Being devout Buddhists, both my mother and grandmother would not eat meat on certain days because it is either the feast day, or the birthday of a god. And since not all restaurants offer decent vegetarian options, it becomes increasingly hard for them to find appetizing food that isn’t bland, steamed or a boiled hodgepodge of vegetables.
With that in mind, I tried my hand at creating something quick and easy with the mushrooms I found in the fridge, and this was what I came up with: something Asian, vegetarian, salty and sweet. I got to satisfy my sweet tooth too, you know!
The good thing about this Teriyaki Mushroom topping is that it also goes well with meat for added flavor and depth. So, whenever it’s one of those vegetarian days, I would make this for both my grandmother and mother after they come from the temple. Surprisingly, it’s even a hit with my sisters, who make it a point to request for me to make it with extra sauce.
Teriyaki Mushroom Rice Topping
- 1 cup of Shiitake Mushrooms, chopped (You can also include the stems of the mushroom. Just tear them apart into thin shreds)
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar (you can substitute this with Garlic and Chili infused Vinegar if you don’t have any. Plain Vinegar would also do just fine.)
- 4 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 2 tsp of Cooking Oil
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 Tbsp Spring Onion, chopped (optional)
- Set the pan to medium heat. Pour your cooking oil, and when it’s hot, add the garlic. Next, sprinkle salt to draw out the moisture, and cook until fragrant. Do not let the garlic brown.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms, and sauté them for about 2 minutes.
- Pour Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar, ¾ cup of water and Brown Sugar in the pan. Cook until the sugar dissolves.
- In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup of water until it forms a slurry. Pour this around the mushroom and sauce mixture, and stir continuously until the sauce becomes thick. If the sauce becomes too sticky, you can add more water to dilute it.
- Serve over some warm white or brown rice, and garnish it with some chopped Spring Onions for some pizzazz.
A slurry is basically a mix of cornstarch and water that is used to thicken sauces. To make a slurry, you need to use cold or room temperature water. Never use hot water for this, since it will cook the cornstarch even before it can thicken the sauce.
Some recipes tell you to mix the slurry in a separate bowl because the cornstarch needs to dissolve properly. If the cornstarch were added directly in the pan without dissolving in water, it clumps up and it will ruin the dish. Plus, you will have a harder time crushing the little clumps while cooking.
[Also Read: FAMILY RECIPE: Fresh Chinese Lumpia]