"Matsutake" Mushrooms

"Matsutake" Mushrooms are like caviar and truffles for Japanese people

Autumn is "Shokuyoku no aki" (time of hearty appetites). As the heat goes away, the Japanese enjoy seasonal foods such as chestnuts, mashrooms, sweet potatos and Pacific saury to name a few. Sometimes, we enjoy culinary treats such as maple leaves in tempura.

One of the more notable smells of autumn comes from matsutake mashrooms. To Japanese, matsutake mashrooms are like caviar and truffles. They are considered for rich people because of their extraorbitant prices. Prices range a great deal between domestic and imports. Domestic matsutake cost about 20,000 yen per kilogram or even higher when the harvent is not good.

One of the popular matsutake dishes is a hearty mushroom soup called matsutake dobin mushi. The dish is served in a clay teapot called a dobin. You are supposed to pour out the broth into a small cup and pick out the vegetables. The soup consists of a bonito stock, seasonal vegetables, chicken or shrimp, and the star ingredient, aromatic pine mushrooms called matsutake, which contribute a very unique flavor. It can be enjoyed with a few drops of citrus, such as yuzu or the green-skinned sudachi fruit. I hope you have an opportunity to try one while you are in Japan this season. You can also try Matsutake Chawan mushi (a savory steamed egg custard with assorted ingredients). They are served at regular sushi restaurants.

by EmiOnishi

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