Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Sweet simmered shitake and bento update

Shitake 2

Sweet simmered Shitake - talk about unintentional alliteration. The recipe comes from a little book, 'Bento Boxes: Japanese Meals on the Go' by Naomi Kijima, as a bento filler. The mushrooms can be prepared on a weekend for packing lunches later in the week as they keep well in the fridge for up to a week.

A couple of the mushrooms went into a bento lunch for AP today, which has beef with ginger and spring onions (leftover from last night's dinner) on rice, grape tomatoes and steamed broccolini. It was packed last night after dinner and placed in the fridge. Since he will be heating it up in the microwave during lunch at work, I used one of my Lock n Lock containers that is microwave-safe.


Another bento from yesterday: onigiri with furikake, grape tomatoes, container of soy sauce, cucumber and Italian sausages. I made a large batch of onigiri a few nights ago to go into my freezer stash (individually wrapped in cling film and then into a sealed ziplock bag). These ones were left in cling film since I packed the bento the night before and kept them in the fridge. Wrapping onigiri in cling film prevents them from drying out in the fridge overnight. Have I mentioned how good it is to have my bento things here again (our boxes shipped from the UK were delivered last week)?

Sweet simmered Shitake mushrooms


8 large dried shitake mushrooms
3 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp sake
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar


1. Soak the dried shitakie mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes. Gently squeeze out excess water and cut off the stalks. Either cut in half or leave whole. Reserve the soaking liquid.
2. Place the mushrooms in a pan and add the mushroom water (discard the gritty bits at the bottom) plus additional water if needed to cover the mushroom. Add the soy sauce, sake and sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20-30 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed.

Sweet simmered shitake mushrooms 1

3. Let cool and then store in a container with some of the cooking liquid. It will keep well in the fridge for up to a week.

Sweet simmered shitake mushrooms 3


VeggieGirl said...

Oooh, those simmered Shitake mushrooms look quite succulent; and hooray for more cute bentos!! Love the animal picks :0)

JT said...

Thanks for those detailed description on how to prepare bento food like onigiri in advance. How long can I keep the onigiri in the freezer?

noobcook said...

Great idea to make some food in advance so that they are ready to be packed on the go! Glad your bento stash is here!

For frozen onigiri, do you already shape them with furikake b4 putting in the freezer? Do u need to un-thaw or reheat them b4 consumption? Thanks for the inspiration :)

eliza said...

your bento looks very appealing. if only my hubby will eat those small portion of lunch food :)

Jags said...

I'm drooling over here again!

Those mushrooms look so very tasty and I have got to try that beef recipe!

I've never had broccolini before, but it looks interesting

I'm so glad you finally got your bento gear back! i just love seeing all the cute lil extras lol

your ongiri look super yummy, I wish I could grab one through the screen!

Noobcook: i've shaped riceballs after thawing the rice out and I've also frozen shaped ones. Seems to be about the same either way to me. Pre shaping them does cut down on time since you can do several at once though. You do need to let them thaw before you eat them.

If you make your lunch in the morning, its usually thawed by lunchtime

didally said...

Ohhh.. those mushrooms look so delicious. I would love that for my bento, if I ever get to make one that is. lol

Nice to see your lovely bento accessories in action again.

Elaine said...

I LOVE shittake mushrooms! I actually bought some fresh from a Korean market a while back and stuck them in the freezer - will have to try them simmered like this, perhaps in a veg stock to make up for the lack of mushroom soaking water. Do you think I can substitute some other rice cooking wine (Chinese version) for sake?

Bentoist said...

The mushrooms look really great! I should try them the next time I make gyudon, but I doubt they will look as good as yours. I buy my dried shitake mushrooms pre-sliced.

Mrs Ergül said...

How apt to plate these Shitake mushrooms in these Japanese bowls! Lovely way to cook shitake, isn't it? But I have got no sake...

Nilmandra said...

Veggiegirl: I like those picks too. They sure brighten up lunches :)

JT: I have kept onigiri in the freezer for up to a month and they were fine. I'm pretty sure they will get eaten within a month!

Noobcook: The ones I froze were plain. I sprinkle the furikake on top just before packing. To defrost the onigiri, warm them up in the microwave on the morning just before packing them (about 2 minutes on High, depending on your microwave). This will make the rice soft and moist again. The texture is not as good if left to thaw by itself.

Jags: Thanks for the comment! Do try the beef recipe, you can also substitute with pork. I've not had broccolini before either, just saw them at the grocers and though I would try them. They are just like sprouting broccoli, with long stems.

Didally: The mushrooms are nice as a side dish or appetiser too.

Elaine: Yes, Chinese cooking wine should be ok. The flavour is a little different but the base ingredients are the same. Not sure this recipe will work as well for fresh shitake. Dried shitake really benefits from the simmering as it completely soaks up the liquid and becomes soft and moist. Fresh mushrooms might become too soft with the simmering time.

Bentoist: Ooh the mushrooms would be lovely with gyudon! I've not made gyudon for a long time.

Mrs Ergul: Daiso bowls! :D You can substitute cooking sake with Chinese rice wine.

Nilmandra said...

Eliza: The food portions are larger than they look. Some cute Japanese bento boxes that you see out there are really small, but there are reasonably sized ones and depending on what you pack and how you pack your food, they are quite filling. If you pack the food tightly, and then tip it all out on a plate, it actually looks like normal portions! I should do a photo blog of that one day to demonstrate :) I have no complaints from the hubby so far, heh. And he said he needed to lose weight anyway so it's good for portion control ;)

elsye said...

Your bentou look cute with animal's toothpicks :D I also use that toothpicks for my son bentou.

btw, those mushrooms look delish, but I've never cooked before since it is very expensive in Japan :((

Nate-n-Annie said...

Your onigiri look great.

I like how the ribs of the simmered shiitake match the pattern on the bowl.

Nilmandra said...

Elsye: Really?? I would have thought dried shitake would be reasonably priced in Japan. I do notice that there are many grades or types of dried shitake. Some of them can be very expensive. I just buy the mid-range ones :p

Nate-n-Annie: Heh, good point. I was more interested in the 'flower' pattern on the mushroom cap :)

noobcook said...

Thanks for your advice, jags and nilmandra! They will come in handy for me =D

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