You may have visited the market and have seen funny looking Japanese mushrooms in our produce section. With so many different shapes, textures and flavors, we wanted to put together a quick guide for you to understand what each mushroom is and how to cook with these delicious Japanese mushrooms!
(See our Japanese Mushroom board on Pinterest for recipe ideas!)
It’s probably the most popular Japanese mushroom outside the country itself. Shiitakes have a distinct robust aroma that works beautifully in soups, nabe (Japanese hot pot) and tempura. Fresh shiitake mushrooms eat better when deep-fried in tempura batter, but the intensity of flavors in a dried shiitake hold up better in a broth or stock; just remember to soak the dried mushrooms for at least half an hour to rehydrate them before cooking. (Michelin Guide)
King Trumpet mushrooms are sweet, mild and buttery. Its stem is thick, robust and the Eryngii is related to the common Oyster Mushroom. In fact, sometimes, they are known as King Oyster Mushrooms. The ones shown here are about 3 to 4-inches tall and its base is 3/4-inch in diameter. Big boys!
Ian Garrone shows you in a short video clip what to look for when buying King Trumpet mushrooms. He also says their taste is similar to abalone. (Steamy Kitchen)
Plenty of Japanese people swear by enoki. Enoki mushrooms have very long, thin, white stems in a tight bundle, with tiny white caps. Enoki’s main charm is its crunchy texture, as it doesn’t have much of a flavor. Because this crunchy texture is preserved even after cooking, enoki is perfect for miso soup and hot pots.
Enoki with its one leg in a coffin becomes yellowish in color, and the moisture level rises, giving it a
wet appearance. Look for one that’s white, firm and dry (no water droplets in the bag, please!). If the bundle of stems looks like a single object, rather than a bundle of distinct stems, the mushroom is most certainly beyond dead. (Gapers Block)
Japanese Brown Beech Mushroom
Shimeji Mushroom is the third most popular mushroom in Japan, after shitake and enoki. They are called “beech mushrooms” because they often grow on fallen beech trees. These have a white base and cracked, speckled brown caps white are so very pretty. Surprisingly, they have no aroma! But their texture once cooked is smooth, crunchy. Shimeji mushrooms are buttery and nutty. You must cook Shimeji mushrooms, do not eat raw. Perfect to pair with noodles! The first recipe below is my Japanese Noodles with Shimeji Mushrooms Recipe. (Steamy Kitchen)
Maitake are a type of mushroom with very short, hardly visible stem and a ‘cap’ that looks like waves in the sea. Translated they literally mean “dancing mushrooms” due to their appearance being similar to waves dancing when they are blown in the wind. Maitake are my absolute favourite mushrooms due to their incredibly rich taste. The only way to understand how good these are is to try them, my preferred dish for maitake is definitely sukiyaki! (JapanCentre)
Hiratake is the Japanese name for oyster mushrooms. There are many cultivated varieties of hiratake, some of which look quite differently from each other. (JapanGuide)
What’s your favorite kind of Japanese mushroom??