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Mushrooms in Chinese Cooking


eatingwitheddie
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When I was small, I remember on one occasion how all the adults were making such a big deal about having crystal fungus for lunch because of how expensive it was and so on. I didn't see what the big deal was, it was almost completely tasteless and had a wierd texture and I think I made my parents rather angry by saying it tasted disgusting.

Now that it's become cheap and ubiquitious, I don't think anyone I know eats it anymore because it tastes like nothing.

PS: I am a guy.

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When I was small, I remember on one occasion how all the adults were making such a big deal about having crystal fungus for lunch because of how expensive it was and so on. I didn't see what the big deal was, it was almost completely tasteless and had a wierd texture and I think I made my parents rather angry by saying it tasted disgusting.

Now that it's become cheap and ubiquitious, I don't think anyone I know eats it anymore because it tastes like nothing.

Rice is cheap and ubiquitous and tastes like nothing, but plenty of people eat it by choice. I love the mushroom, the texture, the crunch, the earthy flavor. That's exactly why I go out of my way to eat it!

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Now that it's become cheap and ubiquitious, I don't think anyone I know eats it anymore because it tastes like nothing.

Rice is cheap and ubiquitous and tastes like nothing, but plenty of people eat it by choice. I love the mushroom, the texture, the crunch, the earthy flavor. That's exactly why I go out of my way to eat it!

I love suit yee for its texture. It's like tofu in that it takes on the flavour of whatever it is cooked in. There's nothing more comforting than crystal fungus cooked in a rich chicken stock when you are feeling off, or in the midst of a blinding snow storm :wink:

You DO have to be careful so you don't overcook it. You want to retain some of that "crunch".

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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When I was small, I remember on one occasion how all the adults were making such a big deal about having crystal fungus for lunch because of how expensive it was and so on. I didn't see what the big deal was, it was almost completely tasteless and had a wierd texture and I think I made my parents rather angry by saying it tasted disgusting.

Now that it's become cheap and ubiquitious, I don't think anyone I know eats it anymore because it tastes like nothing.

I happen to love crystal fungus in soups and dessert soups. It is kind of bland, but has a great texture.

I also love wood ear. My grandmother used to stir fry wood ear with "golden needle" (a dried vegetable of sort) with chicken wings. My mom tends to put it in stew with mushroom and pork/spare ribs.

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I also love wood ear. My grandmother used to stir fry wood ear with "golden needle" (a dried vegetable of sort) with chicken wings. My mom tends to put it in stew with mushroom and pork/spare ribs.

Golden Needle is a common name for a couple of things... either "blanched" (in this case grown without light) garlic chives or the dried unopened glower bud of certain yellow or orange day lilies.

"The nutritious dried vegetable kam cham, which means golden needle in Cantonese, is derived from the yellow flower of day lily. It is also known as “forget worries vegetable”. It is a highly recommended Chinese health food. It is high in iron, potassium, phosphorous and calcium. Frequent intake can prevent stone formation in the kidney and bladder."

http://malaysiancuisine.net/cgi-bin/editor....pl?article=118

I personally never did care for the dried day lily "golden needles". But they are an interesting chewey, squeaky texture worth experiencing.

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Gum choi = golden needles=great in hot 'n' sour soup; chicken, mushroom, wun yee, gum choi, chestnut "stew".

For the new mother, gum choi simmered with chicken, peanuts, wun yee, whiskey and ginger. Mom always tied the needles into a knot. Not sure why...aesthetic appeal?

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I also love wood ear. My grandmother used to stir fry wood ear with "golden needle" (a dried vegetable of sort) with chicken wings. My mom tends to put it in stew with mushroom and pork/spare ribs.

Golden Needle is a common name for a couple of things... either "blanched" (in this case grown without light) garlic chives or the dried unopened glower bud of certain yellow or orange day lilies.

"The nutritious dried vegetable kam cham, which means golden needle in Cantonese, is derived from the yellow flower of day lily. It is also known as “forget worries vegetable”. It is a highly recommended Chinese health food. It is high in iron, potassium, phosphorous and calcium. Frequent intake can prevent stone formation in the kidney and bladder."

http://malaysiancuisine.net/cgi-bin/editor....pl?article=118

I personally never did care for the dried day lily "golden needles". But they are an interesting chewey, squeaky texture worth experiencing.

It's the dried lily that she put in the dish. They're actually my least favorite part. I always eat up all the wood ear first.

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Gum choi = golden needles=great in hot 'n' sour soup; chicken, mushroom, wun yee, gum choi, chestnut "stew".

For the new mother, gum choi simmered with chicken, peanuts, wun yee, whiskey and ginger. Mom always tied the needles into a knot. Not sure why...aesthetic appeal?

Think the gum jum is tied into knots for texture, the knotty bit gives it more bite.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In an area without an ethnic supermarket(small town, relatively) where might one find straw mushrooms? I enjoy them thoroughly whenever I am at a Chinese restaurant, but I cannot ever seem to find them to use in my own dishes.

Where might I be able to purchase these?

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In an area without an ethnic supermarket(small town, relatively) where might one find straw mushrooms? I enjoy them thoroughly whenever I am at a Chinese restaurant, but I cannot ever seem to find them to use in my own dishes.

The straw mushrooms used in Chinese dishes made in restaurants are canned mushrooms not fresh ones.

If you can't find them in your local supermarket, your best bet may be to wait until you have the opportunity to visit a town/city which has Asian grocery markets then buy them by the boxes. As with other canned products, they will last a long time.

Other canned vegetables used in Chinese cookings (typically):

Bamboo shoots

Water chestnuts

Baby corns

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Canned straw mushrooms are a lot better tasting than the fresh. Once in a while, I spot them in some of the larger mainstream supermarkets.

Interesting, I've never encountered fresh straw mushrooms. However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones. They have a really intense, earthy taste.

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Interesting, I've never encountered fresh straw mushrooms.  However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones.  They have a really intense, earthy taste.

Where do you get dried straw mushrooms? I have never seen it in dried form.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Interesting, I've never encountered fresh straw mushrooms.  However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones.  They have a really intense, earthy taste.

Where do you get dried straw mushrooms? I have never seen it in dried form.

I think you buy them at the grocery stores in Chinatown. I'll ask my mom and let you know.

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.....However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones.  They have a really intense, earthy taste.

I have a feeling that you were thinking of the dried black mushrooms (shittake mushrooms), which are used often in soup and stir-fried dishes.

The mushroom in question from the original post was "straw mushrooms". Here are some images from Google:

http://images.google.com/images?q=straw+mushroom&hl=en

Is this really what you have in mind and you have seen them in dried form, sold in Chinese grocery markets?

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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.....However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones.  They have a really intense, earthy taste.

I have a feeling that you were thinking of the dried black mushrooms (shittake mushrooms), which are used often in soup and stir-fried dishes.

The mushroom in question from the original post was "straw mushrooms". Here are some images from Google:

http://images.google.com/images?q=straw+mushroom&hl=en

Is this really what you have in mind and you have seen them in dried form, sold in Chinese grocery markets?

Nope, no way. Here's a pic of dried straw mushrooms.

http://www.foodno1.com/efoodno1/menu/efood.../image/a041.jpg

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.....However for purposes of making soup, I prefer the dried straw mushrooms over the canned ones.  They have a really intense, earthy taste.

I have a feeling that you were thinking of the dried black mushrooms (shittake mushrooms), which are used often in soup and stir-fried dishes.

The mushroom in question from the original post was "straw mushrooms". Here are some images from Google:

http://images.google.com/images?q=straw+mushroom&hl=en

Is this really what you have in mind and you have seen them in dried form, sold in Chinese grocery markets?

Dried straw mushrooms are sold widely in markets in all through China. Here my mom buys them at the grocery shops in Chinatown. I've seen them in the dried form personally. Haven't seen them in stores in the US personally though. If you're in SoCal, TS Emporium in Rowlad Heights would most probably surely carry them. TS sells all sorts of dried food items.

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Just had a look in my local grocery stores after reading this thread. Dried straw mushrooms weere stocked with other dried mushrooms such as porcini, etc. Chinese groceries don't have them.

This will probably differ in the US, but it might be worth looking in some of the more upscale grocery stores that have a variety of dried mushrooms.

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I recall seeing dried straw mushrooms someplace on my shopping rounds, either in Chinatown, one of the big Asian supermarkets, or the gourmet dried mushroom section of a regular supermarket. Will make a mental note to look for them.

I've never seen fresh straw mushrooms. It seems to me they're not being cultivated fresh in the USA; don't know why. (More research, more research.... mutters.)

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I recall seeing dried straw mushrooms someplace on my shopping rounds, either in Chinatown, one of the big Asian supermarkets, or the gourmet dried mushroom section of a regular supermarket. Will make a mental note to look for them.

I've never seen fresh straw mushrooms. It seems to me they're not being cultivated fresh in the USA; don't know why. (More research, more research.... mutters.)

They're sold in Hong Kong wet markets. They don't look like the ones in the cans - they're soft, round balls. I didn't realise they were the same until I bit into it.

If I knew how to use my digital camera better, I'd take a pic and post it.

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I recall seeing dried straw mushrooms someplace on my shopping rounds, either in Chinatown, one of the big Asian supermarkets, or the gourmet dried mushroom section of a regular supermarket. Will make a mental note to look for them.

I've never seen fresh straw mushrooms. It seems to me they're not being cultivated fresh in the USA; don't know why. (More research, more research.... mutters.)

They're sold in Hong Kong wet markets. They don't look like the ones in the cans - they're soft, round balls. I didn't realise they were the same until I bit into it.

If I knew how to use my digital camera better, I'd take a pic and post it.

About that shape. From what I've read, the little nublets haven't grown up enough, yet, to pop that covering.

I like both, but I especially like the little Disney cartoon umbrella shape! I can see a little elf sitting under it!

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