Shiitake mushrooms are commonly used in east Asian cuisine and also medicinally in some cultures. The Dong Gu (冬菇) variety is known as the best grade of Shiitake Mushroom, but this particular mushroom is cultivated in the winter - hence why it is called the 'Dong Gu' which means winter mushroom.
Shiitake mushrooms are grown on logs and particularly the 'Shii' tree, native to southern Japan and South Korea. Dong Gu are brown in colour and have a relatively smooth cap, compared to its cracked cousin - Hua Gu (花菇).
Benefits may include:
- May contain anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties
- Can assist with controlling blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation
- Contain an essential fatty acid, Linoleic acid, which may aid weight loss, build muscle, bone-building, digestion and reduce food allergies
- Can help fight obesity
- May assist and support immune functions
- Can assist with anti-cancerous properties
- May support cardiovascular health and promote healthy skin
- Can boost energy and brain function
- High in Vitamin D
Uses & Recipe Ideas
Dong Gu is widely used in Chinese and Japanese cooking. You can stir-fry Dong Gu with Pak Choi, baby corn and oyster sauce or make an interesting Shiitake mushroom risotto!
Why not add Dong Gu to an omelette with veggies? You can even add avocado on top for some healthy fats.
You can create a sauce with Marsala wine, shiitakes and ghee - the perfect Chicken Marsala!
Those of you brought up in Chinese families will be familiar with these traditional Chinese recipes below:
- Steamed Chicken with Shiitake Mushroom (Dong Gu), Jujube dates and Dried Day Lilies
- Steamed Buns filled with Chicken and Dong Gu
- Stuffed Dong Gu with Pork and Chives, in Oyster Sauce
This meaty mushroom has a smooth, tender texture and is fantastic in stews, soups, stir-fries and much more (all recipes coming soon)!