Dried Shiitake Mushrooms have an intense flavor and a meaty texture. The Japanese use them in soups and simmered dishes to accentuate the umami flavor and fragrance.
Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (干し椎茸, 干しシイタケ) are a versatile and popular ingredient used in East Asian cuisines. They have an intense smoky flavor and a meaty texture, which enhance the flavor of soups, stir-fries, and simmered dishes. Compared to fresh mushrooms, the dried ones are known for their concentrated and pronounced flavor.
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What Are Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms are made by drying shiitake in industrial dehydrators or sun-dried. Similar to kiriboshi daikon, the drying process concentrates its nutritional profile. It’s much higher in vitamin D, folic acid, biotin, lenthionine, and guanylic acid (umami) than fresh shiitake mushrooms.
The Japanese use the soaking liquid and the reconstituted mushrooms. The liquid can be used as vegan dashi or vegetable stock.
What Do They Taste Like
Compared to fresh shiitake mushrooms, dried shiitake has a more concentrated umami flavor with a juicy yet tender bite.
There are three types of dried shiitake mushrooms.
- Donko (冬菇) – Thick, dome (umbrella) shaped cap (shown below). The prized ones are a light brown color and have a beautiful pattern.
- Kouko (香菇) – Not as thick and curved as Donko, between Donko and Koshin.
- Koshin (香信) – Flat, not dome (umbrella) shaped.
How To Use
Rehydrate by soaking the mushrooms in cold water for half a day or overnight in the refrigerator. While it may be tempting to use boiling water or boil them to speed up the process, hot water will dissolve the guanylic acid, the delicious umami flavors.
Once the dried mushrooms are rehydrated, they will become tender and spongy. Strain the mushroom broth through a fine mesh or paper towels to remove the grit. Cut off the woody stems.
Mushrooms: Great for simmered or steamed foods, mixed into rice, or added to soups.
Soaking Liquid: This brown liquid is shiitake dashi, a by-product of the soaking process. The flavorful liquid contains nutrients, so don’t toss it! We usually combine the liquid with other dashi to enhance the flavor. Use it to make miso soup, as stock, or as a broth for noodles and other dishes.
Use Leftover Rehydrated Shiitake
If you find yourself with rehydrated shiitake mushrooms from making dashi, do not throw them away. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Noodle soups or Japanese-style pasta
- Stews or braised dishes
- As a substitute for meat to make vegetarian mapo tofu
- Stir-fries to bulk up your dish
- Filling for gyoza or spring rolls
- Mixed rice dish
Recipes Using Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Where To Buy
It’s not easy to find high-quality dried shiitake mushrooms outside of Japan. You can find it whole or sliced at Japanese and Asian grocery stores. Shiitake imported from Japan tends to be more expensive than Chinese or Korean brands.
How to Choose The Best
Look for light brown caps with a luster, fewer wrinkles on the caps, and golden-colored gills.
How To Store
Like most dried goods, dried shiitake mushrooms should be sealed in a plastic or airtight container and stored in a dry, cool place. Avoid humidity and direct sunlight.
Store reconstituted mushrooms and the broth in an airtight container in the fridge. Use within a few days.