Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shiitake Soy Sauce Pickles

It's the tiniest bowl of shiitake pickles! I should have taken the extra ten seconds to mess with the zoom instead of dropping the camera and stuffing them into my face.

C bought me the Momofuku cookbook for Christmas (yay!) and it's seriously damaged my interest in vegan food. It's full of recipes that could convert vegans via smell alone. Those recipes generate a great deal of pork fat, and C allows me to have only two jars of fat hiding in the fridge at one time. Guys, it's hard! Hard!

But I'm made some pretty decent vegan dishes purely by chance. I guess I'll share them with you.

Right. I love the flavor and texture of shiitakes, but they are a.) expensive and b.) fussy to prepare properly. What I really want is a tough little bite of super-flavored shitake to roll around in my mouth for minutes.

This is probably not a goal a lot of other people have.

Anyway. When one is making ramen broth, there are many incidental ingredients. One is dried shiitake mushrooms- surprisingly affordable dried mushrooms! One boils them in kombu broth for about half an hour, and then pulls them out and starts boiling other things in kombu-shiitake broth. (It's a prolonged process.) The author then suggests that one make shiitake pickles with the reserved mushrooms.

So. Either use 2 cups of dried shiitakes to make broth, or soak them in boiling water for about 15 minutes.

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of soy sauce over them. Let them steep for about half an hour in the fridge (or overnight). Slice into strips, and serve with rice bowls, ramen, on pickle plates, or just chew on them like vegetarian jerky while blogging.

Please note: the actual chef suggests marinating the mushrooms in 1/2 cup light soy sauce, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup sherry vinegar. He also adds a knob of ginger. I like them better without all this frippery- so add a little bit of soy sauce, taste it, and ask yourself if adding sour and sweet would make it tastier. Then act according to your whim.

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