The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 12 May 2006

Pork with Shiitake Mushrooms

This is my first time cooking shiitake mushrooms. I've been curious to try shiitake mushies for awhile now, and my dad gave me a packet of dried mushrooms he brought in from Malaysia which gave me a reason to try them. My parents use dried mushrooms in their cooking, and I love the flavour that these mushrooms impart in the dishes. Like with any other dried stuff (eg dried apricots, sultanas), the drying process draws out and concentrates the flavour of the mushrooms, so you don't need to use much to get the flavour. You need to soak the mushrooms to reconstitute them, and don't throw away the soaking water! The water that the mushrooms have soaked in is called shiitake dashi, which is probably the easiest stock I've ever made!! This is a very simple recipe which is probably not worth a blog entry, but this is the first time I've used shiitake so don't mind me!

A note - in most of my recipes I don't measure out the ingredients - I go by feel.. so the measurements given are only approximate. And in case you don't know, the cornflour and vinegar used in the marinade for the pork somehow works to keep the meat tender. It works for beef in stirfries too.

500g pork fillet, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 tabspn soy sauce
1 tabspn cornflour
1 tabspn mirin (sweet sake)
A dash of rice vinegar
some pepper
50g dried shiitake mushrooms (approximately 10)
some oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced/chopped
1 tspn ginger, chopped/grated
1 tabspn oyster sauce
1 tspn sugar

Marinade the pork with the soy sauce, cornflour, mirin, rice vinegar and some pepper for a few hours, overnight if possible. Soak the mushrooms overnight in 1-2 cups water, or soak the mushrooms in 1-2 cups hot water for 1 hour. Gently squeeze the mushrooms, save the stock and slice the mushrooms.
Stirfry the chopped onion with oil on high heat until soft. Add the ginger and garlic and stirfry for another minute. Add the mushrooms and the pork and stirfry for a couple of minutes until the meat is browned then add the mushroom stock to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar, soy sauce/salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice and veges.

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