- Matsutake Mushrooms
- Kinkatsu (A healthy life with microorganisms)
- How to cook Kinoko? (Mushroom Recipes)
When it comes to enjoying fall flavors, mushrooms are an obvious choice.
Although there are many varieties of edible mushrooms, generally they can be divided into saprobic fungi and mycorrhizal fungi. Saprobic fungi include wood-rotting fungi, which grow out of the trunks of living trees.
Most of the mushrooms that can be cultivated are saprobic fungi; they break down fertilizers and the trees on which they feed. Wood-rotting fungi include shiitake, maitake, nameko, enokidake, buna-shimeji, hiratake, and eringi. White mushrooms and Agaricus do not grow out of trees but are still considered saprobic fungi.
“Matsutake” is definitely the king of mushrooms.
It is cherished by Japanese people, many of us eagerly await the arrival of fall because of it. Why is matsutake so fascinating?
In addition to its unique aroma, it has to do with the fact that matsutake can never be artificially produced.
Matsutake is a mushroom belonging to the class Basidiomycetes. It lives on the roots of Japanese red pine and grows wild on the ground in forests of red pine during autumn. (In cold regions, matsutake can be also found in spruce and hemlock forests.)
There are always trees near matsutake because mycorrhizal fungi, which produce matsutake, cannot live without these trees. Likewise, without mycorrhizal fungi, the trees cannot thrive. Therefore, you could say that matsutake and trees have a close, beneficial relationship. It is virtually impossible to create this symbiotic relationship artificially.
Moreover, matsutake cannot grow unless specific natural conditions are miraculously met. The environment must have just the right sunlight exposure, temperature, humidity, amount of soil microorganisms, and various other conditions. It can be said that the matsutake we eat were harvested after having beaten extremely difficult odds.
Japanese people can appreciate that, which may be why we’re fascinated by the aroma of this precious mushroom and anticipate the arrival of the season each year, when we can again savor its full flavor.
Kinkatsu (A healthy life with microorganisms)
Kinkatsu refers to a healthy way of eating based on fermented foods Japanese people have long incorporated into their diet many fermented foods produced by microorganisms. The health benefits of these fermented foods have recently garnered attention. Mushrooms are the only fungi that can be consumed as food. They are low in calories and rich in immune-boosting nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin Bs, vitamin D, beta-glucan, and ornithine. The dietary fiber in mushrooms can absorb cholesterol and lipids in the intestines and remove them from the body. At the same time, they help create a healthy intestinal environment by increasing good bacteria, which can improve the complexion. Because mushrooms are low-calorie but filling, you can eat as many as you want without guilt. Their crisp, meaty textures are fun and satisfying. There is no doubt that mushrooms can help maintain a healthy eating lifestyle.
How to cook Kinoko? (Mushroom Recipes)
Matsutake Risotto Recipe
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 2.8 oz. matsutake mushrooms
- 5.3 oz. uncooked rice
- 1/4 onion
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp. Nijiya Chuka Dashi (Chinese stock)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/5 cup white wine
- 1 tsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mince the onion and slice the matsutake mushrooms.
- In a saucepan, combine water, matsutoke, and Chuka Dashi. Bring to a boil; remove the matsutake and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil. Saute the onion until soft; add the rice (do not wash). Stir-fry until the rice becomes transparent. Add white wine and continue to stir-fry.
- Add the soup stock made in Step 2, a little at a time. Simmer until the liquid is reduced. Add the matsutake and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Homemade Nametake (Seasoned Enoki Mushrooms) Recipe
- 1 bog (7.0 oz.) enoki mushrooms
- 1 bog (3.5 oz.) shimeji mushrooms
- 5 shiitake mushrooms
- 4 Tbsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
- 4 Tbsp. sake (Japanese rice wine)
- 3 Tbsp. mirin (sweet rice wine)
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 4/5 cup water
- 1 tsp. Nijiya Wafu Dashi (Japanese stock)
- Cut off the roots of the enoki mushrooms; slice into three equal lengths and break apart. Cut off the base of the shimeji mushrooms and break apart; cut in half if too long. Cut off the base of the shiitake mushrooms and slice.
- In a saucepan, combine all the seasoning ingredients and the mushrooms. Simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*Place in a clean, airtight glass jar and stare in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Mushroom Potage Soup Recipe
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 1 bag (3.5 oz.) shimeji mushrooms
- 1/2 bog (3.5 oz.) enoki mushrooms
- 3.5 oz. eringi mushrooms
- 1 potato
- 1/2 onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 1/4 cup chicken bouillon
- 1 cup and 2 tsp. milk
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. white wine
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Pepper to taste
- Mince the garlic and slice the onion and potato. Cut off the bases of the mushrooms and cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces.
- In a saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic over low heat. Once the aroma is released, raise the heat to medium and add the anion. Stir-fry well.
- Add the mushrooms and while wine, and stir-fry until the mushrooms are soft. Add the potatoes and continue to stir-fry.
- Add chicken bouillon and bring to a boil. Once the potatoes are tender enough to fall apart, turn off the heat and puree with a hand blender. (If using a regular blender, let the mixture coal a little first.)
- Heat the mixture again over medium heat and add milk. Season with salt and pepper and add butter at the end. Add a splash of heavy cream, if you like.
Mini Donabe Matsutake Rice (matsutake rice cooked in a small clay pot) Recipe
Ingredients (Serves 1 to 2)
- 1.8 oz. matsutake mushrooms
- 5.3 oz. rice
- 4/5 cup water
- 2-inch strip dashi kombu (dried kelp for making stock)
- 2 tsp. Nijiya Tsuyu Tennen (noodle sauce)
- Wash the rice and drain in a colander. Let stand for 20 minutes. In a small, single-serving clay cooking pot, combine the rice, water, and Tsuyu Tennen. Place the kombu strip on top and leave for 30 minutes.
- Slice the matsutake and add lo the clay cooking pot of Step 1. Cover and cook over medium heat until ii reaches a rolling boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Raise the heat to high and cook for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
Marinated Mitsuba and Enoki Mushrooms Recipe
- 1/2 bag (3.5 oz.) enoki mushrooms
- 1 bag (1.8 oz.) mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley)
- 0.35 oz. Zasai (Chinese pickles)
- 1/2 green onion
- 1/2 Tbsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
- Cut off the roots of the enoki mushrooms and cut the stems in half. Cut the mitsuba into the same length as the mushrooms.
- Cook 1. briefly in boiling water and drain in a colander.
- Roughly chop the Zasai and green onions. Place in a bowl; add 2. and soy sauce, and marinate.
Mixed Mushroom Paste (with baguette) Recipe
- 1 piece (1.8 oz.) eringi mushroom
- 1/2 bag (l.8 oz.) shimeji mushrooms
- 1/2 bag (l.8 oz.) maitake mushrooms
- 1/4 bag (l.8 oz.) enoki mushroomms
- 4 shiilake mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 red pepper
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. white wine
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off the bases of the mushrooms and slice into bite-size pieces. Slice the garlic.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil, garlic, and red pepper over low heat. Once the aroma is released, raise the heat to high. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry. Add white wine and continue to stir-fry.
- Add dry basil, salt, and pepper and stir-fry well. Once the mushrooms are tender, turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Grind in a food processor to a slightly coarse texture.
- Spread the mixture over toasted baguette slices. Sprinkle with parsley, if you like.
*The paste can also be used in pasta sauce or soup.