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 shiitake, 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) compared to fresh.
The Japanese use the soaking liquid and the reconstituted mushrooms. The liquid can be used as vegan dashi or broth.
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
To use dried shiitake, rehydrate them in water and remove the tough stems. Depending on the size, soak them in cold water overnight in the refrigerator. While it may be tempting to use boiling water to speed up the process, hot water will dissolve the guanylic acid.
Once the dried mushrooms are rehydrated, they will become tender and spongy.
Mushrooms: Great for simmered or steamed foods, mix into rice or add to soups.
Soaking Liquid: This brown liquid is shiitake dashi, a by-product of the soaking process. The soaking liquid contains nutrients and flavors, so don’t toss it! We usually combine the liquid with other dashi to enhance the flavor. Use it to make miso soup or use it as a broth for 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
Living outside of Japan, it’s not easy to find high-quality dried shiitake mushrooms. 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 nice luster, fewer wrinkles on the caps, and golden color 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.