I’m always excited to come across new local purveyor and artisans, those brave souls who forge steadfastly ahead on paths seldom taken. Farmers who faithfully bring their organic vegetables to city markets so lazy-bones like me can enjoy them. Those who valiantly grow new and interesting things and do their best to educate the rest of us about them. People making local cheeses and jams using antibiotic-free dairy and native fruits in season. And let's not forget the altruistic and enthusiastic entrepreneurs who help far-flung farmers and other such producers, who would otherwise have no means to transport their produce, bring their goods to us.
I’m also excited when I see the wonderfully positive response these people get. The eager waiting for locally grown heirloom tomatoes. The vibrant chats about how to use this vegetable or that piece of pasture-raised pork. The energetic, and deliriously blissful, hunt for the best local hot chocolate. I say, let us feed off each other’s excitement ad infinitum! Until the markets flood with all this local and purposely made gorgeousness (and happy sellers and buyers)!
These mushrooms are from a charming group of fellows who jauntily call themselves the Ministry of Mushrooms. I love mushrooms and though, admittedly, I do pine after mushrooms that are anything but local (hello, chaterelles), my heart likewise beats for our awesome Asian varieties. Especially when there are dedicated people like these behind them.
Asian Mushroom Stir-fry
- Canola oil
- 150-200 grams oyster mushrooms
- 4 leeks (I use the smaller local ones…if you use the fat Western ones, use less), white and light green parts, sliced on the diagonal
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small red onion, sliced in wedges
- Small piece of ginger, about 5 grams or so, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
- Mix the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Heat a couple of swirls of oil in a skillet or wok. When the oil is hot add the garlic, onions, and ginger. Sautee until the onion is soft and the smell of the aromatics waft up and make your mouth water.
- Add the mushrooms and toss, cooking for a couple of minutes, until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the leeks and cook some more, stirring a few times.
- Once the mushrooms are soft, add the sauce and sesame seeds and quickly toss until all the mushrooms are coated. Cook for a bit more until the mushrooms are completely cooked and have absorbed the sauce.
- Serve warm.
This is an easy, simple way to prepare Asian mushrooms and, in truth, any Asian-type vegetable. It's great piled on a steaming mound of brown rice or tossed through some noodles (egg noodles, rice noodles, or even soba). It will also make a great side dish for grilled meats or fish. Feel free to use a mix of different types of mushrooms here -- I'm sure some shitake mushrooms would not go unwelcome in this dish!
I think the spirit of all artisan provedores is captured quite nicely in the mission of the people at the Ministry: “We aim to be a driving force in the development of the mushroom industry in the Philippines and beyond. We hope to be a source of happiness to all who share our love for mushrooms.” Development of the industry and happiness for all who share the love. Oh yes please! :)
*One of my goals for 2012 is to use more local ingredients on this blog, so, if all goes as planned, you should be seeing more of this here :)