These small, button-shaped mushrooms offer a burst of delicious savory flavor. They can be added to stews and pastas, tossed in a stir-fry, or dropped in the deep fryer for an extra-crispy treat. But before you try to tackle an advanced recipe, it's important that you understand the basics. Shiitake mushrooms are relatively easy to cook, but they require a little care and knowledge to make sure they don't burn or turn mushy. Here's how to prepare a plate of perfectly cooked shiitake mushrooms.
1. Prepare Your Mushrooms
This step is optional, but some people prefer to chop off the stems for easier cooking. You can rinse your mushrooms to remove dirt and debris, but make sure you don't soak them—as The Kitchen Magpie points out, soaking your shiitake mushrooms can make them turn soft and mushy.
2. Heat Up the Pan
Add some oil to a pan and set the stove to medium heat. Once the oil has heated, add the mushrooms to the pan, keeping them in a single layer with little overlap.
3. Cook the Mushrooms
Cook the mushrooms for about five minutes until they start to turn brown. Stir and turn the mushrooms occasionally to make sure that each piece is cooked evenly.
4. Add Water
Add two tablespoons of water to the pan and continue to cook the mushrooms. Keep stirring and turning the mushrooms until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms have shrunk and softened.
5. Add Other Ingredients
Skip this step if you're not planning on adding other ingredients. If you're adding sauces, herbs, spices, chopped vegetables or other ingredients to your mushrooms, add them to the pan and stir it around to make sure the mushrooms are evenly coated. Don't take too long, as your mushrooms should be fully cooked by now.
6. Transfer to a Plate
You're done! Transfer your shiitake mushrooms to a plate and serve, or mix them in with the rest of the dish you've been preparing.
Now that you've mastered the art of cooking shiitake mushrooms, you're ready to tackle a whole range of recipes. Shiitake mushrooms have a distinct flavor that works well in Asian-inspired dishes. You can also add them to pizza and pastas for a burst of chewy, savory flavor. And some people prefer to fry them and eat them by themselves. They're healthy, organic snacks that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. If you're tired of eating carrots and celery sticks, throwing some shiitake mushrooms in a pan is a great way to get an extra serving of vegetables in your diet.