Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes (=Lentinula edodes)
The shiitake mushroom (Japanese: ; Chinese: ; pinyin:), more rarely called the black forest mushroom, is an edible mushroom typically cultivated on the shii tree (Pasania cuspidata — a relative of the oak).
The two most popular mushrooms in the world are the common button mushroom (Agaricus species) and the shiitake or black forest mushroom (Lentinus edodes). The shiitake, meaning "mushroom of the shii or oak tree" in Japanese, is highly prized in the Orient for its flavor and reputed medicinal value.
Shiitake have many uses in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. They are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian dashi, and also as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes.
Shiitake are often dried and sold as preserved food in packages. These must be rehydrated by soaking in water before using. Many Japanese prefer dried shiitake to fresh, considering that the sun-drying process draws out the superior flavour from the dried mushrooms by breaking down proteins into amino acids. The stems of shiitake are rarely used in Japanese cuisine. The stems are also rarely used in other cuisines, primarily because the stems are harder and take longer to cook than the soft fleshy caps.
Today Shiitake has become popular in many other countries as well. Russia produces and also consumes large amounts of it, mostly sold pickled; and the Shiitake is slowly making its way into western cuisine as well. There is a global industry in Shiitake production, with local farms in most western countries in addition to large scale importation from China, Japan and elsewhere.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
Several animal studies conducted over the last ten years have shown that another active component in shiitake mushrooms called eritadenine lowers cholesterol levels. Eritadenine supplementation (50 mg/kg diet) significantly decreased the plasma total cholesterol concentration, irrespective of dietary fat sources, and without change in the order of plasma cholesterol concentration among the fat groups.
SEE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SHITAKE MUSHROOMS FOR MORE INFORMATION
References Tsuji, Shizuo. (1980). Japanese cooking: A simple Art. Kodansha International/USA, New York.
Science of cooking with brown butter
What is the Maillard Reaction?
What are the effects of the Maillard Reaction during cooking?
How is heat transferred during cooking?
Agar Molecular Properties in Cooking