Friday, February 22, 2008

Stuffed mushrooms

I was supposed to steam "these little precious" but I do not have a steamer rack. Or I do - one (maybe even two) but it's in one of the many boxes of moving stuff. THE steamer rack which I had with me back in California - I do not know which box it is in now as I have 3 boxes labeled
~ KITCHEN ~. No ransacking + I did not want to waste money buying one since I know I already have IT. Blah blah blah...blah blah blah...pardon this homecook venting her frustrations...:O

Now, I could only improvise with a quick-hot-frying + slowing-simmering. Gladly, it works so well for this recipe! :D ...and tada...sharing mushroom magic at Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Lia this week.


Tips on mushrooms: I used fresh shitake mushrooms for this recipe. Dried shitake mushrooms would not work so well since the dried version usually have a strong pungent smell (even after soaking). When shopping for fresh shitake mushrooms, I make sure there are minimal blemishes on the mushroom caps. If you buy them loose, one way to store them (if you are not using them on the same day) when you reach home is to put them in tall brown paper bags with a few small holes intentionally created on the paper bags. The mushrooms needs to breathe. Do not keep for too long (maximum a week for me) as the inherent moisture in the mushroom tend to evaporate and completely dry out the freshness in the mushrooms. That's why mushrooms grown in a mushroom farm need to be grown in the dark, and maintained at a cool temperature with suitable humidity. Two WHB weeks ago, I used mushrooms too, in Braised Tofu/Beancured with Spinach and Mushrooms but I was featuring spinach then. :)



Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients:
- Fresh shitake mushrooms (Note: get medium or large size mushroom to allow room for stuffing), wipe clean with damp paper/kitchen towel. Remove stem, keep the caps
-1 lb or slightly less of minced pork
- 1tsp grated ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced finely
- 1 stalks scallions/spring onions, chop into small bits
- 2tsp oyster sauce + 2-3tbsp water (pre-mixed)
- some sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Stuffing Seasoning:
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2tbsp corn flour or 1/4 of beaten egg
- 1tsp grated ginger + its juice
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp cooking wine
- 1-2 stalks scallions/spring onions, chop into small pieces
-salt and pepper, to taste
(Note: The seasoning used is almost similar to the one I used in Stewed Lions Head-狮子头)

Directions:
1. Mix pork with seasoning ingredients, make into meat balls (~3cm diameter for each). You can also use a tablespoon (Note: best you have a Chinese porcelain soup spoon) to make the stuffing
2. Place/stuff the meat mixture onto the mushrooms caps, and coat the surface of the stuffing on mushroom with some cornflour (Note: this will keep the stuffing intact on the mushroom, and give a "protective" coating on the stuffing when frying. Also, the meat mixture will not "disintegrate" while frying)
3. Add oil to pan, and at medium heat - with the stuffing-meat mixture facing down, add the mushooms(remember - stuffing face down!) into the oil (Note: the stuffed mushroom should be just partially submerged in the hot oil. This is not pure deep-frying) and fry for ~2mins. *The meat is still not cooked
4. Set side the partially fried stuffed mushrooms

















5. Discard frying oil, just keep one tbsp remaining for further cooking and simmering later
6. To the oil, add some garlic, green onion and ginger and fry till fragrant
7. Add oyster sauce + water to make the gravy/sauce. Add a little brown sugar, salt and white pepper, add in the stuffed mushrooms (Note: slowly and stuffing face down), and allow the stuffed mushrooms to simmer and cook. After ~5 mins, flip them to the other side. Make sure the mushrooms are submerged in the simmering gravy/broth
8. Allow the gravy/broth to reduce and after about 8-10 mins, the stuffed mushrooms should be cooked through
9. You can serve them with steamed rice; and especially when done this way (fry+slow simmering), you can even serve them as a warm appetizer or a light entree main course

Alternatively, you can absolutely steam these "precious" after steps (1)-(2), without going through the hassle of (3)-(8).

However, it's a different texture and taste you are going to get. Whichever way you choose, these savory stuffed mushrooms would be such a delight on the dining table when it's so flavorful and juicy.



A protein-packed and delicious entree main course! So juicy, succulent, and yummy...

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