Mushroom makes a bloody good mince!

I usually make this mushroom mince when I have a glut of mushrooms that I either forgot about or overbought from the bargain bin. Semi dried out, sad looking mushrooms are perfect for this! It’s a bonus if they’re fresh, but I’ve made this with both and it’s delicious either way. It’s an umami-rich lighter alternative to mince. My go to use for this is usually a riff on Chinese san choy bao or in a rice bowl. When I don’t have much left of this I just stretch it by adding a few spoonfuls to meals on the side.

Everything is chopped in the food processor since we have it out anyway! If you don’t have a food processor you can roughly hand chop everything up with a little more time, but definitely more love.


RECIPE

MUSHROOM MINCE SAN CHOY BAO

INGREDIENTS
600 g mushrooms (any mix really, I often use a mix of field, button and swiss, whatever you have or whatever’s cheaper)
1 large onion
1 cup leftover cooked white rice
Canned bamboo shoots, sliced (approx 225g)
Canned water chestnuts, sliced (approx 227g)
3 tsp oyster sauce
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp brown bean paste* (fermented soy bean and flour paste)
2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste


TO SERVE
Coriander
Sesame oil
Baby cos lettuce – washed and dried
Pickles on the side (optional)

METHOD
1. Heat a large fry pan on medium with a bit of vegetable or another neutral oil. Roughly halve and quarter the onion and finely chop in a food processor, then add to the hot pan with a pinch of salt and fry for 2-3 mins or until golden.

2. Add the washed and drained water chestnuts and bamboo shoots to the food processor and carefully process with the pulse function to a rough chop. Keep some texture as this part adds a bit of crunch, so some larger bits are fine. Add to the pan with the onion and saute for 5 mins. Add another glug of oil if it’s drying out then 1 tsp each of oyster, soy sauce, brown bean paste and kecap manis – mix through well – this imparts extra flavour into the chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Cook for a few minutes, then set aside in a medium bowl.

4. Meanwhile chop the mushrooms to a rough dice, in the food processor. Work in batches (depending on the size of your food processor) so the chop is even – tear large mushrooms into smaller bits for a more even chop. Do some finely, some more chunky to get variation. Be careful not to over do it as they’ll cook down and shrink. Add more oil to the large pan on medium high heat and add your chopped mushrooms and leave them, if you overmix them you’ll coax out more liquid. Letting them sit allows them to brown and set a bit of colour on the edges. The cooking time depends on your mix of mushroom varieties. I cook them until they don’t have that raw taste anymore. Should be around 5-10 minutes. 

5. Throw in the chestnut and bamboo mixture and cooked rice with the mushrooms, mix well and warm through. Add the remaining sauces and the rice wine vinegar: 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown bean paste, 1 tsp kecap manis and some white pepper. Taste for seasoning after each sauce addition if you’re not confident mixing and layering asian sauces then do a final taste for seasoning. 

Photography by Eric Cech

TO SERVE
Spoon warm mushroom mince into prepared lettuce cups and top with coriander (finely sliced stems or leaves) and pickles on the side – chinese pickles, kimchi, takukan (yellow pickled daikon), do chua (pickled carrot and daikon) or just sweet sliced pickled cucumbers work well). Crunchy cucumber slices and lil’ red radishes are nice too if you have some handy. Enjoy!

NOTES: *Brown bean paste: Is a fermented soy bean and flour paste. If you cannot find it substitute with extra soy sauce to taste.

There’s so many ways to eat this, how would you do it?

Photography by Eric Cech

Supercharged Instant Ramen (feat. old mushrooms)

So late one night, my partner and I were watching a Bon Appetit video – the one where Claire painstakingly recreates a gourmet version of instant ramen – and suddenly we felt super-inspired to pimp up some packet ramen for ourselves.

We found some ageing mushrooms holding on for dear life at the bottom of the fridge. Usually I’d just throw them in with something meaty to add flavour, but I figured adding them to ramen would be a far more interesting way to use them up and extract their umami goodness.

But for any good ramen you need a good broth — and given its vital role, it’s preferable to use a homemade stock. It’s nicer than the salty store-bought versions — but in a pinch you could easily use a good quality liquid stock (with added pan-fried mushrooms), or even a stock cube or flavour packet if you really cbf.

Luckily, in the freezer, we rediscovered some frozen homemade chicken & miso mushroom stock that we decided would be an easy and tasty base. I won’t go into the detail now (of how this stock was made), but the short of it is, I’d made a regular chicken stock a few months ago, and just for the heck of it added some rich umami juice obtained from roasting huge miso-covered mushrooms. If you’re interested in the full recipe, please comment below!

From there, we got way too enthused — the resulting ramen was so light and satisfying, and although it wasn’t a thick, 24-hour tonkatsu broth, it was super flavourful for the amount of time we put into it. Enjoy!

IMG_20181202_085156_body.jpgRECIPE

SUPERCHARGED INSTANT RAMEN

Makes 2 servings. Cooking time 15-20 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 litre of chicken and miso mushroom stock (or good quality liquid chicken stock)
  • 2 bricks of instant ramen
  • 300g almost-bad mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly*
  • 2cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • Few pinches roasted ground Szechuan pepper (or white pepper)
  • 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil (like rice bran, vegetable or grapeseed)
  • Sesame oil (to serve)
  • 1/3 cup dried seaweed (miyeok or wakame)
  • 2 tbsp dried diced porcini mushrooms
  • 3 eggs

METHOD

  1. Put 3 eggs into a small pot and cover with cold water on medium heat. Once boiling turn heat down to medium-low and start a 5 minute timer for slightly set (not runny) soft boiled eggs. Once done run under cold water till eggs are completely cool to stop them cooking.**
  2. In seperate small bowls, rehydrate dried porcini mushrooms and seaweed with boiling water. Reserve the liquid from both to add more umami flavour to your stock in Step 4.
  3. Heat a medium fry pan on medium heat and add 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil. Throw in sliced mushrooms with salt and ground Szechuan pepper to taste. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes or till roasty and slightly golden. Take off the heat and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, bring your frozen stock to the boil – adding in the sliced ginger plus the reserved liquid from both the rehydrated seaweed and porcini mushrooms. Taste your stock – if it needs more flavour add soy sauce to taste, but keep in mind when soup’s too salty you get sick of a whole bowl. Break both bricks of ramen in half (they’re probably too wide for a small pot) and drop into the pot to cook ensuring they’re submerged in the stock. Stir to ensure even cooking. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes or till ramen has reached your desired doneness. ***
  5. Peel eggshells off the eggs and cut each into halves. To serve tong the noodles into 2 deep bowls and pour over the soup. On top of the noodles in each bowl place half the seaweed, mushrooms and 3 egg halves. Sprinkle with a dash of sesame oil to taste.

IMG_20181202_092116_header.jpg

COOKING NOTES

* If your mushrooms are slightly dried out and look a bit worse for wear we can work with that – new ones are totally fine too but I just had sad ones!

** To level up your eggs: make soy sauce eggs (shoyu tamago) the day before. This Momofuku recipe sounds great!

*** I took the ramen off when it was al dente, with a bit of bite. This is okay as they’ll sit in the stock for a few minutes while you prepare everything else, so they’ll cook further without going too soft.