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Japanese mushroom recipes

Updated on January 2, 2014

Maitake and Shiitake and Enoki Oh My!

In Japan we have it good. We have, at our disposal, lots of local fresh produce to choose from. Each season brings us new things to eat. Apples and persimmons in the fall and juicy peaches and watermelon in the warmer months. Although mushrooms are at their peak in fall, they are available year round. There are many varieties of mushrooms here that are easily attaninable and are sold in supermarkets and farmer's markets at very reasonable prices, most of the time around 100 yen ( $1US ) a pack.

Today I've put together three of my favorite recipes using some of my favorite varieties of mushrooms which include maitake, shiitake, enoki, shimeji, eringi and nameko. Each one has a distict flavor with shiitake and maitake having the most intense flavors.

*Photo of all the mushrooms mentioned on a plate taken by myself

Did you know...

Scientists have isolated substances in shiitake that may play a vital role in curing and preventing many modern illnesses and diseases such as cancer, heart disease and AIDS.

Stay healthy the natural way

Shiitake and maitake are especially healthy for your body and can enhance your immune system. The fresh ones are easiest to use in cooking. However the dried varieties are concentrated in flavor as well as nutrients. A great way to use these mushrooms is to just add them to your rice cooker along with some rice (not the instant kind). Cook the rice and voila! You get great flavored rice with a boost of nutrients. This works as a great side dish for almost everything. Of course if you don't like to cook, you can simply take a supplement to get the benefits.

Roland Dried Mushrooms, Shiitake Sliced, 12 Ounce
Roland Dried Mushrooms, Shiitake Sliced, 12 Ounce

Sliced shiitake mushrooms are convenient and easy to use. Use them in miso or other soups, stews and stir-fries. Easy way to use them is to add some to your rice cooker with rice adding a great flavor with while giving you a nutritional boost.

 
Havista Dried Mushrooms, Maitake, 5.99-ounce
Havista Dried Mushrooms, Maitake, 5.99-ounce

Convenient because it's already cut into small pieces. I also add these before I turn on my rice cooker or add them to miso soups.

 

Mushrooms are superfoods

maitake
maitake

*Photo of maitake and shiitake taken my myself

Mushrooms are full of nutrients and some types may be extremely beneficial to your overall health. For example shiitake gives you protein, potassium, niacin, B vitamins, cailium, magnesium and phosphorus. They are also known to help your body fight viruses, lower cholesterol and control blood pressure.Scientists also believe that shiitake can improve your health by boosting your immune system defenses.For a more detailed look into shiitake's powers and benefits to our health, please check out whfoods

Maitake is also considered a superfood by many nutritionists and scientists. In traditional Chinese medicine, maitake is said to be one of the most cleansing food and targets the liver and lungs. In Japan, maitake is known to help strengthen the body and improve your overall health. I found a great website with some good information on maitake mushrooms and it's benefits to your health. Check it out here.

Mushroom Poll

Have you tried Japanese mushrooms before?

See results
maitake shiitake tempura
maitake shiitake tempura

This is a simple and delicious way to use shiitake and maitake. If you don't have them, you can use any kind of mushroom you have although white mushrooms just don't have the intense flavor as shiitake or maitake. Remember you don't need to wash your mushrooms and if there is any dirt on it, you should wipe it off with a paper towel. If you decide to give them a wash, make sure they are patted dry with a paper towel. The excess water on the mushrooms will make the oil splatter which is not a pleasant experience. In this recipe I use less oil for frying as I hate to waste oil. However tempura is typically made with lots of frying oil just like when you make fried chicken. It's your choice! ;)

I usually like to eat these with a sprinkling of salt. You can also use your favorite dip to enhance the flavor.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 15

Total Time: 30

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup coldseltzer water or just cold plain water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms (bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup chopped maitake mushrooms (bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup cooking oil

Instructions

  1. 1. Prepare oil in a frying pan and heat to 350 degrees.
  2. 2. Chop the shiitake and maitake into bite-sized pieces. Set them aside. Make sure they are completely dry.
  3. 3. To make the tempura, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt and seltzer or plain water in a bowl. Do not overmix. Batter should be lumpy. Make sure the water is very cold.
  4. 4. Add the mushrooms into the batter and mix gently.
  5. 5. Carefully add about a 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of batter into the oil using a ladle or spatula making sure the batter forms into a nice circle shape. Don't make them too thick or else they will not cook evenly. I can usually fit around 3 in my frying pan. Make sure each piece is not touching.
  6. 6. Cook them for about 3 minutes. When they turn a nice golden color, flip them over and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Once they are crispy and golden, drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
  7. 7. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of salt or your favorite dip.
Cast your vote for Shiitake and Maitake Tempura

The recipe in pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Get your ingredients ready. You can use any mushrroms but shiitake and maitake is a good combination.Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, prepare the batter and mix them together.Cook in oil until a crispy and a golden color on each side.Serve them with a sprinkle of salt or your favorite dip
Get your ingredients ready. You can use any mushrroms but shiitake and maitake is a good combination.
Get your ingredients ready. You can use any mushrroms but shiitake and maitake is a good combination.
Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, prepare the batter and mix them together.
Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, prepare the batter and mix them together.
Cook in oil until a crispy and a golden color on each side.
Cook in oil until a crispy and a golden color on each side.
Serve them with a sprinkle of salt or your favorite dip
Serve them with a sprinkle of salt or your favorite dip

Tempura Poll

Do you like tempura?

See results

Nameko mushrooms

nameko mushrooms
nameko mushrooms

Miso soup with nameko mushrooms is a great accompaniment to the tempura dish. Just add a bowl of nice steaming rice with some pickled vegetables and you have a complete meal. I'm not sure how easy it is to find nameko mushrooms outside of Japan but if you can't find them, you can use shiitake or maitake mushrooms in miso soup instead. I particularly enjoy maitake in my miso soup as I love the unique flavor and texture of it.

Nameko Miso Soup

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The nameko mushrooms are slightly slimy to being with. Make sure they are fresh as these mushrooms are quite perishable.Put them into a pot of Japanese dashi.Bring it to a boil and cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Lower heat and add the miso. Serve immediately.
The nameko mushrooms are slightly slimy to being with. Make sure they are fresh as these mushrooms are quite perishable.
The nameko mushrooms are slightly slimy to being with. Make sure they are fresh as these mushrooms are quite perishable.
Put them into a pot of Japanese dashi.
Put them into a pot of Japanese dashi.
Bring it to a boil and cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Lower heat and add the miso. Serve immediately.
Bring it to a boil and cook on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Lower heat and add the miso. Serve immediately.
nameko miso soup
nameko miso soup

Nameko Miso Soup

Miso soup is a great way to use nameko in your cooking and is the most common way we eat it here in Japan. Make sure the nameko is fresh. You will also need to have some kind of Japanese soup stock base or what we call "dashi". The "dashi" is one of the most important elements in Japanese cooking as is used for many dishes.

A simple way to make dashi is to put a stick of dried kombu ( kelp ) into a container of water and keep it overnight in the refrigerator. It will be ready to be used the next day. The kelp adds the necessary umami to the soup. If you are not vegan, you can simply use the instant dashi you can get at many Asian supermarkets.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 3

Total Time: 7

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Japanese soup stock or dashi
  • 1/2 cup nameko
  • !/3 cup miso

Instructions

  1. The directions are very simple. First you bring the soup stock to a boil. Add the nameko and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Lower the heat and dissolve the miso making sure there are no lumps. Serve hot and enjoy!

How to make the perfect miso soup

This is a great video on how to make miso soup the proper way. Did you know you aren't supposed to boil your soup after you put the miso in? If you didn't, I suggest you watch the video. I promise it'll be worth it. ;)

Ajinomoto - Hon Dashi (Soup Stock) 4.23 Oz.
Ajinomoto - Hon Dashi (Soup Stock) 4.23 Oz.

This is a fish soup stock that's widely used by housewives in Japan. You can use them for miso soup. I love to use them as seasonings to make fried rice, fried noodles, other soups and more.

 
Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice, 15-Pound
Tamanishiki Super Premium Short Grain Rice, 15-Pound

Japanese rice is best for Japanese dishes.

 

Rice with Shiitake

shiitake rice
shiitake rice

A Japanese meal is never complete without rice and adding shiitake is one of the ways we celebrate the autumn harvest. Shiitake gohan or rice with shiitake, is delicious and easy to make. Just add some fresh or dried shiitake when cooking your rice. Add a bit of salt and serve. You can also add a piece of dried konbu or instand dashi to add an extra bit of umami. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds if you like.

In Japan, food is enjoyed not only by taste, but also by sight and smell. Eliminating even one of these elements from a dish will make it incomplete.

The Japanese Vegan Bookstore

Here are some terrific cookbooks on Vegan Japanese cooking. You'll find that eating a typical Japanese diet will make you feel clean and improve your overall health.

Japanese Food Poll

Do you like Japanese food?

See results

Do you like shiitake? Maitake? What do you think of Japanese food? Please leave your thoughts. Thanks! ;)

Please feel free to leave your comments.

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    • evawrites1 profile image

      evawrites1 3 years ago

      I love shiitake, the rest I have never tried but I'm sure they're great too. Thanks for these great ideas.

    • cdotthought profile image

      cdotthought 3 years ago

      this was really fantastic, thank you for including so many photos!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      This is such a beautiful lens! And very well done. Love Japanese food, so I will definitely have to try the mushroom tempura! You are nearly to 100 lenses too--woohoo!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I have been wanting to learn how to make miso soup. Thanks!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @JohnCumbow: Japan will always be here with open arms for you! Wow, it's amazing you used to grow them yourselves!

    • JohnCumbow profile image

      JohnCumbow 3 years ago

      I love shiitake, maitake, enoki and all the Japanese mushrooms. Used to grow my own Shiitake several years ago. Love the meaty texture.

      My wife and I visited Japan almost 20 years ago, would love to return for an extended visit someday.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: Oh, that's great to hear. When I'm not in the mood for meat, I usually go with mushrooms.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      Mushrooms add a "meaty" component to vegetarian dishes - I use them often and luckily we have shiitake mushrooms here in Canada.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Magpie Feathers: Thanks so much magpie. I find there are many Westerners who think Japanese food is difficult so one of my missions is to show how easy it is to make. I also want to let people know that Japanese food is not all about sushi and tempura or even teriyaki for that matter.

    • Magpie Feathers profile image

      Magpie Feathers 3 years ago

      @smine27: Thank you it's great to have a Japanese food consultant out here. :)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Magpie Feathers: Thank you so much for your comment. To make the tempura sauce put soy sauce,sake,mirin and some dashi and heat it for 3 minutes. I'll send you a more detailed recipe to you. For the instant soup you can boil the water but turn the heat off before putting the instant soup in.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: I try and eat mushrooms as often as I can.

    • Magpie Feathers profile image

      Magpie Feathers 3 years ago

      I love mushroom and I would like to know how do you make the black, soya sauce like sauce (not wasabi) you have with tempura.Seriously, I DID NOT know miso soup is not supposed to be boiled. I actually boil the ready made soup which comes in a sachet. This is new for me. I love Japanese food. It's really light and I never seem to get over stuffed. And your lens are always beautiful and vibrant. It shows the hard work.

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      So interesting to hear about the medicinal benefits... that's amazing.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Susan Zutautas: Yay. I'm always happy to hear someone like Japanese food. You must try maitake if you find it. I actually prefer it to shiitake.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes I like shitake, but have never tried maitake before. Love Japanese food!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @DawnRae64: Aww thanks so much dawn. I really loved your apple festival lens.

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 3 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Thank you for visiting my apple festival lens. I'm glad you did so I could find your lenses. I LOVE shiitake mushrooms. Thank you for sharing this yummy lens.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sharadkgupta lm: Aww you are very kind. Thanks for visiting!

    • sharadkgupta lm profile image

      sharadkgupta lm 3 years ago

      Mushrooms are so tasty dish.Love your lens so much.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @samsmom7: Thanks for reading samsmom7. Cheers!

    • profile image

      samsmom7 3 years ago

      Great information on mushrooms which I love. Thank you!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @matt-hill: Thank you Matt. I hope you try the recipe.

    • profile image

      matt-hill 3 years ago

      Great lens! This kind of thing is right up my street. Thank you.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @LiteraryMind: Thank you LiteraryMind. I hope you find ways to incorporate them into your dishes as they are quite easy to do.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VspaBotanicals: Thank you so much. :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 3 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thanks for the mushroom recipes. I know they are good for me, but finding ways to use them is difficult. Beautiful photos of the mushrooms -- you make them look like works of art.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 3 years ago

      Excellent lens!!!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Rosetta Slone: I do agree with you on the common button mushrooms. Not much taste but I still like it sometimes. Thanks for reading!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @resabi: Thanks so much resabi for reading my lens. I truly appreciate it.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @aesta1: The shiitake is really good in rice. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 3 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I grew up eating common button mushrooms and always thought I didn't like mushrooms - until I tried Japanese ones. They're wonderful! Nice to know more about them and what they can be used for.

    • profile image

      resabi 3 years ago

      I really like mushrooms AND Japanese food, so thanks for this lens. I especially appreciate the little tips you give about drying the mushrooms if you wash them, to prevent oil splatter and information about which ones are especially perishable and what the textures should be like. Great lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just finished lunch at a Japanese restaurant and I enjoyed some nameko mushrooms. I will try putting some shiitake next time I cook rice.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @anonymous: That sounds interesting. Do you eat it just like that?

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Love shitake mushrooms, have them often. I buy them dried, soak them in a mixture of water, sugar, few drops of sesame oil, ginger, Kikkoman soy sauce instead of just plain water.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Zdiddle: Ohhh Japanese food is super easy to make. i'll be coming out with more lenses on Japanese cooking so stay tuned.

    • Zdiddle profile image

      Zdiddle 3 years ago

      Now I'm hungry. I love Japanese food, but rarely cook it at home because it seems intimidating. I love mushrooms too, but generally only use white button mushrooms or portabellos. Time to branch out!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @captainj88: I am so grateful for all the kind words. Thank you for visiting and reading.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Diana Wenzel: Nice to meet you fellow mushroom lover. I too love the way they can add so much flavor to a dish. Thanks for visiting!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 3 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I agree with RenaissanceWoman2010. I learned something new about the dried mushrooms, and I love mushrooms raw, dried or cooked. Thanks for sharing!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Didn't realize the dried mushrooms are more nutritious. That is good news. Looking forward to trying some of these recipes. I love mushrooms. They add so much to a dish. Thanks for sharing these tips and ideas. Appreciated!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you for visiting. I always appreciate your comments grammieo. cheers!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Mary Crowther: They really are a superfood. Thanks for visiting Maree.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      I love anything to do with mushrooms, this was great! Thanks for all the great ideas and recipes.

    • Mary Crowther profile image

      Mary Crowther 3 years ago from Havre de Grace

      I never know mushrooms were so nutritious. Thanks for the great recipes!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Rhonda Lytle: You're very welcome poetvix. Thanks for visiting.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 3 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Mushrooms are awesome and I love tempura. Thanks bunches for including the recipes.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @steadytracker lm: Thank you for visiting my lens steadytracker. Much appreciated.

    • steadytracker lm profile image

      steadytracker lm 3 years ago

      Thank you for entering this lens in the 2013 Squidoo County Fair.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sybil watson: Aww thanks so much for the kind words. I wonder why they are so expensive in the U.S? I remember how expensive they were when I visited my family in Hawaii. I think they cost around 5 times more than here!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TipsForMoms: Yes I can imagine. I wonder why they can't make them over there?

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Minoru10: You really should MInoru. Not only are they healthy but they taste good!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 3 years ago

      I love Japanese mushrooms, and we are able to get fresh ones where I live, but they're very expensive. Your pictures are wonderful.

    • TipsForMoms profile image

      TipsForMoms 3 years ago

      I love Japanese mushrooms, especially nameko and matsutake, but they're so expensive here.

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      Thanks for sharing the health benefits. I really love mushrooms. This is a wonderful lens.

      makes me feel like going out to buy some.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Thanks Vinn for your comments and for visiting!

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      I love mushroom and never knew that shiitake could fight HIV! That's amazing! Thank you for these recipes!