Discover the many benefits and deliciousness of cooking with Japanese mushrooms! From shiitake to enoki to matsutake, we’ll show you can up-level your everyday meal with these mighty and versatile mushrooms.
Bursting with umami flavors and satiating textures, mushrooms have been a vital ingredient in Japanese cuisine for centuries. We love cooking with these delectable fungi and often incorporate them into a wide variety of dishes.
In this article, let’s learn all about popular Japanese mushrooms and some best ways to cook with them.
Why You Need to Add These Mushrooms to Your Dishes
- Japanese mushrooms have long been valued for their outstanding health benefits as they contain a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
- Each mushroom has its own unique texture and rich flavor profile that can’t be beaten. As a result, they are ideal for plant-based eating and a perfect meat substitute.
- Versatile and easy to use. You can use them as supporting roles to enhance umami in your dishes or make them the star of the show.
Shiitake mushrooms (椎茸) are arguably the most famous variety in Japanese cooking. Their deep, earthy flavor and meaty texture make them ideal for making vegan dashi, soups, hot pots, simmered dishes, stir-fries, and more.
You can often find fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms in the markets. For a simple yet irresistible dish, sauté fresh shiitake mushrooms with garlic, soy sauce, and a hint of mirin. Add them to udon or ramen for a delightful twist that will leave you craving more.
We love keeping a bag of dried shiitake in our pantry as you can reconstitute and use them anytime. Thanks to their concentrated flavor, dried shiitake mushrooms are best for making dashi and other vegetarian soup stock.
Also known as “Hen of the Woods,” maitake mushrooms (舞茸) have a distinct appearance resembling a cluster of dancing leaves. Their delicate, slightly nutty taste pairs beautifully with seafood, chicken, and tofu. Try roasting maitake mushrooms with a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce for an exquisite side dish that will impress your guests.
Enoki mushrooms (えのき茸), with their long, slender stems and tiny caps, add a delicate touch to any dish. They are commonly used in hot pots (nabe), stir-fries, braises, noodles dishes, and curries. Once cooked, they have a mild nutty taste and a slightly chewy, silky yet crunchy texture, making them a fun addition to your food. Create a delicious enoki mushroom and tofu hot pot with a savory dashi broth for a comforting and nourishing meal that’s perfect for chilly evenings.
Shimeji mushrooms (ぶなしめじ) boast a mild, slightly sweet taste that pairs well with a range of ingredients. Their small, clustered caps add a charming aesthetic to any dish, and the texture is tender yet chewy at the same time. We love to toss them in with miso soups, pasta dishes, or even in omelets or sauté them with olive oil or butter. Another simple way is to stir-fry shimeji mushrooms with colorful bell peppers, snap peas, and your choice of protein for a vibrant and nutritious meal!
Considered a delicacy in Japan, matsutake mushrooms (松茸) are highly prized for their unique spicy aroma and pine-like flavor. They are often used in traditional dishes like matsutake gohan (mixed rice), clear broth soups, or chawanmushi. Savor the essence of autumn with a warming matsutake mushroom soup, where their rich fragrance takes center stage.
Nameko mushrooms (なめこ) are small and slimy when cooked, but don’t let that deter you—they’re full of umami goodness! Add them to miso soup or simmer them in a soy-based sauce with a touch of sugar and mirin for an intriguing side dish that will make your taste buds dance.
King Oyster Mushrooms
King oyster mushrooms (エリンギ), also known as eringi mushrooms, have a robust texture and a subtle, nutty taste. They hold up well when grilled or roasted, making them an excellent meat substitute for vegetarians and vegans. Slice them thick and marinate with soy sauce and ginger before grilling for a mouthwatering treat. We also love them in vegetarian curry or deep-fried for tempura.
Recipes Using Assorted Japanese Mushrooms
🍄 Miso Butter Mushroom in Foil. These miso butter mushrooms in foil packets are so easy to make with a medley of Japanese mushrooms. Serve it as a side or a main dish.
🍄 Vegetable Gyoza. These pan-fried dumplings are stuffed with a fresh and light filling of tofu, cabbage, carrots, and shiitake and king oyster mushrooms. Crisp on the bottom and juicy on the inside, it’s love at first bite!
🍄 Japanese Mushroom Rice. This aromatic mixed rice truly shines a spotlight on the different characteristics of these much-treasured Japanese mushrooms!
🍄 Warm Mushroom Salad with Sesame Dressing. A simple yet beautiful salad to jazz up your dinner any night of the week.
🍄 Yaki Udon. Thinly sliced shiitake, king oyster, shimeji or a mix of these mushrooms are fabulous in a vegetarian version of yaki udon.
🍄 Sukiyaki. We can’t go without mushrooms in this wintertime favorite.
Have you tried all the mushrooms featured above? Leave us a comment below and share your favorite ways of cooking with these Japanese mushrooms!