Mushrooms in Asian Cuisine: Your Ultimate Guide to Cooking

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Mushrooms are delicious and healthy and perfect for almost any dish. Asian cuisine uses them in many ways and there are many varieties to choose from.

A mushroom or toadstool is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source. Toadstool generally denotes one poisonous to humans.[1]

Mushrooms are a popular ingredient in Asian cooking. They’re used in soups, stir-fries, and even in desserts. Some of the most popular varieties are oyster, shiitake, and button mushrooms. But there are many more that are lesser known.

Let’s look at the variety of mushrooms used in Asian cooking and how to cook them so they taste delicious.

Asian mushrooms

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Exploring the Variety of Asian Mushrooms

Asian cuisine has a long-standing relationship with mushrooms, and Japan is known for its extensive use of mushrooms in cooking. Here are some of the most popular types of mushrooms used in Asian cooking:

  • Button Mushrooms: These are small, white mushrooms with soft texture and mild flavor. They are widely known and eaten by consumers all over the world.
  • Oyster Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a soft, chewy texture and a delicate flavor. They are commonly used in stir-fries and soups.
  • Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a deeper, more intense flavor and a meaty texture. They are often used in soups, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Enoki Mushrooms: These mushrooms have long, thin stems and small, white caps. They have a mild flavor and a slightly crunchy texture, and are often used in salads and soups.

The Lesser-Known Ones

Asian cuisine also has a variety of lesser-known mushrooms that are just as versatile and delicious as the popular ones:

  • Maitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a strong, earthy flavor and a meaty texture. They are often used in soups and stews, and are believed to have immune-boosting properties.
  • Cloud Ear Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a wrinkled, cloud-like appearance and a chewy texture. They are often used in soups and stir-fries, and are a good source of fiber and vitamins.
  • Wood Ear Mushrooms: These mushrooms have a bunched, chewy texture and a mild flavor. They are often used in soups and stir-fries, and are believed to be effective in restoring the immune system and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Cooking with Asian Mushrooms

Asian mushrooms are a healthy and delicious ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some tips for cooking with Asian mushrooms:

  • Sauté mushrooms in a little oil or butter until they are tender and lightly browned.
  • Use dried mushrooms to add a deeper, more intense flavor to soups and stews.
  • Tempura-fry mushrooms for a crispy, flavorful appetizer.
  • Enjoy the umami flavor of mushrooms by adding them to your favorite dishes.
  • Take advantage of the health benefits of mushrooms by incorporating them into your diet regularly. They are known for lowering cholesterol and boosting the immune system.

Mastering the Art of Cooking Mushrooms

  • Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove dirt and debris.
  • Slice mushrooms evenly to ensure they cook at the same rate.
  • Remove the stems of shiitake and ear mushrooms before cooking as they tend to be tough and woody.
  • For dried mushrooms, rehydrate them in warm water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Save the soaking liquid to add flavor to your dish.

Storing Mushrooms

  • Store fresh mushrooms in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Avoid storing mushrooms in the refrigerator for too long as they tend to get spongy and lose their flavor.
  • Dried mushrooms can be stored for months in a cool, dry place in an airtight container.
  • To extend the shelf life of fresh mushrooms, consider drying them yourself. Simply slice them and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at a low temperature for several hours until they are dry and crisp.

The Nutritional Value of Mushrooms

  • Mushrooms are a delicious and nutritious vegetable that are low in calories and high in fiber.
  • They are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, potassium, and selenium.
  • Different varieties of mushrooms have different nutritional values, so try to incorporate a variety into your diet.

Remember, the best way to cook mushrooms is to experiment with different recipes and techniques. With these tips, you’ll be able to prepare and cook mushrooms like a pro!

Stir Fry Mushrooms: A Quick and Easy Vegetarian Dish

  • 1 lb. of mushrooms (oyster, king, or any other available Asian mushroom)
  • 1 tbsp. of oil (sesame or any other light oil)
  • 1 tsp. of garlic (chopped or ground)
  • 1 tsp. of ginger (chopped or ground)
  • 1 small carrot (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 stalk of celery (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 tbsp. of soy sauce (white or black)
  • 1 tsp. of sugar
  • 1 tsp. of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. of water
  • 1 tsp. of chili bean sauce (optional for extra heat)

Steps to Follow

  1. Heat up a large pan or wok on high heat.
  2. Add oil to the pan and let it heat up for a minute.
  3. Add garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté for a minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped carrot and celery to the pan and sauté for a minute.
  5. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they start to turn brown.
  6. Sprinkle soy sauce and sugar over the mushrooms and continue to sauté for another minute.
  7. Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl to form a slurry.
  8. Add the slurry to the pan and continue to sauté for another minute until the liquid thickens.
  9. Test the mushrooms for doneness, if you prefer them a little softer, continue to sauté for a bit longer.
  10. Remove the pan from heat and let it sit for a minute.
  11. Sprinkle chili bean sauce over the mushrooms (optional) and mix well.
  12. Serve the stir fry mushrooms in a bowl with grilled or fried rice on the side.

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure the pan is hot before adding the oil to ensure the mushrooms cook faster.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan with too many mushrooms at once, it takes longer to cook and the surface won’t turn crispy.
  • If you want a thicker sauce, add more cornstarch slurry.
  • If you want a lighter sauce, add more water.
  • Feel free to add any other vegetables or meat to the dish to make it more filling.
  • This recipe takes only a few minutes to make, so it’s perfect for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Stir fry mushrooms are a super easy and quick dish to make in your kitchen. This vegetarian dish offers multiple flavors and textures that will satisfy any palate. The steps are easy to follow, and the ingredients are readily available in any Asian grocery store. You can also find most of the ingredients in your local grocery store. The final dish is a perfect side dish or can be served as a main dish with grilled or fried rice.

From Ramen to Briyani: Mains that Pack a Punch with Asian Mushrooms

Looking for a quick and easy weekday meal that’s packed with umami? Look no further than these Asian mushroom mains:

  • Stir-fried mushrooms with rice: A simple yet satisfying dish that can be made with any type of mushroom, fresh or dried. Simply stir-fry sliced mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and serve over steamed rice.
  • Mushroom masala: This Indian-inspired dish is traditionally made with chicken, but can easily be made vegetarian by using mushrooms instead. Simmer sliced mushrooms in a spiced tomato-based sauce, and serve with naan or rice.
  • Mushroom gyoza: These Japanese dumplings are traditionally filled with pork, but can be easily adapted to a vegetarian diet by using mushrooms instead. Simply sauté sliced mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and use as a filling for the dumplings.

Noodle Dishes: From Ramen to Udon

Noodles and mushrooms are a match made in heaven. Here are some noodle dishes that feature Asian mushrooms:

  • Mushroom ramen: This comforting soup is perfect for cold winter nights. Simply simmer sliced mushrooms in a flavorful stock, and serve over cooked ramen noodles.
  • Mushroom udon: This Japanese noodle dish is traditionally made with a dashi broth, but can be easily adapted to a vegetarian diet by using a mushroom-based broth instead. Simply simmer sliced mushrooms and kelp in the broth, and serve over cooked udon noodles.
  • Mushroom mee goreng: This Malaysian fried noodle dish is traditionally made with shrimp, but can be easily adapted to a vegetarian diet by using mushrooms instead. Simply stir-fry sliced mushrooms with garlic, ginger, and soy sauce, and toss with fried noodles.

South Asian Specialties: Briyani and Coconut Curry

South Asian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and spice blends. Here are some mushroom mains that showcase these flavors:

  • Mushroom briyani: This Indian rice dish is traditionally made with chicken, but can be easily adapted to a vegetarian diet by using mushrooms instead. Simply sauté sliced mushrooms with onions and spices, and layer with cooked rice in a pot. Steam until the rice is fluffy and the mushrooms are tender.
  • Mushroom coconut curry: This creamy curry is perfect for those who love the taste of coconut. Simply simmer sliced mushrooms in a coconut milk-based sauce, and serve over steamed rice.

Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy weekday meal or a comforting soup for a cold winter night, these Asian mushroom mains are sure to satisfy. So fire up the stove or instant pot and get cooking!

Slurp-worthy Mushroom Soups in Asian Cooking

Looking for a hearty and comforting soup? Look no further than this creamy mushroom and vegetable noodle soup. This soup is perfect for chilly nights and is packed with nutritious vegetables and mushrooms. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup leek, sliced
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 package of your favorite noodles
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. In a large pot, sauté the mushrooms, zucchini, and leek until tender.
2. Add the pumpkin puree and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the heavy cream and stir until combined.
5. Cook the noodles according to package instructions and add them to the soup.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Mushroom and Tofu Soup

This soup is perfect for those who want a protein-packed meal. The tofu adds a creamy texture to the soup, while the mushrooms add a meaty flavor. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 block of tofu, diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. In a large pot, sauté the mushrooms until tender.
2. Add the vegetable broth, tofu, soy sauce, and sesame oil and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Side Dishes to Complement Your Mushroom-filled Asian Feast

Looking for a vegan side dish that’s easy to make and filled with delicious mushrooms? Look no further than this Chinese Marinated Mushroom Salad. Simply marinate sliced shiitake mushrooms in a zesty mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil, then serve over a bed of lettuce for a nice crunch. Bonus fact: this dish is also a nice way to deal with leftover mushrooms from your main course.

Japanese Eryngii Mushroom Cups

For a cleverly carved side dish that’s sure to impress, try these Japanese Eryngii Mushroom Cups. Simply roast eryngii mushrooms until they’re tender and filled with a mixture of minced mushrooms, broccoli, and Peking skin. The result is a delicious and easy-to-eat dish that’s perfect for Thanksgiving or any other Asian feast.

Korean San Choy Bow

If you’re looking for a side dish with a bit of texture, try this Korean San Choy Bow. Simply fill lettuce cups with a mixture of minced shiitake mushrooms, carrots, and zesty Korean spices for a dish that’s both delicious and healthy. Plus, it’s an easy way to add some greens to your meal.

Curries & Stews: A Hearty and Flavorful Addition to Your Mushroom Repertoire

Looking for a vegan and easy-to-make curry recipe that’s bursting with flavor? Look no further than this Chinese-style mushroom and eggplant curry! The sauce is rich and sticky, with a sweet and slightly spicy kick that’s sure to please. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (any type will do, but shiitake or oyster mushrooms are particularly good)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Cooked rice, to serve

Instructions:
1. Heat the oil in a large pot or wok over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
3. Add the eggplant and mushrooms, and stir-fry for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, miso paste, brown sugar, cornstarch, and water until smooth.
5. Pour the sauce over the vegetables, and stir to combine.
6. Simmer the curry for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are coated in a rich, glossy sauce.
7. Serve the curry over cooked rice, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This curry is also great with other vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, or carrots.
  • For a non-vegan version, you could add some sliced pork or grilled chicken to the curry.
  • If you like your curry with a bit of heat, try adding some sliced chili peppers to the mix.

Black Pepper Mushroom Stew

This hearty and warming stew is a popular dish in many Western countries, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of tender mushrooms, rich gravy, and fluffy rice is a winning one, and it’s a great way to showcase the natural flavor of mushrooms. Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sliced mushrooms (any type will do, but cremini or portobello mushrooms are particularly good)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • Cooked rice, to serve

Instructions:
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened.
3. Add the mushrooms, and stir-fry for 5-7 minutes until they release their moisture and start to brown.
4. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, and stir to coat.
5. Gradually pour in the vegetable broth, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer.
6. Stir in the soy sauce and black pepper, and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the gravy is thick and the mushrooms are tender.
7. Serve the stew over cooked rice, and enjoy!

Notes:

  • This stew is also great with other vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, or peas.
  • For a meatier version, you could add some chunks of beef or lamb to the stew.
  • If you want to increase the umami flavor of the stew, try adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce or a tablespoon of tomato paste to the mix.

Boost Your Health with Mushrooms: Nutritional Value and Creative Ideas for Use

Mushrooms are not just a tasty addition to your meals, but they are also packed with essential nutrients that promote good health. Here are some of the nutritional benefits of mushrooms:

  • Low in calories: A serving of mushrooms (100g) contains only 22 kcal, making them a great option for those watching their weight.
  • High in fiber: Mushrooms are a good source of dietary fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system healthy.
  • Low in carbs: If you’re following a low-carb diet, mushrooms are a great vegetable option to add to your meals.
  • Mainly water: Mushrooms are mainly composed of water, making them a hydrating food choice.
  • High in potassium and phosphorus: These minerals are essential for healthy bones and muscles.
  • Rich in vitamins: Mushrooms are a good source of vitamins B and D, which are important for energy production and bone health.
  • Niacin: Mushrooms are a great source of niacin, which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

How to Incorporate Mushrooms into Your Diet

Here are some tips for incorporating mushrooms into your diet:

  • Add sliced mushrooms to your omelets or scrambled eggs for a protein-packed breakfast.
  • Use mushrooms as a topping for your pizza instead of meat.
  • Make a mushroom and vegetable stir-fry for a quick and healthy dinner.
  • Add chopped mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Use mushrooms as a low-carb alternative to bread in your sandwiches.
  • Make a mushroom and spinach salad for a healthy and filling lunch.

Mushrooms in Asian Cooking: Answering Your Burning Questions

If you’re new to cooking with mushrooms, don’t worry! Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Choose the right type of mushroom for your recipe. Different types of mushrooms have different flavors and textures, so make sure you’re using the right one.
  • Clean your mushrooms properly. Mushrooms are like sponges and can absorb water, so don’t soak them in water. Instead, use a damp cloth or paper towel to wipe them clean.
  • Don’t overcrowd your pan when cooking mushrooms. Mushrooms release moisture as they cook, and if you have too many in the pan, they’ll steam instead of sautéing.

How can I be sure my mushrooms are cooked properly?

It’s important to cook mushrooms properly to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses. Here are some tips to make sure your mushrooms are cooked through:

  • Cook your mushrooms until they’re tender and golden brown. This will ensure that they’re cooked all the way through.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your mushrooms. They should reach a temperature of at least 160°F (71°C).

What’s the best recipe to start with when cooking with mushrooms?

If you’re new to cooking with mushrooms, a simple stir-fry or soup is a great place to start. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started:

  • Mushroom and vegetable stir-fry
  • Mushroom and barley soup
  • Mushroom and spinach quiche

Can I use canned mushrooms in my Asian cooking?

While fresh mushrooms are always best, canned mushrooms can be a convenient and affordable option. Here are some tips for using canned mushrooms in your Asian cooking:

  • Drain and rinse the mushrooms before using them to remove any excess salt or preservatives.
  • Use canned mushrooms in recipes that call for cooked mushrooms, like soups or stews.
  • Don’t use canned mushrooms in recipes that call for raw mushrooms, like salads or sandwiches.

How should I store my mushrooms?

To keep your mushrooms fresh for as long as possible, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Here are some tips for storing mushrooms:

  • Don’t wash your mushrooms until you’re ready to use them.
  • Store your mushrooms in a paper bag or airtight container in the fridge.
  • If you don’t have an airtight container, you can store your mushrooms in a ziplock bag with the air squeezed out.

When is the best time to eat mushrooms?

Mushrooms can be eaten at any time of day, but they’re a great addition to breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Here are some ideas for incorporating mushrooms into your meals:

  • Add sautéed mushrooms to your omelet or frittata for breakfast.
  • Top your salad with sliced raw mushrooms for lunch.
  • Use mushrooms in your stir-fry or curry for dinner.

Can you suggest any other ways to use mushrooms in Asian cooking?

Absolutely! Here are some more ideas for using mushrooms in your Asian cooking:

  • Add sliced mushrooms to your ramen or pho.
  • Use mushrooms in your spring rolls or dumplings.
  • Add mushrooms to your fried rice or noodle dishes.

Conclusion

So, that’s it. You now know all there is to know about mushrooms in Asian cooking. They’re a delicious and healthy addition to any dish, and you can use a variety of types, from button to shiitake. 

You can’t go wrong with mushrooms, so go ahead and give them a try!

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.