Yesterday it was Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Although we often eat out when we celebrate, we usually stay home and cook on Thanksgiving. This year, as always, my sister cooked, for about 30 people. She cooked a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. Although this is not a potluck party, I feel that I should contribute something. After all, everyone likes this special dish…which I am always proud of…mushrooms! This dish has to be prepared the night before. Let me share with you my recipe, which is different from those that you have read before.
1. One bag of dried mushrooms. They usually come in the size of one lb. per bag. This bag of mushrooms was a gift from my sister who bought it at one of the best stores in San Francisco Chinatown.. As I like this type of mushrooms, which are thick, the price is more expensive than the regular ones.
2. Garlic: crushed garlic, 2 tablespoons. I bought the ready-made crushed garlic, the Lee Kam Kee brand.
3. Oyster sauce. About 3 tablespoons, or according to your own taste. I also used Lee kam Kee brand.
4. Sugar cubes: One big lump. You can buy this in Chinese grocery store.
5. Organic chicken broth: I bought this in Costco recently, and found it very good. It is not salty like other canned chicken broth. It does not contain MSG as in some Chinese chicken broth powder. Use enough broth to cover the mushrooms, about 1 1/2 of a box like this one shown in the picture below. If you are a vegetarian and want to use water instead of chicken broth, it is fine too. The best is of course to boil some chicken soup with chicken, but it is too much work. Nowadays, I am happy to use either water or ready-made chicken broth.
6. A secret ingredient in this recipe is “starch”. Yes, simply starch. In my mother’s time, many Chinese cooks will add a piece of fatty pork into the mushrooms mix in order to make them more shiny. I was taught by a real Chef in a famous Chinese Restaurant in Hong Kong, to use “starch” instead. This will give the mushrooms a shiny surface, as well as a “cool” taste. You can see from the picture above the slideshow, that the mushrooms are very shiny. I did not do any photo shop work to the picture.
7. Organic coconut oil: Only a tablespoon is enough. I just found a very economical sized brand in Costco, at a good price. Try it.
8. Optional: If you like, add dried scallop to make it more tasty. You may also like to add lettuce to the floor of the plate before you place the mushrooms on the top. I seldom add scallop because the taste is already perfect. Why waste the scallop which is expensive? I did add some romaine lettuce so that the plate looked nicer and more vegetables would be available for the party.
Preparation and Cooking Directions:
1.Soak all the mushrooms in a big pot of cold water for at least an hour.
2. Cut the stems from each mushroom. Use only the body of the mushrooms for this dish, but don’t throw the stamps away. Freeze them for future use. These stamps can be used in cooking mushroom soup.
3. Drain the mushrooms and add starch to the moist mushrooms. Mix them thoroughly and let them sit for at least one hour.
4. Heat up a wok or a big pan.
5. Add oil.
6. Add garlic and stir till the garlic becomes golden in color.
7. Add the mushrooms, and stir.
8. Add the chicken broth, enough to cover the mushrooms.
9. Continue to boil the mixture initially in high heat, and then lower to medium heat after it has boiled.
10. Add oyster sauce and the lump of sugar.
11. Cook in the wok for at least half an hour, occasionally adding either more chicken broth or water in order not to let the mixture dry up. Stir occasionally.
12 Turn off the heat, and transfer the mushroom mixture into the container of a thermal cooker like the one shown in the gallery above.
13. Heat up the container of the thermal cooker till the mixture boiled again.
14. Remove the stainless steel container from the heat and place it in the thermal cooker. Leave it there overnight.
15. The next day, lift the lid of the thermal cooker. Get the container out. Taste the mushrooms. Yum! Heat it up to boil again. Serve in a big dish or bowl.
The reason why I used the thermal cooker is to save energy and my time so that I don’t have to watch the pot while it is cooking. I want to make sure that the mushrooms will be softened. If you don’t have a thermal cooker and don’t want to buy one, just leave the mixture be cooked continuously in a wok or a big pot. But make sure that you will stir the mixture from time to time, so that they will not stick. Also, you need to continuously add water or chicken broth to the mixture. The use of the thermal cooker will give you peace of mind. You can go to sleep instead of having to watch the pot.
What is the outcome of this Thanksgiving Mushroom dish that I prepared? Guess what? Although there were many other dishes tonight, the mushroom dish was high in demand! Everyone loved it, and none was left! As I said, this is a dish that I am very proud of. I only cook this dish during special occasions, like Chinese New Year. I was asked by my sister to add this mushroom dish to her Thanksgiving dinner. This is my honor, my friends. One of my childhood friends came. She can prove that this is a delicious dish. You want to try? Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions and also the outcome of your experiment.