What if someone told you that there is a ridiculously simple way to infuse umami into a homemade meal, from the pillowy egg scramble in the morning to the chocolate-covered splurge in the evening, we’ll take a look at how you can use shiitake mushroom powder to get that umami flavor you’re craving.
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You may be surprised to hear the secret is in a single ingredient, one as easy to access as any of the spices you already have in your pantry, and whose flavors are equally diverse and broad-ranging: From mild and subtle to pungent, that ingredient is a powdered shiitake mushroom. Mushrooms are high in umami, which is a Japanese word describing that fifth flavor. It is also described as being meaty and savoury. There are many foods which contain umami, such as meat, mushrooms, tomatoes, some cheeses, seafood, and shellfish.
Red wine is high in umami, and so is kombu, a kind of seaweed. Fermented foods are high in umami, such as fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and anchovies. Parmesan cheese is another food that has rich umami. That is why I always save a parmesan rind to use in soups and stews. Adding some of these foods into dishes can make a big difference to your meals.
Shiitake mushrooms contain the highest levels of glutimates among all mushrooms, and are particularly concentrated in their dried form. I use Shiitake powder on my meats just before I cook them. Sprinkle it like you would a salt. It makes for a nice crust while searing the steak. It is also wonderful in all kinds of soups and stews.
Read on to learn how to easily boost the umami, and how to make Shiitake powder.
Mushroom Powder Has a ton of Umami
Some cooking books contain sections dedicated to drying fresh shiitake mushrooms and grinding them to a powder.
Dehydrating brings out the deeper umami flavors.
And while you can find a few varieties of cultured mushrooms all year long at the grocery store and online, there are plenty more fun varieties that come around just seasonally, and for short periods at that. Drying varieties that have shorter season windows is an excellent way to preserve these flavor bombs. And the new dishes you can conjure are endless once you have a selection of these at your fingertips. Among the easiest ways to begin experimenting with the mushroom flavor profiles is by drying them to powder. Some love the simplicity of adding powdered mushrooms to dishes, as they enhance flavor in a concentrated manner, even more than the fresh varieties in many recipes.
I am layered on another flavor profile, while not adding a different texture component.
Homemade Mushroom Powder Is Best and Easy to Make
You could, of course, purchase dried shiitake mushroom powders and mixes from specialty grocers, health food stores, and direct from certain farmers and foragers at green markets, but it might not be that simple to create your own. It is also a great way to use dried shiitake mushrooms that may already be sitting in your pantry. Maybe you have a half-package of dried porcini in the back of your cupboard leftover from a pasta recipe, or some extra shiitake mushrooms that did not quite make the cut for miso soup. Most cooking books suggest keeping dried mushrooms in mason jars, and pulverizing once youave amassed several handfuls. You can make a powder of just one type of variety, although creating some custom blends is recommended.
You can blend oyster mushrooms, shiitake, and lions mane into a versatile daily powder, while she customizes others for more specific uses, such as an ultra-healthy, adaptogenic powder (with reishi, codyceps, and lions mane) and a blend of maple-forward cappers and earthy porcinis that works particularly well in chocolate-based desserts.
How to Make Shiitake Mushroom Powder
Place dried shiitake mushrooms into your spice mill, pulse, or grind to a powder. Sift the powder through a mesh strainer, discarding any larger pieces, and pulse or grind again until powder is uniformly fine. Transfer powder into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, seal it up, and label it, then store it in the fridge or freezer. The powder should keep for an undetermined amount of time, but you are encouraged to put it to use right away.
If you’re a visual learner you can reference this video:
How to Use Shiitake Mushroom Powder in Your Cooking
Add a couple of teaspoons to your mixture next time you are making granola, or stir it into your vegetables right before you roast them. Use powders to spice up broths, soups, stews, and curries. Make dry rubs for meat, poultry, or fish. Mix a compound butter with powdered mushrooms, coarse salt, and chopped herbs. Whisk one or two teaspoons into dry ingredients for pies or spiced cookies.
One of my favorite ways to use powder is making mushroom salt, which can boost umami in almost every flavorful food. Fittingly, he uses it to salted the rims of cocktail glasses, which he uses to create his specialty mushrooms cocktails, including the margarita, negroni, and French 75. It is yet another way of celebrating the world of flavors that can be found within just a few handfuls of mushrooms.