Japan Eats

Recipe: Grilled mushroom wafu salad

Shiitake, maitake, shimeji. The perfect ingredients for an autumn-inspired salad

In Japan, mushrooms are considered the flavor of autumn. This easy to prepare salad is seasoned with salt and citrus to emphasize their complex flavor.

Here I used three types of mushrooms common in Japan – shiitake, maitake and shimeji. If you are struggling in your search for maitake or shimeji, experiment with other varieties. Portobello mushrooms, for example, aren’t common in Japan, but should work equally well in this recipe.

Grilled mushrooms wafu salad

Grilled mushrooms wafu salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

100 g of shiitake mushrooms
100 g of maitake mushrooms
100 g of shimeji mushrooms
1 sheet of deep fried tofu pouch
1-2 of citrus juice (kabosu or sudachi are ideal, but you can use limes, lemons, etc.)
1 pinch of salt

Method

Clean the mushrooms with a brush. Next, cut away the stems of the shiitake mushrooms.

Cut away the roots of maitake and the shimeji. Divide them into a little bunches for grilling.

Next, grill the deep fried tofu pouch in a toaster or on a grill until it becomes brown and crispy on the outside, then slice into strips 4 – 5 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter wide.

Now grill the mushrooms for 3 – 4 minutes on a medium to high heat. Once cooked, slice the shiitake into bite-sized pieces and roughly mix the mushrooms with the deep fried tofu pouches.

Plate the mushrooms and season with a pinch of salt. Serve with a slice or two of a citrus fruit such as kabosu.

Recipe: Sudachi ponzu (citrus and soy sauce)

Make your own batch of this citrus and soy sauce.

Ponzu is a type of sauce made from soy and citrus fruit. In Japan, fruit such as kabosusudachi or yuzu are used to make ponzu. I chose sudachi because it’s currently in season. A little later in the year, I would have chosen yuzu.

Sudachi ponzu (citrus and soy sauce)

Sudachi ponzu (citrus and soy sauce).

You don’t have to use a Japanese citrus fruit when making ponzu. It can also be made with citrus fruit more readily available in western countries: lemons, limes, and so on.

The basic proportions are 5 parts fresh juice: 5 parts soy sauce: 2 parts mirinHanakatsuo is roughly flaked dried bonito, and is mainly used for creating dashi, the stock on which so much Japanese cuisine is built.

I recommend you use a glass jar or bottle to store ponzu, as this minimizes the chances of oxidization. You can try it after a week but I suggest you have it after it has been stored for a month. Make it now, and it will be perfect to have as a dipping sauce for nabe (hotpot) at the end of the year.

Ingredients

  • 500 ml soy sauce
  • 500 ml sudachi juice
  • 200 ml mirin
  • 5 – 10 g hanakatsuo
  • 10 – 15 cm of konbu (kelp)

Method

Squeeze the juice from 1.5 kg of sudachi fruit.

Mix all of the the ingredients in a large bowl (one which can hold 1.5 – 2 liters). Let the mixture stand for 24 hours and then remove the hanakatsuo and konbu. Store in a large jar or PET bottle and keep it in the fridge.