Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Shiitake have many uses in Chinese and Japanese cuisines. They are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian dashi, and also as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes.
Shiitake are often dried and sold as preserved food in packages. These must be rehydrated by soaking in water before using. Many Japanese prefer dried shiitake to fresh, considering that the sun-drying process draws out the superior flavour from the dried mushrooms by breaking down proteins into amino acids. The stems of shiitake are rarely used in Japanese cuisine. The stems are also rarely used in other cuisines, primarily because the stems are harder and take longer to cook than the soft fleshy caps.
Today Shiitake has become popular in many other countries as well. Russia produces and also consumes large amounts of it, mostly sold pickled; and the Shiitake is slowly making its way into western cuisine as well. There is a global industry in Shiitake production, with local farms in most western countries in addition to large scale importation from China, Japan and elsewhere.
Tsuji, Shizuo. (1980). Japanese cooking: A simple Art. Kodansha International/USA, New York.
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