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What are Shiitake Mushrooms?
Shiitake Mushrooms are edible mushrooms native to East Asia.
They’re tan to dark brown, with caps that grow between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 cm).
While typically eaten like vegetables, shiitake are fungi that grow naturally on decaying hardwood trees.
Around 83% of shiitake are grown in Japan, although the United States, Canada, Singapore, and China also produce them .
You can find them fresh, dried, or in various dietary supplements.
These mushrooms are more expensive than white button and cremini mushrooms, but their rich, earthy flavor and meaty texture make them worth the extra cost. They are good in sautés, stir-fries, soups, stuffings, and risotto.
Shiitake, when translated from Japanese, refers to the shii tree on which these mushrooms originally grew, while také means mushroom. They are used in both the fresh and dried state.
How to Make Shiitake Mushrooms
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms to your skillet, cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
- Add water and cook until the water has evaporated and the mushrooms have shrunken and softened. If necessary, fry for an extra 2-3 mins.
- If you like, you can stir in some oyster sauce and coat the mushrooms (highly recommended!).
- However, if you’re looking for another dish like pho, you can leave out the sauce and garnish with green onions.
What Do They Taste Like?
Shiitakes have a more complex flavor compared to button mushrooms, and are prized for their rich, savory, butteriness that can also be described as umami. The dried version is even more intense, with an added smokiness to the flavor profile.
- Bok Choy and Shiitake Mushroom Stir Fry
- Creamy Low-Fat Mushroom Risotto
- Soy Sauce Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms
Nutrition profile of shiitake mushrooms
Shiitake are low in calories. They also offer good amounts of fiber, as well as B vitamins and some minerals.
The nutrients in 4 dried shiitake (15 grams) are (2Trusted Source):
- Calories: 44
- Carbs: 11 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Riboflavin: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Niacin: 11% of the DV
- Copper: 39% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 33% of the DV
- Selenium: 10% of the DV
- Manganese: 9% of the DV
- Zinc: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the DV
- Folate: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 6% of the DV
In addition, shiitake contain many of the same amino acids as meat .
They also boast polysaccharides, terpenoids, sterols, and lipids, some of which have immune-boosting, cholesterol-lowering, and anticancer effects.
The amount of bioactive compounds in shiitake depends on how and where the mushrooms are grown, stored, and prepared.