Monday, 27 May 2013

Wagamama Week: Ginger Chilli Mushrooms

Years ago, I bought my friend a copy of The Wagamama Cookbook and posted it to him for his birthday. Unbeknownst to me, he had also posted me a copy, so they arrived at almost the same time :) I've occasionally used recipes from it, but early in my cooking career, I didn't have many of the exotic-seeming Japanese ingredients, so stuck to the simplest recipes. Opening my closet now, I find I have almost everything I need, so thought I'd get stuck in by trying the first seven vegetarian recipes in the book, one by one. Otherwise, I'd never have been able to pick - they all look so yummy!

I went through each one and wrote down what I needed - the only new storecupboard ingredient was konbu for making dashi, as the store I go to doesn't have dashi no moto, even though that's what Wagamama use ;) Writing down exactly what I needed made shopping strange - I don't think I've ever gone to the store looking to buy '4 carrots' instead of just 'carrots'. And it had the unfortunate side-effect of making me completely forget about lunch ingredients. On the plus side, I know I spent almost exactly $100, and in theory I will be out of food in exactly one week's time.

So to kick off the week, the brave SO started with one of the simpler recipes while I went to Zumba. It's nice when someone else suffers for your art ;)

Ingredients (Quantities in brackets are my revised suggestions):
  • 250g soba noodles (150g)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 red chilli, trimmed, deseeded and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger root
  • 4 (king) oyster mushrooms, cut into 1cm slices
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, cut into 1cm slices
  • clump of enoki mushrooms, about the size of your first, broken up
  • handful of roughly chopped choi sum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • generous handful of beansprouts
  • 600ml miso soup (500ml)
  • 4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 2 sprigs coriander
Cook the noodles in a large pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and divide between two bowls, dropping the beansprouts on top. In a large hot wok, fry the chilli and ginger in the vegetable oil for 15-20 seconds, then add the mushrooms, choi sum and spring onions. Season with salt and sugar, and stir fry for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the stir fry over the beansprouts and noodles, and ladle over the hot miso soup. Scatter with coriander and serve.


This was a pretty nice combination. The mushrooms lent a sort-of earthiness which was balanced well by the warming ginger and chilli, and the umame miso soup. We did feel like there were too many noodles; we ended up saving about 1/3 of the whole meal for one person's lunch the next day. I think 150g would be a more sensible amount. The mushroom pack we bought had a king oyster mushroom in it, and that stood up to the stir frying considerably better than the oysters and enokis, which basically vanished. I would switch to just using king oyster and shiitake, or even chestnut mushrooms, or add the enokis and oysters only 1 minute before serving. Lastly, the flavours were balanced, but a bit samey. I'd serve this with a hot lemon tea, or a lemonade, to try to bring in some contrasting sourness, as it's missing that note entirely.

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