Bright orange nameko mushrooms are a popular Japanese mushroom variety with a mild, earthy flavor and an aroma similar to cashews. Their caps display a distinctive glossy sheen due to a naturally occurring gelatin coating.
Rinse mushrooms under cold running water to remove any possible debris. To rehydrate prior to use, place desired amount in a bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes, until desired texture is achieved. Drain, reserving the thickened liquid for another use.
Dried nameko mushrooms.
Nameko mushrooms (Pholiota nameko) are popular in Japan, where they are widely grown and available fresh from October to February. Nameko mushrooms typically grow on hardwood logs, but can also be cultivated in sawdust blocks. Most commercially available nameko mushrooms are cultivated, rather than wild. Their bright orange or amber-brown flesh and distinctive glossy sheen — the result of a naturally occurring gelatin coating — make them an unusual yet unique addition to stir-fries, salads and soups.
When cooked, their natural gelatinous coating melts away, acting as a natural thickener for soups and sauces. The mushrooms themselves can also take on a slightly gelatinous texture if overcooked, so use care.
Native to Japan, Nameko Mushrooms are a common addition to miso soup. The mushrooms’ gelatinous coating serves as a natural thickener, while their mild flavor and cashew-like aroma enhances the soup’s salty, meaty taste.