in Aberdeen SD. Their General Tso's is unlike the Tso's anywhere else. The closes comparison I could make is the Orange Chicken at the Panda Garden only 3x better. Their Lo-Mein Noodles are done with the skill of a master Italian pasta chef & perfectly seasoned. They also used to do a mean fried squid. I say used to because they had it when I lived in Aberdeen from 02-04 but didn't when I visited in 15'. One of their other discontinued specialties was a dish advertised as 'Golden Fried Cauliflower'. Note, this was NOT a breaded product. The cauliflower was cooked as though it had been boiled perfectly. It was not greasy as I recall but was a golden orange color as was the sauce it was evidently cooked in. I never could identify the flavors in that sauce. I wish I could describe it better but it has been well over a decade since I had it. Is anyone familiar with it or something similar? I can't seem to find anything like it online & all my searches just bring up links to breaded deep-fried crap.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×