My Brother and Sister-In-Law live on the third floor of the three story building I’m in. I live on the first. It’s a great set up and allows us to have family dinners and get to hang out a lot. It also makes it fun because then it means shared meals, less money spent on food, and not having to cook for just one or two people if roommate isn’t working late. I love it. One thing though, my sister-in-law does not eat any meat besides fish. Which is fine, but is difficult for me when I grew up with at least two plates of meat on the dinner table every night and my mom’s version of vegetarian was stir fried vegetable with tofu or mock meat from the Chinese supermarket. However, it was a good challenge for me. However, it shouldn’t have been that hard. I had spent 5 years in Oregon where I learned so much about vegetarian, vegan, fruititarian, raw food cuisine that I was sure to figure out what was good and bad. I discovered tempeh, nutritional yeast, and seta and learned to enjoy some of it. [The nutritional yeast was just too weird over my popcorn]. I was in the hot bed of hippy eating, and still didn’t pick up that much vegetarian cooking.
It wasn’t that I was against it or actively trying not to learn. It’s just that I had not yet found the perfect medium that I wanted to use beyond tofu to substitute for the texture and flavor of meat. I was actually surprised when I discovered that mushrooms where great substitutes for meat, didn’t require one to spend extra money on fake meat products, or run dough under water for a long period of time to create seta. It was great.
My favorite discovery, beyond the normal fresh shitake and portabella as great meat substitute was the big kahuna of all mushrooms. The “King Oyster Mushroom”. This stuff is awesome. I was able to find it at our Korean, Japanese, and Chinese supermarket. It’s mostly stem and no cap and is around 6 inches in length. Any little kid would be giggling at the sight of it, but no, my readers are mature. But go ahead, just laugh. Raw, it doesn’t taste like much, but when cooked it has this sweet/savory flavor that the Japanese where so inclined to share with the world: Umami. The texture is great when cooked. If any of you have had abalone, it has the same exact texture.
The health benefits of this mushroom are even better than how it looks, tastes, and feels. It’s part of the Oyster Mushroom family, which means, lots of fiber, Vitamin B1 and B2, and minerals. Not to mention this family of mushroom has been shown to help boost the immune system and help with cancer treatment. But besides that, this just taste good.
And as if there wasn’t enough reasons to buy this amazing mushroom. It has a great shelf life. I think I had one in my fridge that I forgot about for a little over a week and a half. I still made it for my brother and sister-in-law and they both ate it and didn’t get sick. I however waited to see the results before I let another mushroom chill in my fridge for that long.
1 lb king oyster mushroom, sliced thin
¼ cup ginger, julienne
¼ cup scallion, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs Chinese rice wine
2 tbs brown sugar
red chili flakes to taste
3 tsp. oil
heat oil in cold pan with ginger and chili flakes dill golden
put mushroom in pan and cook till slightly soft
add scallion and stir till fragrant
pour wine, soy sauce, and brown sugar
toss until sauce thickens
– serves 4-