Your guide to prepping and cooking mushrooms

OUR EXPERT: Jason Vito, head, chefs and operations of Onaka Restaurant & Wine Bar @ ARC

CLEANING FRESH MUSHROOMS

Wipe them with a dry towel instead of washing them. Otherwise, they will absorb the liquid and their flavours will be diluted or they will become soggy when you cook roast, grill or stir-fry them.

SHIITAKE

A meaty mushroom with a rich, earthy flavour when cooked. Also known as Chinese black mushroom or oriental black mushroom.

PREP: Cut off the tough stem from the cap and use them whole or slice thinly for stir-fries.

COOK: Best used whole or sliced in stir-fries as they are smooth and meaty. Use dried shiitakes in soups as they have a more intense flavour than fresh ones and would impart a stronger umami flavour.

Tip: To use dried shiitake mushrooms, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes before cooking them; add the liquid to flavour your stir-fry or soup.

OYSTER

Smooth, moist texture with a subtle oyster-like flavour when cooked. Also know as abalone mushroom.

PREP: Cut off the lower part of its stem to remove any remains of straw or wood that it is grown on. Cut off the stem from the cap and COOK: them whole, sliced or julienned.

COOK: Its flavour makes it a good substitute for seafood in soups like tom yam, in soupy noodles or a stir-fried kailan or braise them whole in oyster sauce. Or julienne and crumb them with flour, egg and bread crumbs, and deep-fry them like calamari.

ENOKI

It's crisp and imparts a light and mild flavour when cooked. Also know as golden mushroom or snow puff mushroom.

PREP: Cut and discard the lower portion of the roots and COOK: them whole.

COOK: Use them in steamboats, soups and stews. Cook them for no more than five minutes to keep them supple and tender - keeping them in any longer toughens them.

SHIMEJI

When cooked, they are slightly crunchy and exudes a nutty and buttery flavour. Also known as beech mushroom, they come in two colours - brown and white.

PREP: Cut the base of the cluster to separate the mushrooms.

COOK: Great for stir-fries with ingredients like thinly sliced pork and oyster mushrooms. Or use it to top silken tofu then drizzle over with light soya sauce. Or even use it as a topping for an Asian flavoured pizza with roast duck and plum sauce.

PORTOBELLO

A very meaty mushroom with an intense steak-like flavour when cooked. Also known as field mushroom or giant cremini.

PREP: Turn it upside-down, hold the cap firmly with one hand and gently pull at the stem with your other hand to remove it. Use the stems to flavour your soups.

COOK: Roast at 180 deg C for 15 minutes, or grill them whole at high heat for 3 to 5 minutes each side.

WHITE BUTTON

It's firm and meaty with a woodsy flavour when cooked. Also known as button mushroom.

PREP: Turn it over, and while holding the cap firmly with one hand, gently pull at the stem with your other hand to remove it. Discard the stem and slice the cap into thinly for pasta, or thickly for stews.

COOK: Use it to top cream-based pasta dishes like spaghetti carbonara, or in stews like coq au vin (chicken and red wine stew).

SWISS BROWN

It's like the white button mushroom, only firmer and has a stronger and earthier flavour. Also known as the crimini or brown mushroom.

PREP: Turn it over to the side, then cut the stem from the cap. Use the cap in your cooking and discard the tough stem.

COOK: Its earthy flavour makes it best for a mushroom soup, or to add accents to creamy soups. Boil it with aromatics like onion and garlic, add water or stock, then blend the mixture to make puree for soups.

PORCINI

It's smooth with an earthy and smoky flavour when cooked. Also known as the Polish mushroom or king bolete.

PREP: Holding the mushroom sideways, grip its cap with one hand and gently twist the stem to separate it from the cap. Slice both the stem and cap into thin slices for sauces and stews.

COOK: Use this in creamy mushroom sauces, brown sauce and wine sauce to add savoury notes to western dishes, or flavour meaty dishes like beef stews.

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