Wednesday, 1 October 2008

King oyster mushroom and kai lan in oyster sauce

As mentioned in this blog on various occasions, AP and I both love mushrooms. White button, brown chestnut, portobello, dried shitake, fresh shitake, shimeiji, enoki... you name it, we love it. I was delighted to find king oyster mushrooms being sold at the H-Mart in downtown Vancouver and very cheaply too. I have only had this mushroom once or twice; they were very expensive in the UK, if I ever did see any.

King oyster mushroom 2

Here's one with a large egg for scale:
King oyster mushroom 1

The king oyster is a very meaty mushroom with a large and elongated stalk. The stalk has a texture that is both silky and chewy. It is said to resemble abalone, hence its Chinese name of abalone mushroom (bao yu gu; 鲍鱼菇). On its own, king oyster mushrooms have little flavour but it absorbs other flavours like a sponge, so they tend to be cooked with strongly flavoured condiments such as oyster sauce, soy sauce and miso. In this case, I have paired them with dried shitake mushrooms. You can also use fresh shitake mushrooms but I love the 'concentrated' flavours of dried ones, and the soaking liquid adds even more mushroomy goodness to the sauce.

Shitake 1

Ingredients (serves 3-4 as a side dish):

3 large King Oyster mushroom, sliced
4-5 dried Shitake mushrooms
200g kai lan
1 clove garlic, minced
100ml water or chicken stock
100ml mushroom soaking water
1 tbsp oil for cooking
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water


1. Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 20-30 minutes until soft. Remove and gently squeeze out excess water. Cut off the hard stalks and discard. You can either slice the shitake in half or leave whole. Reserve 100ml of the mushroom soaking liquid, discarding the gritty bits at the bottom.
2. Wash and separate the leaves of kai lan. Cut in half if the stalks are long. Blanch the vegetables in a pan of boiling water for about 3-4 minutes. Drain and arrange on a plate.
3. Heat some oil in a large pan or wok. Over medium heat, stir fry the garlic for about 30 seconds until fragrant, and then add the the shitake and king oyster mushrooms. Stir fry the mushrooms for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the stock and mushroom soaking water (use 200ml water if not using the mushroom soaking liquid) to the wok. Add the oyster sauce and sesame oil and mix well. Turn the heat right down and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to soak up the liquid and flavours. Remove the mushrooms and lay them out on top of the vegetables.
5. Bring the liquid back to boil and add the cornflour mixture. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the mushrooms and kai lan and serve.

King oyster mushroom and kai lan in oyster sauce

I have used kai lan (芥兰, sometimes sold as Chinese Broccoli) in this dish. You can also use other vegetables such as broccoli (separate into small florets) or asparagus (cut into sections). Remember to parboil them accordingly (not too soft, retaining some bite) as different vegetables cook at different rates.

You can make this a vegetarian dish by using vegetarian oyster sauce (often sold as mushroom-'oyster' sauce).


VeggieGirl said...

Fabulous dish!

tigerfish said...

I love this dish too! Comfort food to me definitely :)

noobcook said...

Oh looks so nice. I love mushrooms too, can't get enough. Love your photos of them :)

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks great! I made a similar dish too. Haven't bought king oyster mushroom for awhile and kinda miss it.

Alexx said...

I've never seen these mushrooms - if I do, I will grab them!

Lore said...

Gorgeous photography and I bet that dish tastes like a million bucks!

Kevin said...

That looks nice and simple and really tasty. I like the greens on the side.

Nilmandra said...

Veggiegirl: Anything with mushroom wins in this house :)

Tigerfish: Thanks, and it's a healthy dish too!

Noobcook: Thanks! I'm glad I could find these mushrooms here.

Little Corner of Mine: Yeah, I think I remember seeing something similar on your blog. I only buy these mushroom when I see them not too expensive. I'm cheapo like that ;)

Alexx: Definitely worth trying them out if you do find any.

Lore: Thanks! They tasted great.

Kevin: Thanks, they went well with the veg. Although next time I think I will grill them and really taste the meatiness :)

Heather said...

Oh, Nilmandra! We went to the H Mart in Vancouver last week, too! We bought some unagi onigiri for a snack, and almost picked up some salmon sashimi, but didn't want to leave it in the hotel fridge.

I get king oyster mushrooms for very cheap at the Chinese market near our house (Fubonn) - I love them grilled. They have such a great, meaty texture.

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