Brown mushrooms were a revelation when I first sampled them in the school cafeteria. I had grown up with thick, dried black mushrooms that were rehydrated and then cooked until they were plump and full of flavour. The ones I had at school were watery and tasteless. However, I have since learned how they should be cooked. Stir-frying them in a wok leaves them slightly firm with a wonderful texture: nothing mushy about them. When sliced, they make a quick and easy vegetable side dish. This dish takes literally minutes to assemble and cook.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the salt, garlic and ginger and stir-fry them for 1 minute, or until the garlic begins to brown. Quickly dump in the mushroom slices and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Now add the rice wine, soy sauce and sugar and continue stir-frying for 5 minutes, or until any liquid has been reabsorbed by the mushrooms. Finally, drizzle in the sesame oil, give the mushrooms a few stirs and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.