I have always loved mushrooms, but I know many people don’t like them at all, certainly when my DD was small she wouldn’t knowingly let a mushroom cross her lips. Maybe it is the texture, the mouth-feel that some people don’t like. So if you are not really a funghi fanatic this blog post will leave you cold!
The first time I went into a Chinese supermarket I was amazed by the variety of mushrooms on sale, both fresh and dried. Even the most up-market supermarket chains in the UK don’t offer anything like such a selection. There were varieties of mushroom I’d never seen before, and I had to ask a Chinese chum to identify them for me.
The one that intrigued me most was large variety of mushroom which I call ‘chicken legs’ because thats what they look like In the west it is called King Oyster Mushroom, xingbagu/ciqingu in Chinese, and its proper Latin name is Pleurotus Eringii. It doesn’t have a particularly mushroomy taste but is firm and meaty and adds bulk to any dish.
Then there are the Straw Mushrooms (caogu) which look like Quail eggs, they grow on straw hence their name. I love them. They are readily available in cans as well as fresh.
Porcini mushrooms (niuganjun) are well known in Europe, and these can be bought fresh or dried.
The Chinese name for Enoki mushrooms (jinzhenjun) translates roughly as golden needle fungus, there are various varieties, and they are delicious in soups and salads as well as stir-fries.
Last week I bought a medley of these mushrooms and made a very simple stir-fry for my lunch which I ate with some crusty bread; or it could have been served at a larger meal with three or four other dishes.
It is extremely quick and easy to make. Assemble all the ingredients in advance, because once cooked it should be served immediately.
MY STIR-FRIED MUSHROOMS
500g (approximately) mushrooms. I chose four varieties, but use what you have available.
1 Tablespoon oil – NOT olive oil
1 teaspoon finely minced or chopped garlic
1½ tablespoons Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine, or you can use medium dry sherry instead)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 heaped tablespoon finely chopped parsley.
Wipe any dirt off the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Cut off base of the stems of the mushrooms. Cut them all into bite-sized slices or quarters so that they are all roughly the same size and will therefore cook evenly.
Place your wok, or a deep frying pan, over a high heat and when it is hot add the oil, after a moment or two, when the oil is hot add the garlic and as it begins to cook (don’t let it burn) add the mushrooms and using a spatula move them all round so they stir-fry evenly for about 2-3 minutes. Then add the Shaoxing wine and the soy sauce. Turn the heat down and continue cooking for a few more minutes, then stir in the chopped parsley.
Remove from the heat, season to taste, and serve.