Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Japan: A Mushroom Lover’s Heaven



Article author photo. Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD This featured post is by Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD. You can follow this blogger @RDontheMove.

Where is this located? Japan, of course!

First, a little backstory: I love mushrooms, but my husband is not the biggest fan. In a moment of pure fate, he gave me a cookbook on Japanese cooking for a holiday gift. We were living in the Azores where Japanese food doesn’t really exist, but he knew I would be interested in the cookbook (let’s face it, the pictures were amazing — how could I not be interested?). One recipe was for a dish using more varieties of mushroom than I can count on one hand. I sighed and said, “Where on earth am I ever going to find the ingredients needed to make this?” The next day, my husband found out that he had orders to Japan — a mushroom lover’s heaven!

My first few weeks in Japan were filled with trips to the grocery store. Knowing Japan has tons of mushrooms, I still never expected to see that all grocery stores had such a large mushroom section. I mean entire refrigerated cases. I'm sure many locals thought it was funny to see an American in their rural neighborhood supermarket, standing, staring and drooling over the mushroom display.

The more popular ones in Japan are enoki, shiitake, maitake and one of my favorites, eringi (also know as king trumpet). Shiitakes have become quite common in the U.S., but you may be less familiar with enoki and eringi. The best way to prepare these is with an Asian flair, so season using typical Asian flavors. Soy sauce is always a go-to Asian flavor (although high in sodium, so don’t overdo it), but don’t forget about sesame, miso and garlic. Both of these mushrooms are not as flavorful as others and have different textures than most, but they can make a really nice addition to your meals. 

Mushrooms have long been a meat replacement for vegetarians, but more people seem to be catching on to this meatless substitution as a tasty way to remove higher-calorie, higher-fat meats. One of my favorites is grilled eringi lightly seasoned with black pepper. Personally, I like the taste, but the texture can get a bit chewy. The eringi mushroom is big and meaty, absorbing other flavors well. Other great uses include mushroom risotto, mushroom omelet, and stir fried with eggplant and string beans. Any time you would typically use a portabella, try using eringi instead.

Enoki is very different from most mushrooms you have probably seen: long and thin strands, all connected in a bunch at the bottom, and more white than brown in color. I often find these served in soup. Sitting in the broth for so long can soften them up a little. You could also use them as a substitute for pasta. Since they come in long strands and hold up well in a sauce, these make a low calorie, nutritious alternative to pasta. I’ll confess, I have never tried them with an Italian tomato sauce, but I have tried them with Asian sauces and topped with lots of veggies, like eggplant, bok choy, broccoli and carrots.

Other ideas for using the many varieties of Japanese mushrooms include mushroom soup, layered in lasagna, stir fried with tofu and green veggies, added to miso soup, on top of soba noodles, or even raw in a salad. Whatever way you like to enjoy your mushrooms, these Japanese varieties—if you come across them—are sure to make your dish stand out.

Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD, is a registered dietitian and military spouse living in Japan. She is co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Thin, and blogs at NutrFoodTrvl.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter.

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

My Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Passover Menu

My Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Passover Menu

My husband and I are mostly vegetarian, my sister-in-law is gluten-free and allergic to coconut, my dad is a traditional meat-eating guy, and the four children are as picky as you'd expect. Here's how I sort through the chaos and create a modified Passover dinner to meet everybody's needs.
Launching a Healthier Lifestyle for My Family

Launching a Healthier Lifestyle for My Family

Recently, I came up with an eating plan for my family that I've termed Dietitian's Husband Unrefined. It's an idea that has been brewing in our house for a few years.
Slurp Your Veggies with Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Slurp Your Veggies with Roasted Cauliflower Soup

In my unending quest to get people to eat more veggies, I'm always trying to think of more ways to get those veggies to taste delicious. I have two favorite methods for making it easier to eat—and actually want to eat—more vegetables: 1) Making a soup full of vegetables; and 2) Roasting vegetables. But when you combine those two methods, you get a result that is nothing short of delectable!
Finding Good Sources of Protein

Finding Good Sources of Protein

Are you getting enough — or way too much? Do you think about where protein comes from?
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop