Ginseng Eryngi Mushroom (Insam Saesongyee)

What’s the scoop??? Ginseng Eryngi Mushrooms??? I really don’t believe it until I looked again at the pack in my hand! I grabbed this pack from the supermarket shelve without noticing any difference between this Eryngii Mushrooms or Pleurotus Eryngii I used to buy (I did a scoop about it before) until I reached home. They (whoever they were…) must be joking – Ginseng Mushroom??? How they managed to fortify the mushrooms with Ginseng? Grow the mushrooms on ginseng root mulch (the end of the roots were considered the cheapest $ ) or spray ginseng extract onto the mushrooms? I sure would love to see how they did it 😐

After digging online for more information… This Ginseng Eryngii is call Insam Saesongyee (Ginseng (Saponin) Content 2.46 mg/g) and the producer also produced Ginseng Enoki or Insam Pengyee (Ginseng (Saponin) Content 2.16 mg/g)! It’s the new ingredient in culinary world and be prepared to indulge in recipes cooked to enhance the taste of these Ginseng Mushrooms… The Taste? There’s this after-taste sweetness, slight crunchy than the ‘original’ P.Eryngii.  There’s no strong Ginseng smell at all… 😦 If you have eaten Ginseng before, you will have that idea.
Ginseng Eryngi Mushroom (Insam Saesongyee)

Ginseng Eryngi Mushroom (Insam Saesongyee)

What’s next? Dang Shen Mushroom? Dang Wei Mushroom? 🙂

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs With Brown Mushrooms


I was looking around at the vegetable shelves of a local supermarket the other day and saw some packs fresh Lily bulbs from China on display. Known as Pak Hup (Cantonese) or Baihe(Mandarin) which means ‘hundred together,’ refering to the many ‘scales’ or petals forming the bulbs ~ it’s a species of genus Lilium, mostly Westerners thought as beautiful ornamentals yet it has many usage not only in culinary but also in tradtional medicines…
Various bulbs of edible lilies have long been consumed by humans in Eastern Asia and other parts of the world. Besides eating them fresh or raw in cooking, this humble Lily bulb also havemedicinal properties used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) mostly in dried lily petals to be boil together with other herbs in a special traditional clay pot over a stove or double-boiler) to treat certain ailments in our body. 
It’s one of my favourite plant that’s quite difficult to find if it’s not in the season. I tried to find better ones among the packs but sometimes (most of time actually) the exporter purposely arranged the bulbs in such a way that you won’t be able to peek at the conditions of the bulbs! Well, I tried my best as you can see from the pics below… 😦 The craving to eat them got the better of me though… I salvaged as much as I could from this pack I bought. What’s interesting about this bulbs are it can be cook in savoury or sweet as dessert. Some cooks parboil the bulbs to remove the bitterness before adding to dishes which I think unnecessary because it’s not that bitter compared to bitter gourd. The petals/bulbs became mushy very quickly if parboil first and then cook again. A bit of bitterness is good to keep our pancreas in healthy condition … 🙂
Packed Fresh Lily Bulbs with 2 portions
Packed Fresh Lily Bulbs with 2 portions
Cleaned and separated petals of Lily Bulbs

Cleaned and separated petals of Lily Bulbs

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs with Brown Mushrooms in Sake

Serves 1-2
1 pack Fresh lily bulbs (a pack comes with 2 Lily bulbs) – cleaned, 
separate into petals & remove any bruised part on petals.
20 g Fresh Green peas
200 g Brown Mushrooms – cleaned and sliced
15 ml Shoyu/Light Soya Sauce or accordingly to your taste
2 pips Garlic-minced
20 ml Cooking oil of your choice
20 ml  Sake to taste (more if you like 😛 )
1. Heat up a deep pan or a wok with cooking oil.
2. When oil is hot, add in the minced garlic. Fry until it’s fragrant but not burnt.
Note: To know when the oil is hot; You will see smoke coming out from the oil or dip a wooden skewer/chopstick into the oil, if there are bubbles appeared at the dipped end-the oil is ready!
3. Add in the sliced Brown mushrooms and cook until slightly wilted or shrink. Add in the green peas. Stir for few minutes…
4. Add in the fresh Lily bulb petals; Stir the petals gently so as not to break apart the soften petals (you would see that the petals became transparent after cooking.) 
5. Add in shoyu and sake to taste. Mix the ingredients well. 
Note: If you don’t have sake, you can also use Shaoxing Wine or Dry Sherry. Only differencs between Sake and Shaoxing Wine are the flavour intensity and colour.
6. Dish out and serve with hot rice/noodles as side dish or appetiser with sake/beer… 🙂 
Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs With Brown Mushrooms

Stir-fry Fresh Lily Bulbs With Brown Mushrooms


Grilled Stuffed Mini Portobellas With Sake

It’s mushrooms again! I know some people said mushrooms are boring besides in soup, salad, stew or stir-fry with other vegetables. I don’t find them boring! They are so delicious, versatile and able to absorb wonderful juices and gravy that you threw them into. Simple as that! These mushrooms are big brother to little brown mushrooms. When grilled it has ‘meaty texture – a welcome ‘vegetarian  meat’ by vegetarians and are great for baking, oven roasted and sauté.

Uncook Stuffed Portobellas

Uncook Stuffed Portobellas

Prepared stuffed mushrooms, ready for grilling and below, the mushrooms waiting to be tuck away in tummy!

Grilled Stuffed Portobellas

Grilled Stuffed Portobellas

Grilled Stuffed Mini Portobellas With Sake

6 pcs Mini Portobella Mushrooms

100 g Minced Beef – enough to stuff the mushroom caps
1/2 pc Carrrot – julienne
Few Sprigs of Italian Parsley – chopped finely
1 nos medium size Big Onion – chopped finely
20 – 40 ml Sake (more if you like)
L & P Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 clove garlic – minced finely (optional)
Olive oil for frying

Good melting cheese of your choice – Enough cheese to cover the mushrooms
(I used grated hard Mozzarella… that’s what was left in fridge 😀 )

1. Remove the grits and clean the mushrooms. Cut or separate the stem from the caps. You can chopped the stem and mix in the stuffing as well if you want. ( I normally cut off any bruised and hard part of the stem. Chopped it up and mix into the mushroom stuffing).

2. Heat your oven to Grill Mode about 200 ºC using the upper heat (that will be about 20-25 minutes depends on the model of your oven).

3. Mix the minced meat with carrot, Italian Flat Parsley and onion. Give it a good stir until the minced meat mixed thoroughly with the spices and herbs. Add in salt, sake, Worcestershire Sauce and pepper to taste. ( I mixed some freshly grounded Szechuan pepper with the black pepper. I love the lemony hint and tingly numbness sensation these berries gave to your palate. It’s frequently used in meat dishes in Chinese culinary – of course, the most in Szechuan cuisine.)

3.Heat some olive oil and fry the chopped garlic and onions;when the garlic and onions are fragrant, add the minced meat mixture and fry until just cook. Dish it out and set aside. Let the mixture cools a bit before stuffing the mushrooms.

4. Take a mushroom cap and spoon about 1 tablespoon of cooked meat mixture. Form it nicely so that the mixture not overflowing the caps. Sprinkle on top your favourite cheese. You can add some chopped parlesy or grinded fresh black pepper on top. Complete the rest of the mushroom caps.

Arrange them nicely on a tray/deep dish and drizzle some olive oil over the batch. Now, it’s ready for the grill!

Note: Sometimes, the mushrooms grey/black ‘gills’ of portobellas (and some other types of button mushrooms) are removed if you want a nice and not blackish juice mingled into some white sauce/gravy. Use a spoon and scrap out the black gills of mushroom before the stuffings.

5. When the oven reached the required temperature, put in the oven and grill for 15 –  20 minutes or until the mushrooms caps wilted and cheese slightly browned. Depends on the size of the portobellas it may require less or more time to cook. So, you may need to watch out when the dish is grilling…

6. Serve as appetiser or side dish.


Note: The longer you cook you cook the portobellas/ portobellos, the ‘firmer texture’  the mushroom gets.

Simple Fresh Mushroom Soup

I’d been busy these few days, arranging some trips with my family for this June. Due to this, I’d been neglecting a bit my fridge… I discovered yesterday that I still have some mushrooms tucked nicely in brown bags! I had to think of solution not to waste this precious fungi collection. Further discovery, I still have 1 small carton of crème fraîche and packet of parsley unopened. It was raining really heavily since early morning and temperature dropped to 24ºC which is cosy for a tropical climate ( yeah, I’m back in my hometown for awhile… 😛 ) I love to watch rain pours at the sea from my balcony and the only thing I could think of in such weather is ‘soup’…. mushroom soup it shall be! Is a simple soup (not as elaborate as restaurants) and for me it’s a hearty meal with fresh bread plus hot coffee in the morning… errrr… in this case I think I should said ‘brunch’ 😀 
I like making soup in large quantity so that I can freeze them for other days. If my elderly neighbour’s around I pack the soup in several servings for her so she could have it whenever she wants. She lost one of her legs to diabetes last year and have difficulties to go to market without someone chauffeured her… 😦 When my family have the time, we will take her out for dinner or lunch and to the fresh market. She’s a very good cook and I learnt quite a lot from her as well
Simple Fresh Mushroom Soup
(serves 2-4 portions)
A Selection of Mushrooms of your choice:
Cut off the hard portion of mushrooms and wipe off any grits on them. Slice mushrooms to small pieces. This is what leftovers I had but you can use any amount you fancy…
100 g Grey Oyster (Abalone) Mushrooms
50   g Bunapi Shimeiji Mushrooms
60   g Shiitake Mushrooms
100 g Enoki Mushrooms
1 large Red Onion – finely chopped
2 Tbl Italian Flat Parsley – finely chopped  for garnish
300 ml Chicken stock or more
Some Fresh Thyme-remove leaves from the stalk as required
1 Bay Leaf
Salt & Black Pepper to taste
Some Flour – for thickening the soup
Some Butter – In this recipe I used 30 g of butter
Crème Fraîche
Tools: A handheld blander
1. Combine 200 ml of chicken stock with 1 Tbl of flour until well mix. You can add more flour if you like thicker soup. Set aside. You will use the rest of the chicken stock according to the thickness you preferred later on.
2. Sauté onion in butter in a pot (or saucepan) until clear and slightly browned. Add thyme, bay leaf and sliced fresh mushroom mix. Covered & Simmered for 10 – 15 minutes or until mushrooms slightly wilted. Remove the bay leaf. Reserve 1-2 cups of the cooked mushrooms.
3. Stir the stock and flour mixture. Pour into pot, stirring until it thickened. Using a handheld blender (or any blender you own) – blend to the consistency you like. I like mine smoother in this recipe.
4. Stir in the fresh cream to your taste. Add in the extra stock until it reached your required thickness & creaminess. Simmer for 1 minute.Do not boil.
5. Dish into serving bowls and add some of the reserved cooked mushroom. Sprinkle some chopped parsley and a dash of fresh cream (if you like… :-D).
Note: If you don’t like that creamy (or weight conscious), you can use fresh/low-fat milk instead of fresh cream but adjust the stock you add in as well.
You can add in about some dry white wine or dry sherry and croutons to give that extra ooomph! 

Shiitake No Nimono (Shiitake Simmered in Soya Sauce)

Ok… I know I’m a bit mushroom crazy this week but I can’t help to share those lovely fungi with foodie friends! When you got the chance to buy them at half-price and with extra added to the box, the temptation’s to great to be missed… 😀

One of my favourite mushrooms is definitely Shiitake, either fresh or dried. It’s a must-have ingredients in Asian cooking mainly in Chinese and Japanese kitchens. You can cook them just like fresh ones and still maintained its shapes. Another good reason to have dried Shiitake at hand is to make stock with the liquid after soaking the dried mushrooms. I like to add some of it and the strained liquid as well in mushroom soup – just a bit will do to give that pungent mushroomy flavour.
A interesting remark from my Japanese friend is that they preferred dried shiitake better than fresh ones. In Japan it’s very expensive compared to fresh Shiitake. Dried Shiitake has more concentrated and superior flavour. I totally agreed with them!
Have a try on dehydrated mushrooms snacks that comes in plain or with wasabi added. It’s sooooo yummy!
Shiitake No Nimono
Shiitake No Nimono
6-8 Large Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
375 ml Dashi II or Konbu Dashi II (recipes below)
2 Tbl Mirin
2 Tbl Sake
2 Tbl Japanese Soya Sauce
1 Tbl Dark Brown Sugar
1. Soak shiitake mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain well. Discard the stems.
2. Combine the dashi, mirin, sake, soya sauce and sugar in a small pan over high heat. Stir the mixture until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil.
3. Add the shiitake. Bring it to boil again and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour or until the liquid almost evaporated.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature as side dish, part of multicourse, snack or over rice. You can use it in cawan mushi or with noodles – slice thinly or quartered.
Serves 4-6 portions.
Making of Dashi Stocks:

For Dashi II

10 cm (4 in) square of konbu
20 g (1 cup) katsuoboshi (bonito flakes)
1. Wipe konbu with a damp cloth but don’t rub off the white powdery substance that will become obvious as it dries. Cut the konbu into strips.
2. Place konbu & 1.5 L (6 cups) cold water into a saucepan and slowly bring it to boil. Quickly add 60 ml (1/4 cup) cold water to stop the boiling process. Add the bonito flakes. Allow it to boil again and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Allow the bonito flakes to sink to the bottom of pan. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. This stock is ready for stews and thick soups. 
Makes 1 L (about 4 cups)
For Konbu Dashi

15 cm (6 in) square piece of konbu
1. For Konbu Dashi I, cut konbu into strips and place them in a saucepan with 1.5 L cold water. Bring to boil, then remove the konbu.
2. For Konbu Dashi II, leave the konbu in the pan, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes longer.
Makes about 1.5 L (5 cups)


Mushrooming Ideas…

Lately, there’s been surplus of mushrooms at low prices at the local supermarkets (I know, I know, I should get them from fresh market … rolling eyes …) for less than 1 € /pkt of 160 g – 250 g of several choices! I was grinning away like Cheshire Cat at the vegetable section instead of fish corner… 😀 I love mushrooms… they have not much flavours but it’s easy to add them into your favourite cuisine either raw or cooked. Definitely, one of those versatile and healthy food available today. 

Since I’m now back home in Southeast Asia, my daily meals are those hard to find Asian ingredients in Europe that are costly as well as not fresh in the Asian supermarkets. You’re lucky if you can get a pack of 250 g Beansprouts that’s juicy and not mushy on the shelve. Sometimes, the staff don’t even bother to remove the watery and brownish packages off the rack. Once, I had to wait 2 weeks for a bunch of Screwpine Leaves/Pandan Leaves (Pandanus)from Paris! What did I got after much anticipated waits? 2 large bunch of of Pandan Leaves and the lost of my enthusiasm to cook Black Glutinous Rice! Added to the mood, the Pandan leaves has no fragrance at all… sigh… Anyway, that’s for another blog 😀
Now, back to the shrooms… 
Here’s the Brown enoki and Bunapi Shimeiji from Korea (seems that Koreans are very enterprising producing quality mushrooms.) 
Brown Enoki Mushrooms
Brown Enoki Mushrooms is a.k.a. Golden Enoki Mushrooms with chewy texture and richer Enokiness taste compared to the common White Enoki Mushrooms. I like Tempura Enoki when you ordered Tempura meal in Japanese Restaurants. Small bunch Enoki is fanned out – like a fan and deep fried in tempura batter.
Bunapi Shimeiji
Bunapi Shimeiji a.k.a White Beech Mushrooms or as Hon Shimeiji mushrooms-the name typically refers to the Buna Shimeiji or Bunapi Shimeiji strain. The Hon Shimeiji mushrooms can be sautéed using high temperature or slow roasted on low temperature with a small amount of butter or cooking oil. I did Kinoko Batayaki – sautéed mushrooms in butter & sake few days ago… it’s simply delicious and it’s not mushy at all.
It’s easy to do Kinoko Batayaki… 
1. Get ready some Hon Shimeiji Mushrooms sake, butter & a frying pan.
2. Heat a frying fan in medium heat. When butter melts, add in the mushrooms. You can add more butter if you like. More butter used the richer the aroma (I thought it’s better to eat more butter than margarine lately…)*
3. Add few dashes of sake.
4. Slowly cooked it until softened or to your liking.
5. Serve as side dish or top it on your rice with omelette.
* I didn’t add any salt because the butter I used is Salted Butter.
Itadikimasu!!! Enjoy!!!