In this series, we’ll be looking at ingredients which are common in Chinese supermarkets (超市,chāo shì) , but may be rare or expensive in our home countries. Each post includes a recipe, so you can start exploring a new world of food!
In my last post I was diverted from my mushroom hunt by the rare opportunity to sample delicious morels. However the Chinese supermarket regularly features a range of exotic and interesting fungi, at bargain prices. My local chāoshì lets you pick three different packets for RMB 10, a bargain indeed. For this recipe though I ended up using only two.
Shiitake mushrooms are usually known in the west by their Japanese name, and as the alternative, “Chinese black mushroom” is also used for the wood ear, we’ll stick to it here. They’re cheap as chips here, but I find that their strong flavor needs to be handled with care, or can be overwhelming.
Enoki mushrooms have a satisfying crunch, and work well in stir fries and salads.
My recipe uses one more distinctively Chinese fungus-based ingredient.
The supermarket has a range of exciting chili oils and sauces which I have been experimenting with, and this mushroom chili oil is a key ingredient in my:
Mushroom Rice Bake
What you’ll need:
2 cups of rice, cooked
Mushroom (around 200g)
Two large leeks
One head of broccoli
1 jar of mushroom oil chili
2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
Get the oven heating to 180 degrees celsius.
Chop and fry the leeks in an oven-proof casserole dish. Chop the broccoli into small florets and discard the stems (you can use them in the stock if throwing them away pains you, or in a soup if you’re using stock cubes.) Add the broccoli to the dish and fry too, nice and hot so it browns a little. Clean and chop the mushrooms, and chuck them in as well. Add garlic to your preference; I love garlic and use a whole head, peeled and finely sliced. When it all smells fabulous stir in the mushroom chili oil, then the rice. Pour in the stock, mix thoroughly, then transfer from the hob to the oven. (I used to top it with cheese, as in the picture below, but I’ve decided this is an unnecessary indulgence, though you might like to top with breadcrumbs, if you have them handy.) After 30 minutes, serve and enjoy!
Photos: epicurious.com, Andrew Killeen