Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Another Shroomy Post

I'm swiping this one wholesale from Glovefox's blog, because it's now password-protected so I don't know if a lot of folks can get on there:
I think that I can never get fed-up of eating mushrooms, especially since I've adopted a semi-vegetarian way of life (i.e. eating 80% vegetarian with the remaining 20% split three-ways between eggs, dairy products and meat products). There's just so many varieties to choose from ranging from dried ones (e.g. Black Chinese mushrooms that need rehydrating but plumps up into dense, meaty bites of goodness) to tinned Chinese ones (including straw mushrooms and Golden Thread mushrooms) to fresh cultivated and wild varieties. I must say that my favourite fresh ones are chestnut mushrooms, big portobellos and lovely delicate oyster mushrooms.

As part of a balanced vegetarian diet, the humble mushroom is one of the few vegetables--aside from aubergines (eggplant), pulses and squashes--to supply a truly 'meaty' bite to the meal. I toss it into my stir-fries, pasta sauces, casseroles, salads, stews etc to add some wonderfully flavourful bulk to my main meal. Indeed, one of the great things about mushrooms is that they are so versatile, tasty and nutritious.

As a ethnic Chinese child, I was taught to appreciate not just mushrooms, but a whole gamut of edible fungus including Wood Ears and white Wood Ears. We usually incorporated them into various traditional dishes alongside other Chinese vegetarian staples including kum jum koo (Golden Needle flowers), fermented yam, tofu, taro, gingko nuts, all kinds of root vegetables ranging from white radishes to lotus roots, and of course, Chinese greens of all sorts. As a Chinese dish frequently showcases not just a balance of flavours but also a balance of textures, the types of mushrooms we used added a smooth touch to counterpoint the crunch of fresh vegetables, the richness of taro (what we call 'yams'), the blandness of tofu and the slight bitterness characteristic of most Chinese greens.

Now that I live a cosmopolitan life with a cooking repertoire to match it, I find that mushrooms are one of the easiest vegetables to include in any type of ethnic cooking I fancy and are beloved by all cultures. Lately, when I want something completely vegan but heartily satisfying, it's mushrooms I turn to and this is what I've been happily eating quite regularly for the last 3 weeks or so:

Wholewheat Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Rocket, Spring Onions and Garlic


A few handfuls of button/white/chestnut/portobello mushrooms, sliced fairly thinly
A handful or two of rocket leaves (arugula)
3 or 4 Spring Onions (green/salad/scallions), shredded diagonally and very thinly
4 pips of garlic, sliced thinly or crushed
1/2 a large lemon or 1 small lemon
A good glug of olive oil
A good shake of mixed dried herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough cooked wholewheat spaghetti to feed yourself (you can use other types of pasta), timed to finish cooking when you're almost done with the sauteeing and drained properly.

This is how I did it

Heat the oil in a wok or deep-sided frying pan, then toss in the garlic. Saute until the wonderful garlic smell is released. Add in the spring onions, saute until wilted. Squeeze in some of the lemon juice to generate some steam. Add in the mushrooms and squeeze in the rest of the lemon juice. Saute until just about cooked, then add in the mixed dried herbs and the rocket leaves. Saute until the rocket leaves are wilted, then season with salt and pepper. Chuck in the drained pasta, toss to combine well and serve for a great vegan dinner for one.

I also love eating it on freshly baked 100% wholewheat bread spread with a little butter or on brown rice.

Anyone care to share their favourite mushroom recipes?
Glovefox is way cool; I think she's even written a cookbook or two.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?