Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most consumed mushrooms worldwide. They are very flavourful and they pack even more punch when they are dried and rehydrated.
Shiitake covers a large part of your copper intake, which is essential for heart health. Doctors say many people do not get the required amount of copper in their diet. Next on the list is pantothenic acid and selenium. Shiitake mushrooms are also said to be good at diminishing inflammation, viruses and tumours.
Fresh shiitake mushrooms are very flavourful and are often used for tempura, and it is also often used in hot pots. Dried shiitake can be rehydrated and are perfect for making vegetarian soup stock. It is often combined with kombu to make a vegetarian and healthy broth, which is a nice alternative to bonito.
Oh shiitake! Why are you so tasty!
Maitake literally means dancing mushroom in Japanese (舞茸). Maitake is said to have medicinal properties as it is rich in antioxidants, vitamin B, vitamin C, copper, potassium, amino acids, beta-glucans, etc.
It also has cancer-fighting properties, as well as cholesterol reducing properties and also helps with type II diabetes.
Maitake is great in stir-fries and fried with tempura batter. It has an earthy flavour that many people love.
Matsutake also contains copper, which is essential for the production of red blood cells. It is also a good source of protein, vitamins A, B & C. Along with the mushrooms mentioned above, it has cancer-fighting properties and contains antioxidants.
Because of its sought-after benefits, matsutake is quite expensive outside of Japan. It is considered to be in the same category as truffles, luxury-wise.
Matsutake is especially popular cooked in rice which gives the rice an earthy and spicy flavour. It is recommended to eat them soon after harvest (around September) or they might lose their flavour.
Shimeji mushroom is also a good source of protein making it a perfect ingredient for vegetarians. They also contain copper, B vitamins, potassium and zinc.
They are often served with soba, in stir-fries or in hot pots.
King Oyster Mushroom
The king oyster mushroom is also a good source of protein, and it contains many vitamins and minerals.
Like a lot of the mushrooms mentioned, it is anti-inflammatory, helps reduce cholesterol and contains antioxidants.
Because of their meaty texture and earthy flavour, it is often eaten on its own. For example, yakitori restaurants will serve them on skewers with a bit of butter and salt; that is all that is necessary to bring out its natural flavour.
Nameko means slimy mushrooms because it is coated with a gelatinous texture. It can turn many people off, but it is very healthy. They are said to strengthen the immune system, and like the other mushrooms, they have cancer-fighting properties and antioxidants.
It is popularly eaten in miso soup or with soba noodles and even hot pots. Some parents even cook into chocolate cakes to 'trick' their children into eating more vegetables. The taste is nutty and eathy and can be compatible with chocolate.
Enoki mushrooms are high in vitamin B, vitamin D, as well as many other vitamins and minerals. They are known to strengthen immunity, to help lose gut fat, improves digestive health as they are high in fibre and help promote the production of insulin which is useful to people for type II diabetes.
Enoki mushrooms have a very light taste and are great in a variety of different dishes to add a nice texture. They are often eaten in hot pots, as well as wrapped in bacon at yakitori restaurants.