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Everything you need to know about dried mushrooms nz
Originally, dried mushrooms nz was a way to preserve them for later use. As many mushrooms have a short season, using dried is a great way to extend their availability. Stored in an airtight container they will keep for up to a year, making them a great pantry staple.
Usually mushrooms are dried whole or in slices; however, you can often find some in a powder form (or if you have a spice grinder you could try grinding your own). This concentrates their flavour, so often you need only a small amount for cooking.
Treat dried mushrooms nz as a flavour enhancer rather than making them the main component of your meal. They need to be rehydrated in boiling water, stock or other liquid for 20 minutes at least. Whole mushrooms may take longer to soften. And if using whole shiitake, you need to remove the tough and fibrous stems.
Often there will be some grit and dirt on the mushrooms so it pays to rub each piece to ensure it is clean. Save the soaking liquid for a stock or sauce if not using at the same time, straining it through a fine sieve first. You may want to reduce the liquid for an even more concentrated flavour for a sauce.
dried mushrooms nz are intensely fragrant, with more flavour than their fresh counterparts. Fry them in oil, butter or fat, which helps to release and extend their wonderful flavours into the finished dish.
Many Asian mushrooms such as shiitake, wood ear and honeycomb are used not only for flavour but to provide texture. Use whole mushrooms for soups and braises, and sliced for stir-fries and other fast-cooking dishes.
Here are some recipe ideas:
1. For an Asian-style broth, simmer finely sliced ginger and sliced garlic with chicken stock, mushroom soaking liquid, some shaoxing rice wine, soy sauce and reconstituted sliced shiitake or wood ear mushrooms. To finish add blanched bok choy, sliced spring onion and silken tofu. For a more substantial meal, add poached shredded chicken and blanched egg noodles.
2. To make a mushroom lasagne, fry reconstituted chopped porcini in butter or olive oil with onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add a can of tomatoes along with the mushroom liquid and simmer until thick. Make a bechamel (white sauce) then layer the two sauces between sheets of fresh pasta and top with grated parmesan. Bake at around 180C until the pasta is bubbling.
3. Fry chopped porcini with a couple of chopped leeks until the leeks are soft. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add freshly chopped parsley. Cool, then stuff under the skin of a whole chicken or chicken breasts and roast, using the porcini soaking liquid to make gravy.
4. Make a stir-fry with sliced wood ear, shiitake or honeycomb (or a mixture of all three) and thinly sliced chicken. Stir-fry garlic, fresh chilli and ginger in a little oil in a wok. Add the sliced chicken and cook for a few minutes. Add the mushrooms, a good dash of mirin or shaoxing rice wine, a little chicken stock and soy sauce. Fry until the chicken is cooked through. Add a slurry of cornflour and water into the stir-fry for a thickened gravy.