Posts Tagged ‘Japanese cuisine’

Serving Up Mushrooms with the Culinary Institute of America

If you are a long time reader of the Channel, you know that we’ve had run ins with the CIA before…and before you start wondering what kind of delicious espionage we managed to get ourselves involved with, that’d be the Culinary Institute of America. This past fall we attended two events with the CIA that featured an gorgeous mushroom dishes with an ironically international array of tastes.

First, we stopped by the new Latin Flavors conference to celebrate the grand opening of the CIA’s San Antonio campus. Mushroom usage in Latin culture dates back to the time of the Aztecs, so it was no surprise to see the following recipes served up and quickly devoured.

Cheese and Mushroom Stacked Quesadillas

Mushroom Chilaquiles

Fried Eggs with Portabellas and Ranchera Salsa (a twist on eggs benedict)

At the CIA’s Worlds of Flavor annual conference in St. Helena, CA, the theme was Japanese cuisine. Another no brainer for mushrooms and plenty were available for sampling. The Council worked with Chef Masa Uehara from Masa’s Sushi in Mountain View, CA to prepare some delicious recipes for attendees to sample. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by his restaurant and ask for the Royal Trumpet Roll (pictured below). Described by many as the best dish of the conference, it features a tempura Royal Trumpet mushroom wrapped in a sushi roll and topped with a sake-marinated shiitake mushroom.

Also served during the conference was a Portabella Sashimi,

Maitake mushrooms served three ways: Grilled, Tempura, Sautéed,

And a Portabella Panko Katsu.

Have any unique Latin or Asian mushroom recipes of your own you want to share?

Also served during the conference was a Portabella Sashimi,

Mushroom Pancetta Gyoza from La Fuji Mama

Today’s featured recipe comes to us from Rachael, the taste buds behind La Fuji Mama.

Gyoza, Japanese pan-fried dumplings, were one of the first things I learned to cook when I first lived in Japan.  I’ve since made them many times with many different fillings.  One of the things that I love to put in gyoza are mushrooms.  For this gyoza variation, I use a combination of mushrooms (I use 5 ounces of fresh shiitake mushrooms, 4 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, and 3 ounces of enoki mushrooms, but you can use whatever mushrooms you like), cubed pancetta, garlic, ginger, green onion, and a bit of aka miso (red miso paste).

I chop up the mushrooms.  Then I saute the pancetta in a large saute pan until the fat starts to melt and the pancetta starts to brown.  Then I add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and green onion and saute everything together until the mushrooms have browned slightly.  After letting the mixture cool slightly, I stir in the miso paste and a bit of salt.

Then I assemble the gyoza.  Gyoza are made using round wrappers.  Many local grocery stores only carry square wonton wrappers.  You can buy these and use a biscuit cutter to cut them into circles.

There are several ways to form gyoza, but here is a simple method you can use: Start out by laying a dumpling wrapper on a dry work surface, and place a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture in the center of the wrapper.  With a fingertip moistened with water, trace a line along half of the edge of the round wrapper.  Fold the wrapper over to enclose the filling, and pinch the wrapper in the center to seal the edges together at that spot.  Holding the filled half-circle in your left hand, push the right rounded end in with the forefinger of you right hand to close the opening.  Pinch the “V” created by doing this together.  Repeat on the other side.  This should create a flat rectangular bottom, with the a rounded arch on top.

If you want to make your gyoza look a bit fancier and pleat them, take a look at my step-by-step pleating instructions.

Once you have assembled all of the gyoza, cooking them is simple.  First you fry them in a bit of oil until the bottoms turn a golden brown.  Then you add some water, cover them with a lid, and steam them for several minutes until they are cooked through.

Serve them hot with a simple dipping sauce.  The finished gyoza make a wonderful party appetizer or a fun meal.  The mushrooms make a wonderful earthy and meaty filling.

Mushroom Pancetta Gyoza (Japanese Pan-fried Dumplings)

Makes 40 gyoza

3 ounces cubed pancetta
12 ounces mushrooms, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (with a Microplane grater)
1 tablespoon green onion (green part only), minced
1 tablespoon aka miso (red miso paste)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
40 dumpling wrappers

For cooking the dumplings:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup water

Dipping Sauce:
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Several drops of chili oil or sesame oil (optional)

1. In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the pancetta until the fat has partially melted and the pancetta starts to brown.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, and green onion and saute until the mushrooms are lightly brown.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then stir in the miso and sea salt.

2. Have a small bowl of cold water ready.  Lay a dumpling wrapper on a dry work surface, and place a heaping teaspoon of the mushroom mixture in the center of the wrapper.  With a fingertip moistened with water, trace a line along half of the edge of the round wrapper.  Fold the wrapper over to enclose the filling, and pinch the wrapper in the center to seal the edges together at that spot.  Holding the filled half-circle in the left hand, push the right rounded end in with the forefinger of you right hand to close the opening.  Pinch the “V” created by doing this together.  Repeat on the other side.  This should create a flat rectangular bottom, with the a rounded arch on top.  Set aside the stuffed dumpling with the rounded-wrapper edge up. Repeat to make 40 dumplings in all.

3. In a large skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Carefully place as many of the dumplings that can fit without touching in the skillet with the pleated-wrapper edge up.  Cook the dumplings for 3 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom.  Check the progress by lifting 1 or 2 dumplings by their pleated edge.

4. Once the bottoms are nicely browned, use the skillet lid to shield yourself and carefully pour in 1/4 cup of the water.  When the hissing and splattering die down, drizzle in 1/2 teaspoon of the vegetable oil around the edge of the skillet.  Place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture and then quickly lower the heat to keep the liquid at a bare simmer.

5. Check the dumplings after 2 minutes.  When the wrappers appear slightly translucent and the filling feels firm when pressed lightly with a spoon, remove the lid and raise the heat slightly.  Continue to cook until all the water has evaporated and only the oil remains (about 2 minutes).  Once you hear a sizzling sound, shake the skillet.  The dumplings should slide about.  If they seem to stick to the skillet, move the skillet away from the stove and replace the lid for a moment.  Remove the dumplings from the skillet with a broad flexible spatula. If you’d like, flip them over so that the seared surface faces up.  Cook the remaining dumplings the same way.  Serve the dumplings hot accompanied by the dipping sauce.

4. While the dumplings are cooking, make the dipping sauce by mixing the soy sauce and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.  Pour the sauce into a small serving pitcher or distribute among individual dipping dishes.

Featured Contributor: Yaki Shiitake from La Fuji Mama

Editor’s Note: Rachael is the inventive home chef behind La Fuji Mama. Now a mother of two, many of her dishes take inspiration from the time she spent living in Japan. While she’s no stranger to mushrooms (the Japanese diet are rich with them), this is her first post for the Mushroom Channel. Check out her recipe below but make the jump over to her main site when you’re done!

Yakitori, a dish of chicken threaded on skewers and cooked over a charcoal fire, is one of those foods that I start to crave when the weather turns sunny and warm. With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I decided it was time to break out the bamboo skewers and make some. Instead of making the traditional chicken skewers, I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and sliced scallions. Shiitake mushrooms, a native fungi of Japan, have a rich meaty and slightly smokey flavor. These mushrooms are fat free and a great source of protein, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Grilling them brings out their wonderful meaty flavor. You’ll find you won’t miss the chicken!

This is also a great way to introduce kids to shiitake mushrooms. I’ve found that kids are more receptive to anything served on a stick. Case in point—when my three year old saw we were making yakitori, she got very excited and told me, “I want some!” She didn’t even know what we were putting on those skewers!

Yakitori, a dish of chicken threaded on skewers and cooked over a charcoal fire, is one of those foods that I start to crave when the weather turns sunny and warm. With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I decided it was time to break out the bamboo skewers and make some. Instead of making the traditional chicken skewers, I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and sliced scallions. Shiitake mushrooms, a native fungi of Japan, have a rich meaty and slightly smokey flavor. These mushrooms are fat free and a great source of protein, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Grilling them brings out their wonderful meaty flavor. You’ll find you won’t miss the chicken!

When you are buying shiitake mushrooms, look for mushrooms that are plump, firm, and clean, and avoid any that have wet slimy spots on them or are wrinkled. They can be stored in the refrigerator in a loosely closed paper bag for about a week until you are ready to use them. Making the skewers is easy. You simple clean the mushrooms and discard their stems, and wash and cut the scallions into pieces. Then you thread the mushrooms and scallions onto the skewers. Make sure to soak your bamboo skewers beforehand so that they do not burn. Fresh shiitake mushrooms mushrooms are soft, so do not squeeze or push too hard. If you are having difficulty pushing the skewer through a mushroom, gently rotate the skewer as you are trying to push it through.

When you have finished putting the skewers together, you brush them with a tiny bit of vegetable oil and then set them on a preheated grill, with the mushrooms facing gill side up. You can also cook these skewers under the broiler. If you do this, make sure you start by cooking the skewers gill side down.

When the skewers have finished cooking and you are ready to serve them, brush them with a bit of tare (a slightly sweet and savory Japanese basting sauce) and serve them. They make a fabulous appetizer or side dish for a Spring or Summertime menu.

Yaki Shiitake (Shiitake & Scallion Yakitori)

Makes 8 skewers

For the tare (basting sauce):
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin
¼ granulated sugar

For the skewers:
16 large fresh shiitake mushrooms, preferably donko
1 bunch scallions
Vegetable oil

1. Make the tare: Put the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue cooking over low heat for 20 minutes. Skim any scum off the surface as the sauce is cooking. Set aside.

2. Make the skewers: Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 20 minutes. Preheat the grill. Clean the mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel or cotton cloth, then cut away and discard the stems. Cut the firm white and whitish green parts of the scallions into 1 ¾ inch lengths.

3. Thread two mushrooms (lengthwise through the mushroom caps) and two pieces of scallion onto each skewer, alternating between the mushrooms and scallion pieces. Brush the mushrooms and scallions with a light layer of vegetable oil.

4. Place the skewers on the grill, with mushrooms facing gill side up. Cook the skewers until the tops of the mushroom caps are dry. Turn the skewers over (mushrooms gill side down), and cook them until the insides become wet with the mushrooms’ own juice. Turn the skewers over (mushrooms gill side up) one more time and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes more until the mushrooms and scallions are completely cooked through.

5. Remove the skewers from the grill, and with a pastry brush, baste them with the tare. Arrange the skewers on a large plate and serve.
Yakitori, a dish of chicken threaded on skewers and cooked over a charcoal fire, is one of those foods that I start to crave when the weather turns sunny and warm. With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I decided it was time to break out the bamboo skewers and make some. Instead of making the traditional chicken skewers, I used fresh shiitake mushrooms and sliced scallions. Shiitake mushrooms, a native fungi of Japan, have a rich meaty and slightly smokey flavor. These mushrooms are fat free and a great source of protein, iron, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Grilling them brings out their wonderful meaty flavor. You’ll find you won’t miss the chicken!