Types of Dried Asian Mushrooms
I just love all Mushrooms. Even dry ones :)
Ever sampling and Learning, I'm at a local (Montreal) Asian grocer and looking at an entire WALL of dried mushrooms! at the base of it, there are buckets of bulk. Many are Shiitake, but not all, and Most of the packages have no helpfull english or french labeling. And a huge variation in price.. regardless of size... from 3 bucks for a big bag, to $30 for a pretty little box with 8 caps. When asking in-store, they just point to the most expensive and say "betta.." very helpfull. Go to the chineese herb store and even <more> varieties... Again, the really expensive ones are betta...
Ended up taking an almost random sample, one each of Agaricus Blazei, Money mushroom, straw vs white cloud...:) Chopped & destemed the caps. then rehydrated and sautéed, along with a few fresh white buttons, into a simple chowmein with boc-choy & cabbage. The mushrooms have a deep musky complex flavor, no meat needed, but oh so random! :)
What is the difference between the identically sized caps, and how to judge quality? Your fav's?
The dried mushrooms in many Asian stores can be hard to identify as there are so many "local" names for the same mushroom. For instance the Agaricus Blazei you mention can also be called "Almond Mushroom", "God's Mushroom", "sun Mushroom" etc.
Add to this that some of the mushrooms may be imported from other countries (again the Agaricus, which is probably a NE US or Brazilian mushroom).
Here are a few mushrooms used in Korean cooking with their Korean names
Black Mushroom/Tree Ear 버섯/목이 버섯 Mogi beoseot
Coral Mushroom 싸리버섯 Ssaribeoseot
Pine Mushroom 송이 Songi beoseot
Shiitake mushrooms 표고버섯 Pyogo beoseot
Stone ear mushroom (Rock Tripe) 석이 버섯 Seogi (石耳 shi'er - Chinese) (岩茸 Iwatake - Japanese) - This one is a lichen