Dried Shiitake Mushrooms (干香菇) is made from shiitake mushroom, either by natural drying or smoking. Due to the chemical reactions during the drying process, dried shiitake mushrooms are much aromatic than fresh shiitake mushrooms. Consequently, dried shiitake mushrooms are widely used in soups, stir fries and stews in Chinese cuisine.
There are different grades of dried shiitake mushroom and the highest quality level is dried shiitake mushroom from "花菇", which is harvested in cold winter season. The huge temperature different within a day makes the surface of the mushrooms cracking. So we have the cracked shiitake mushrooms in winter.
How to rehydrated shiitake mushrooms
- Rinse the mushrooms under running water to remove the sands on surface.
- Transfer to a pot or bowl and add enough warm water to cover, wait for 2-3 minutes and slightly squeeze the mushrooms to remove the dirt completely.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a clean bowl and then re-add enough warm water to cover. Soak until the mushrooms becomes soft. Strain and save the liquid.
- Smell and choose those with stronger aroma.
- Watch and choose those with small cracks on the surface. They are dried from winter shiitake mushrooms (冬菇). Usually winter shiitake mushrooms have the highest quality and strongest aroma.