Oyster mushrooms are an ideal option for several types of dishes. They make a great addition to whatever you’re eating, and they are also good for your health.
Like every food ingredient, however, there are times when these mushrooms might not do it for you, and you would like to try something else.
So, are there alternatives for oyster mushrooms? Yes, there are. Shiitake mushrooms are the ideal substitutes for oyster mushrooms, primarily because they can go with pretty much the same dishes. While they don’t exactly taste like oyster mushrooms, these are also pretty delicious. They also provide several health benefits.
An Overview of Oyster Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms are perhaps the most famous type of cultivated mushrooms worldwide. Also known as tree oyster mushrooms or pearl oyster mushrooms, these babies grow naturally in and around trees. They thrive in subtropic and temperate forest zones, and they are commercially grown in a lot of countries.
Oyster mushrooms can be eaten with several dishes. They are usually eaten cooked, although they can also be dried.
The mushrooms usually have thin, broad caps and tan gills that line their insides. The mushrooms have a subtle flavor. You can also taste some earthiness in the flavor – a characteristic that makes the mushrooms perfect for a wide array of dishes. Cooking methods for these mushrooms include roasting, frying, and grilling.
Why Replace Oyster Mushrooms?
- They’re not available: Oyster mushrooms might not grow around you. They’re pretty seasonal. You could also not be able to find any at the grocery stores close to you. Instead of passing up on your meal, you could just get an alternative and get on with your meal.
- The desire to change your taste: Food and taste are subjective. After taking oyster mushrooms for a while, you might just want to change them and try something new. It’s perfectly understandable.
Options for Oyster Mushrooms’ Substitutes
Top Recommended Option: Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms are mushrooms that originate in the East Asian region. These mushrooms have a tan to dark-brown look, and they come with caps that can grow between two to four inches in length.
Most people eat shiitake mushrooms like vegetables. However, they are more like fungi that can naturally grow on hardwood trees. Most shiitake mushrooms grow in Japan, although you can also find some in places like Canada, the United States, and Singapore.
Shiitake mushrooms don’t mainly taste like oyster mushrooms. They have their particular taste, which aficionados simply describe as “umami.” Still, if you’re a fan of oyster mushrooms, there’s hardly any way you won’t love the shiitake mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms can be used as food supplements, whole foods, and much more. They have a wide array of health benefits, including but not limited to improving the heart’s health and boosting the immune system. So, it’s easy to see how they will appeal to anyone. The mushrooms are healthy, and they taste good as well. Who wouldn’t want that?
Making shitake mushrooms isn’t so challenging. The first thing you would need to do is prep them and ensure that they’re ready to cook. Wipe them with a clean, damp cloth, then remove their stems. You could also run them under some water to take out the dirt. From there, follow these steps:
- Get some olive oil and heat it over some medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and let them cook for about four to five minutes. When you see the color change to brown, you’re ready.
- Add some water and cook the mushrooms until you see them soften and shrink. If you like, you can fry them again for about three minutes.
- For added flavor, stir the mushrooms in some oyster sauce and coat them.
Best Substitute for Whole Dishes: Matsutake Mushrooms
Matsutake mushrooms are indeed a wonder to many people. With their grubby appearance and funny-looking trunks, these mushrooms are rare and truly delicious.
These mushrooms are actually quite old. They have a history that dates back to ancient Japan, and they grow primarily in the autumn season. Matsutake mushrooms are also known mainly for having spicy, strong aromas and an earthy taste. So, if you’re looking for a substitute for the oyster mushroom that tastes similarly, you’ve got something here.
One of the best parts of matsutake mushrooms is that they don’t need much in added seasoning when they’re being cooked. You can easily let their natural flavor shine and rest assured that you’ve still got something great. The mushrooms are great additions to chawanmushi (a steamed egg custard dish), light soups, rice, sudachi (the Japanese lime delicacy, and much more.
So, considering that they can be used for almost as many dishes as the oyster mushrooms, you’re hardly missing anything if you replace the latter with matsutake mushrooms.
The general recipe for cooking matsutake mushrooms will depend on what you’re cooking them for. However, when cooking them, you would want to consider the rule of “less is more.” As explained earlier, the matsutake mushrooms can have a bit of a strong taste. In excess, it could overwhelm your dish.
Some other hints you want to keep in mind include:
- Store the mushrooms in a refrigerator if you’re not using them immediately
- Don’t store the mushrooms for over ten days.
- The best dishes to use matsutake mushrooms are those with a lot of cream or butter.
- You’ll get better quality and aroma from younger matsutake mushrooms.
- For the best texture, taste, and flavor, cook your mushrooms just lightly.