Hen Of The Woods Mushrooms
Hen of the Woods Mushrooms have a light, pleasant taste, a pungent smell and a firm texture. Although they grow wild in frilly, clustered masses up to several feet in width, our dried Hen of the Woods Mushrooms are broken down into more manageable pieces from 1/2 to 5 inches.
Rinse mushrooms under cold running water to remove any possible debris. To rehydrate prior to use, place desired amount into a bowl covered with boiling water and let soak for 15-20 minutes. Rinse well. Or, rinse and then add directly to any recipe that will cook at least 25 minutes.
The Hen of the Woods Mushroom (Grifola frondosa), also known as “maitake,” is an annual wild mushroom that grows on the ground at the base of hard woods, especially oak trees, in the eastern regions of North America. Its name comes from the mushroom’s clustered growing pattern—forming a rounded mass of frilly, grayish-brown fan-shaped caps, all attached to a single, branched, whitish stem—which bears a slight resemblance a ruffled chicken.
Known in Asia as maitake, or “dancing mushroom,” the Hen of the Woods Mushroom is considered to have medicinal properties, ranging from immune system support to improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Researchers are currently exploring these potential health benefits.
Meanwhile, cooks enjoy Hen of the Woods Mushrooms simply for their light, pleasant taste and pungent smell, and their firm texture. When fresh or rehydrated, the meaty-textured mushrooms respond well to roasting and grilling, as well as sautéing.
This recipe for Chawanmushi is filled with traditional ingredients such as mushrooms, soy sauce and eggs. Hen of the Woods (maitake) mushrooms are the perfect accompaniment to the delicate custard and subtle flavors of green onions and dashi.