Three Mushrooms in Dashi Sauce

Mid autumn festival has passed a week ago. And this year, I’ve fastidiously applied myself to the spirit of the season by consuming colossal quantities of double yolk mooncakes. Fourteen, to be exact. I must comment that the title of this blog is misleading. I have yet to get ‘fat’, although I certainly am having a helluva good time trying to. All the same, a whole month of eating lotus paste has had its effect on me. I need to detox. I need to imbibe my body with something less nauseatingly rich.

I glimpsed this recipe when I was visiting a friend’s cosy and colourful unit in Richmond a fortnight ago. It was a vegetarian cookbook. It looked good. Mushrooms in Dashi Sauce. I cooked it on the same evening and found it very satisfying.

Three Mushrooms in Dashi Sauce (1st attempt 2 weeks ago)

I love asian mushrooms. They’re so alien looking, so exotic, so eccentric in shape. Enoki mushrooms look like a forest of tall white slender trees. If you peer between the tall white trunks, you could almost spot elves living on the forest floor. Oyster mushrooms look like little amphitheatre roofs where little forest folk could hold performances within. We could be eating our way towards a fantastical Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Going vegetarian once in awhile is great, and I felt like it tonight. I don’t visit Little Saigon market in Footscray that often, so I capitalised on yesterdays visit and bought all the asian mushrooms I could get my hands on. I also bought Kang Kong (water convulvulus) and had to use them tonight because they started getting wilty within a day

So tonight’s replay of the mushroom dish had a few additions: baby corn, tofu, chives, kang kong, and red chillies. The tofu and chives were leftovers from yesterday’s rice paper roll affair. I also used powdered dashi mix instead of authentically brewed real dashi. It was basically a throw-together (fridge clearing) stir-fry from dusty memory that mum would’ve shook her head at.

The original concept behind this dish was a very simple stir-fry starting with spring onions, then adding the mushrooms and then adding a cup of dashi stock and soya sauce to taste. The mushrooms would make the sauce thicken up naturally, and just before you dish it out, you add a squeeze of ginger juice.

With tonight’s version, I tossed in sliced ginger first, then threw in the baby corn and tofu, then the dashi sauce, and then the rest of the ingredients in order of wilty-ness. Sprinkled soya sauce and a dash of sake to taste. I must say when I followed the recipe 2 weeks ago, it looked nicer, it probably tasted better too because I used proper dashi and didn’t have so many ingredients confusing things.

I also went creative with the rice. I like to mess around with my Zojirushi rice cooker’s mind. As i added 50% white rice, 50% brown rice and a smattering of black rice, I could almost hear my rice cooker silently thinking “WTF…”. Like a mad scientist, I then added peanuts and goji berries, half a cup of dashi, a bit of mirin and soy sauce. I used 50% more water because brown rice soaks up more water.

Mr. Zojirushi sputtered for 20 mins and then unhappily announced that my odious experiment was complete. I opened the lid and, to my delight, found that the rice had turned purple. The tiny population of black rice has spread its true colour like this season’s new fashion. Could purple be the new black? There was a hint of Pulot Hitam (Malaysian black glutinous rice dessert) fragrance in the pot. The rice tasted subtly different and the colour through it made everything look appetising. Maybe coloured rice gives the false impression that you’re being all zen and healthy because it looks unpolished. I’m sure the flavours could have been balanced better, but this could be the start of me cooking fun rice instead of the usual white steamed rice.