Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Monkey Head Mushrooms

Saturday, in Chinatown, we bought a bag of dried monkey head mushrooms. They were unlike any mushrooms I've seen before.
They were more or less round and furry.

I've since read up on them a little bit. They are referred to as monkey head mushrooms in China, but in the U.S. are also known as lion's mane mushrooms, hedgehog mushrooms, pom pom mushrooms (which seems particularly appropriate, given their shape and furriness) and bearded tooth fungus.

We placed them in water to rehydrate.

They got quite large and furry. As he cooked them, Andrew remarked that they soaked up liquid like a sponge.

He fried them in some butter and oil, took a bite and promptly spit it out. I followed him and pretty much followed his example. They had a bitter taste that was not pleasing at all. I read that they have medicinal value in China and that's what they tasted like: medicine. We were trying a lot of different things on Saturday and did not focus on trying to find the best ways to cook these and were not up to giving it much of a second chance. I did find one recipe on the internet where they were included in a soup with three other types of mushroom. That may be the best way to eat them - in a soup. I may be up to trying them again some day, but it will need to be part of a recipe designed for it.

16 comments:

  1. Bearded tooth fungus? Now THAT sounds tasty. (Not!)

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  2. I'm with Mom--bearded tooth fungus? Ugh. LOL

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  3. I've been looking info in cooking monkey head mushroom and from what I gather about the dried ones (one can also get them fresh). they have to be soaked in water for at least 2 hours. Then the water squeezed out and changed for a fresh lot of water and the mushrooms soaked again for an hour. Only after that, add seasonings like soya sauce and cook, either in soup or fried.
    I just got myself some dried monkey head mushrooms and they're soaking right now in a bowl under a dripping tap. I'm going to try out a few ways of cooking them. I've had them in a vegetarian restaurant as a chicken substitute and they had no trace of bitterness. Texture like chicken/pork.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks. Your suggestion sounds worth a try.

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    2. my chinese friends soak them in eggs mixted with soya sauce and ginger...

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    3. they soak them over night but only after having rinsed them and squeeze them many time with warm water until water coming out of them is clear ...only then the bitterness is also gone :)
      I'm Sylvie from Quebec

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  4. hi, i have dried monkey head ( www.bodhiherbs.ru), but beed help , how better doing it fungus, regards, Yury( gojiterra@yandex.ru)

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  5. Slice them up before soaking (some will break), and use warm salt water. Then you need to squeeze them between some paper towels to get all the liquid out and give them a chance to brown when sauteing. If you don't slice them first, at least slice them after soaking - leaving them whole won't give them a chance to soak up any flavor at all. I sauteed them with fresh garlic, butter, salt and pepper and they were delicious. I also threw a bunch of these after sauteing into a batch of beef with broccoli I had made and they really soaked up all of that flavor too, and almost tasted like the meat.

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  6. I soaked them and sauteed them with butter and garlic and they were delicious. The only thing is that they had too much water still in them. Next time I will get more water out of them. I think they were great! Not sure where your medicinal taste came from, not a trace of that in mine.

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  7. OH---and these are NOT hedgehog mushrooms. Those are a different mushroom entirely. Just so that is clear. These are Lion's Mane, true, they are Monkey Head, yes. Latin name Hericium erinaceus. But Hedgehogs they are not.

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  8. I bought those that have been processed. My guess is they've been seasoned and then deep fried. I usually blanched them in hot water before cooking them, stir fried with vegetables or in curries (to replace meat). And I must say they are very tasty. However I've been told that the dried ones taste horrible.

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  9. Can anyone tell me how to better the texture n bite of the dried MH mushrooms after soaking and getting rid of the bitter taste...

    I am a vegan so using egg is out...

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  10. The processed type has a meaty bite but how can we achieved it ? Our soaked version is very soft n does not have a meaty bite ...
    Anyone can help ? Thanks!

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  11. You have to let it soak for 3 hours. Then boil it in water. Then soak it in cold water. Squeeze out all the water. Then use it. That way, you will get rid of the bitterness.

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  12. Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up you also go here: Vinanza Grape

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