Monday, October 6, 2008
Grilled Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
How can I make mushrooms look pretty? I cannot. But I assure you these are juicy, tasty and very, very healthy.
Dried shiitake mushrooms are widely available here, and I think it is also readily available in any Asian grocery. It is a common ingredient in Chinese stir fries and stews, after all. But the fresh ones are a bit hard to find here. Lately though, these have been "mushrooming" in various big supermarkets. Probably because of the continuous rainy season, the fresh shiitake mushrooms are becoming more available. This is good news for mushroom lovers like us! Nothing beats the taste and succulence of fresh mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms is also known as Xiang Gu (Fragrant mushrooms) in Chinese. Being more fragrant (rich and smoky flavor) than the other kinds of edible mushrooms, this is a widely favorite mushroom of Asian people. It is widely cultivated in Asia.
The shiitake mushroom has always been a Chinese symbol of longevity. It is often in good taste to send packs of dried shiitake mushrooms to friends or relatives as gifts.
Traditional Chinese medicine believes in its medicinal properties. Recent studies have traced shiitakes' legendary benefits to an active compound contained in these mushrooms called lentinan. Among lentinan's healing benefits is its ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection like influenza and other diseases cause by viruses. Studies have shown that these mushrooms even improves the immune status of individuals infected with HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. This same lentinan also inhibits cancer. Thus, nowadays, mushrooms are being promoted as an anti-cancer food.
The shiitake mushroom has another active component, the eritadenine, that lowers our body's cholesterol levels. These wonder-mushrooms also contain L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant. For more information on the healthy benefits of shiitake mushrooms, please click on the American Cancer Society page.
With all of these healthy benefits of mushrooms, there are no reason why you should not be serving this regularly!
250 gms fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and wiped
marinate in the following for 15 minutes:
4 T good quality Japanese soy sauce
1 knob fresh ginger, grated
4 T mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
2 T sesame oil
1 T sugar
Grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve wtih grilled fish or meat.
I used my oven toaster to grill these mushrooms because I was able to buy a non-stick oven toaster tray with grill marks. So I so very much wanted to try this pan. But you can use the regular oven, a regular grill or a stove-top grill.
The mushrooms cannot be marinated for so long, because they are porous and they would absorb the flavors quickly. If marinated too long, they might become too salty.
This mushroom dish is shared with the Weekend Herb Blogging community, launched by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Weekend Herb Blogging is an event that features herbs and unique plant ingredients, and the dishes we cook using these ingredients. This week's host is Susan of the Well-Seasoned Cook. To see last week's interesting array of ingredients and dishes, please check out the wonderful round-up done by Valentina of Trembom.