Pickled Shiitake Mushrooms

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Adventures In Pickling: Shiitake Mushrooms from Momofuku

I was flipping through the Momofuku book last week trying to find an interesting new recipe. While many of the recipes in the book require either a lot of time or a lot of ingredients, I think I found the easiest one: pickled shiitake mushrooms. I happened to go to Ming's the next day, so I picked up a big bag of dried shiitakes. I have to say, the dried shiitakes I got a Ming's were some of the best I've ever bought: really large caps, not just a bunch of mushroom pieces. 

The Recipe
Dried shiitakes... ready to be pickled.
First, I rehydrated about a 4 cups of mushrooms. I think there might have been a typo in the book, as it called for "4 cups about 1/3 oz of dried mushrooms." Clearly, 4 cups of dried shiitakes weighed a lot more than 1/3 oz. I covered the mushrooms in hot tap water for 15 minutes. After the steeping was done, I used kitchen shears to cut the stems off of all of the mushrooms (you can save the stems for making vegetable stock). 

I sliced the mushroom caps into 1/8 inch strips and placed them in a 4-quart pot. Next time I think I'll keep the mushroom caps whole, I think they'll be easier to eat and probably look a little nicer too. 
Steeped and sliced
Once the mushrooms were in the pot, I added a few large pieces of fresh ginger, 1 cup of sherry vinegar, 1 cup of light soy sauce (I'm sure low-sodium soy sauce would work here), 2 cups of the steeping liquid (strained to remove any bits of dirt) and 1 cup of sugar. I brought this mixture up to a boil, then let it barely simmer for about 15 minutes. 

After the mixture cooled, I packed the mushrooms into a quart-sized mason jar and then added enough liquid to cover. The pickled shiitakes were ready to eat immediately. 

These pickles had a really intense flavor. The equal parts sugar and light soy sauce resulted in a really balanced sweet and salty flavor. The sherry vinegar added a significant bite, and the acidity level really made eating these very easy. Because the mushrooms absorb so much liquid, when you bite down on them, they burst with briny goodness. 

I'll definitely be snacking on these pickles over the next few weeks.

The Bottom Line
Difficulty: 3/10, just a bit of trimming and slicing mushrooms and peeling ginger (use a spoon!). 
Best left to professionals? If you can get a good deal on shiitakes, these there's no reason not to try this. 
Cost: The shiitakes were about $5, the other ingredients probably totally around $5-$7. 
Special equipment? None.  

Comments (6)

I'll vouch for tastiness. They were particularly good on an open-face roast beef melt... I may have also sneaked a few as they were cooling...

This is so interesting. I honestly don't know if it would be my thing, but I'm definitely intrigued. What about the ginger? Could you taste it in the end product?

This is a great post! I've still yet to try my hand in pickling, but it's definitely on my to-do list. Your post assures me that it's really pretty easy to do!

As a lover of all things pickled, I think I would definitely love these! Great post!

I'm always impressed when you tackle something from the momofuku cookbook. I have the same one and I'm always intimidated!

I now made this the second time, but this time I made changes that made it so much better for our taste. I felt it was to sweet for it to be Asian and the vinegar taste just did not go as well.
First time I made it exactly the way it was described here and it was to sweet for our taste. My second time around I adjusted the sugar to 1/2 cup, 1/2 cup Sherry vinegar and 1/2 rice vinegar. I cut the large mushrooms in half and if small enough I left it whole. I also per boiled the liquid for 10 minutes so it reduced a little and then put in the mushrooms and cooked it for an additional 15 minutes. I let it sit in the pot until it was cool enough to handle and put it all in a airtight jar. I again let this sit on the counter until it cooled completely and then transferred it to the fridge. This was perfect according to my Japanese husband and mother in law. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us to begin with.

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