Serve this dish made of mushrooms and pok choy

Although numerous types of mushrooms provide wonderful tastes, textures and healthful properties, shiitake mushrooms are as mysteriously unique as they are delicious. Mushrooms are actually fungi, a special type of living organism that has no roots, leaves, flowers or seeds. These mushrooms have brown, slightly convex caps that range in diameter from about two to four inches. They play a critical role in Asian medicinal traditions. In the past few decades, these mushrooms have become more popular in the United States as a result of an expanding body of scientific research supporting their numerous health benefits.

Shiitake mushrooms are available in many grocery stores throughout the country. Look for mushrooms that are firm, plump and clean. Those that are wrinkled or have wet, slimy spots should be avoided.

The best way to store loose shiitake mushrooms is to keep them in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag. They will keep fresh for about a week. Dried mushrooms should be stored in a tightly sealed container either in the refrigerator or freezer where they will stay fresh for six months to one year. Mushrooms are very porous, so if they are exposed to too much water they will quickly absorb it and become soggy. Therefore, the best way to clean mushrooms without spoiling their texture and taste is to clean them using minimal, if any, water. To do this, simply wipe them with a slightly damp paper towel or kitchen cloth. You could also use a mushroom brush, available at most kitchenware stores.

If the fresh mushrooms become dried because of being stored for too long, soak them in water for thirty minutes. Shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, dietary fibre and vitamin C. Now, for a recipe.

Stir fried pok choy and shiitake with garlic and sesame


Fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced: 200gm

Pok choy, chopped: 3 leaves

Garlic, minced: 4 cloves

Soy sauce: 1 tbsp

Green onions, sliced: 3

Vegetable stock: quarter cup

Fresh ginger, grated: 2 tsp

Sesame oil: 2 tsp

Method: Sauté the garlic and shiitake mushrooms in soy sauce for 5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the pok choy and scallions and continue cooking for several minutes more. Turn the heat down to medium low and add the vegetable broth and ginger. Simmer it all together for about 4 minutes. Then stir in the sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve hot with rice.


Chef de Partie

Taj Connemara


Make your own sizzlers November 2, 2009