You Don’t Need Mushroom For This.

I love mushrooms and always have. The taste, the texture, the depth of flavour they can add to a dish. They are so simple and common, yet have such a richness when cooked well, whilst maintaining a delicate demeanor. And I’m not alone in thinking they’re great; ‘shrooms wouldn’t be a staple of breakfast plates and risottos the world over if I was alone in recognizing their delicious versatility.

And yet, for too long, I have only ever been acquainted with the button mushroom and portobellos. Sure, I have sampled an exotic mushroom or two when eating out, but I’ve never had the courage to actually purchase and cook with some of the mushroom varieties that may pass for alien-spawn. I’ve always limited myself to button mushrooms and the occasional portobello out of fear of the unknown.

But I decided recently that this is no way to live. I could be (and was) missing out on a whole world of mushroom delights that a lot of Asian cultures have been familiar with for ages. And so I took a leap into the unknown, walked into my local grocer and purchased that in which had been in the corner of my eye for years: Enoki mushrooms.

For the unfamiliar, Enoki mushrooms are those long thin white mushrooms with small caps, that come in a tightly packed bunch. They are commonly used in East Asian cuisine, such as Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese. You’ll most likely see them in soups and stir frys, but can be used in a huge variety of recipes. They have a considerably mild taste for a mushroom, and are particularly good at absorbing flavour. And Enoki make for some great texture when cooked; a similar texture to rice noodles.

They’re great for you as well (if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be here). Each tiny strand of Enoki is jam packed with B vitamins, thiamin, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, and selenium. They’re also amazing sources of antioxidants; and in case you need a reminder on why antioxidants are awesome, just head this way.

So have I convinced you to join me on this culinary adventure that is the world of Enoki? Here are some useful tips to know when on the hunt for these mushrooms:

  • Enoki are found in most supermarkets or Asian grocers. They’ll be found in a refrigerated section of the produce department.
  • Once you have them home, they’ll keep in the fridge for a week in their packaging, so don’t ponder on how to use them for too long.
  • When preparing them, remove any limp or discoloured strands. Cut the bottom inch off and rinse the strands briefly under some cold water.

And once you’ve cleaned them, here are some Asian inspired ways to use your Enoki:

Martha Stewart's Japanese Risotto
Martha Stewart’s Japanese Risotto
My New Roots' Enoki, Brocolli and Kimchi Spring Rolls
My New Roots’ Enoki, Brocolli and Kimchi Spring Rolls
Yummy Beet's Vegan Pho
Yummy Beet’s Vegan Pho
Martha Rose Schulman's Noodle Bowl With Soba, Enoki Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas and Tofu
Martha Rose Schulman’s Noodle Bowl With Soba, Enoki Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas and Tofu
Avocado Pesto's Tofu, Mushroom and Bok Choy Stir Fry
Avocado Pesto’s Tofu, Mushroom and Bok Choy Stir Fry
Veggie Num Num's Enoki Mushroom Vegan Wonton Soup w/ Grilled Baby Bok Choy
Veggie Num Num’s Enoki Mushroom Vegan Wonton Soup w/ Grilled Baby Bok Choy

Hopefully that is more than enough Enoki recipes to get you feeling confident with the next big thing in mushrooms.

So let’s all join hands and let go of our mushroom-fears together. No longer will we be restricted with the humble button mushroom; we have a whole new fungi awaiting us. Let’s get discovering.

Is this old news to you? Have you been using Enoki since before it was cool? Tell us in the comments!

Cover Image via Markéta

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