Although this may appear like a lot of ingredients, this recipe utilizes two components that are then combined for the end product. The second set of ingredients is used to flavor the choi and uses the stems that would usually be discarded. When I first did this recipe, I was tossing the stems into a small teapot that conveniently “was there” to keep them out of the way – thus the genesis of this idea.
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms
1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger, grated finely and squeezed for juice
1 large clove of garlic, peeled and cracked
1/4 cup sake
1/8 cup mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
1 tablespoon “white” or light soy sauce
2 tablespoon of neutral flavored oil (grapeseed or canola)
4-5 oyster mushrooms from the above, chopped fine
1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger, crushed
1 small garlic clove, peeled and de-germed
4 drops “white” or light soy sauce
1 bunch of baby bok choy, separated into stalks/branches and sliced lengthwise into slivers ¼ inch wide
1 tablespoon neutral flavored oil
Slice the mushrooms on the bias so you have wide, fairly thin, slices, or simply shred them with your fingers.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 10-inch pan, preferably non-stick, and when hot, add the garlic clove. Cook until the oil is fragrant and the garlic just starting to color. Remove the garlic from the pan to prevent burning.
Add the mushrooms. Immediately toss to coat the mushrooms with the oil.Cook the mushrooms until they are all softened a bit. Drizzle in the sake, mirin, and soy sauce. Toss well. Add the ginger juice. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow the mushrooms to gently cook. Check periodically to avoid burning.
While the mushrooms cook, bring 2 cups of water to a boil for the mushroom “tea.” Put the mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce into a teapot or pan, and when the water boils, pour it onto the stems and other ingredients. Let steep until needed.
Check the mushrooms. If they are not quite tender but the liquid is gone, just add a splash of water and stir them around. Repeat until tender. If they are done but it seems wet in the pan, remove the lid and cook to reduce the liquid. When the mushrooms are cooked, remove them to a serving bowl.
Turn up the heat under the pan to high. Add the last tablespoon of oil. When hot, add the slivers of bok choy and stir to coat. As soon as they are coloring, strain the mushroom stem “tea” into the pot and stir the choy around. Cook until the liquid is almost entirely gone.
Return the mushrooms to the pan and toss to combine. Cook just long enough to heat the mushrooms, then serve.
Chef’s Tips and Notes
This recipe combines well with kasha or other whole grains such as wheat berries. Leftovers make a good omelette filling or are great for gussying up a bowl of ramen.
YIELD: 4 servings
SOURCE: Chef Andrew E Cohen