Different types of mushrooms

How to Cook With Different Types of Mushrooms

With the growing interest in the culinary arena coupled with the increasing familiarity with exotic ingredients, it’s no wonder people are more than keen to try out something new in the kitchen. With different types of mushrooms now available in the market, they’re the perfect produce to level up your favourite recipes. The only question is, which one should you get?

Worry no more because we are giving you a quick primer to help you match your soup, sauce, or pasta with the right mushroom type. But before putting on your apron, it’s best to know more about this star ingredient and what it can do for your dishes.

  • Mushrooms are the sixth most valuable crop produced with the white buttons being the most common type grown.
  • After potatoes and tomatoes, mushrooms are the third most important produce in the vegetable aisle.
  • Over 85% of Australian grocery shoppers regularly buy fresh mushrooms.
  • Mushrooms were only available in cans back in mid-1970s. Thankfully, Australians now enjoy eating mushrooms with 95% of them fresh.
  • Favourite mushroom dish? About 88% love their mushrooms stir-fried, while 83% prefer to add their earthy flavours into a crisp salad.

Mushrooms belong to the fungi family. Their spongy bodies are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Their earthy, almost meat-like flavour is brought about by their glutamate content, making them tasty despite having no salt and fat. They’re gluten-free, too! However, not all mushrooms are safe to eat.

Poisonous mushrooms

The deathcap (Amanita phalloides) is one of the most common poisonous mushrooms in Australia. In an article by the Food Safety Information Council (2017), it was noted that 9 out of 10 deaths due to mushroom poisoning in the country are caused by deathcap consumption.

In Victoria, mushroom poisoning is mainly due to the ingestion of Agaricus xanthodermus or yellow-staining mushrooms (Royal Botanic Gardens Board Victoria, 2015). And while ingesting this type of mushroom is not fatal, nausea, cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea typically follow right after eating it. Other wild mushrooms that have caused reports of poisoning include the ghost fungus (Omphalotus nidiformis), shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum brunneum), and the common earthball (Scleroderma citrinum).

One of the important things to be aware of about these poisonous fungi is that they look similar to edible mushrooms. The ghost fungus for example is often mistaken for the tasty oyster mushroom. Moreover, the toxin within these mushrooms cannot be removed by trimming, soaking, cooking, or drying. Thus, it is recommended to take great care when eating wild fungi. Better yet, purchase your mushrooms from local farmers, groceries, or any reputable source.

Cooking with edible mushrooms

Mushrooms are pretty versatile and can be added to almost any recipe. However, they do have distinct texture and flavours that go well with certain dishes. Read on this list we’ve made and see if you can recreate our suggested dishes with your favourite mushroom variety.

Different types of mushrooms

Favourites

This list highlights the common types of mushrooms used in most Australian households. These mushrooms are also typically available fresh in the market.

    Button mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Button mushrooms, or more commonly known as champignons, are generally small in size. They are firm in texture with caps tightly closed around the stem. Their flavour is mild but grows more intense when cooked.

  • Cooking method
  • Button mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, and served whole or sliced. They taste best when barbecued or in salads, risottos, pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.

  • Recipe to try
  • Perform some wok magic and add sliced button mushrooms to this Chicken Stir Fry with Cashew Recipe.

    Mushroom cups

  • Characteristics
  • Cups are basically older button mushrooms where the cap has opened and spread away from the stem. Similar to the young buttons, cups are also firm in texture. However, they also get to develop a darker colour and more intense flavour with age.

  • Cooking method
  • To make the most of their great flavour, slice, dice, or quarter your cups for cooking. They are highly versatile and suit any method of cooking, but they are at their most flavourful in pastas, pan-fries, sauces, casseroles, and soups.

  • Recipe to try
  • Go Asian and make this comforting Mushroom, Miso, and Soba Noodle Recipe by
    Jade Howarth—a delicious winter warmer.

    Field mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Flats, or field mushrooms, are the full-grown button mushrooms with caps now fully opened and dark gills exposed. They have a denser, sponge-like texture and a robust flavour.

  • Cooking method
  • Being the perfect meat substitute, they taste best when roasted or barbecued. They also make a great flavour enhancer for sauces (as duxelles), tapenades, and soups. Try deep-frying them, too, and make tempura mushrooms.

  • Recipe to try
  • Quick meal starter? Whip up bowls of this Creamy Mushroom Recipe that gets done in no time with the help of a blender.

    Swiss brown mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Also known as cremini or Italian mushrooms, the Swiss brown is closely related to the button variety in terms of size and shape. However, they differ in colour, texture, and flavour as Swiss browns are darker and firmer with an earthier taste.

  • Cooking method
  • Swiss browns have less water in them so they keep their shape well even when cooked. They can be eaten raw, usually just marinated and served as an antipasto. They are also wonderful when sliced or diced for your pies, slow-cooked dishes, pilafs, sauces, and pasta

  • Recipe to try
  • Turn your kids into instant mushroom lovers by serving them this Bacon and Mushroom Fettuccine Recipe.

    Portabella (portobello) mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • The giant cremini or portabella is a full-grown Swiss brown, with its cap fully opened and dark, fragrant gills exposed. Like its younger variant, portabellas have a dark colour, dense texture, and rich flavour.

  • Cooking method
  • Similar to the flats variety, portabella are typically used as an alternative to meat, making them perfect for roasting and grilling. They all add a deep flavour to your sauces. Try replacing your burger patties with these meaty mushrooms or use them as a crust for your pizza.

  • Recipe to try
  • Risotto in 5 minutes? Try this quick yet flavourful Pressure Cooker Mushroom Risotto Recipe to impress your guests.

Special

Infuse unique flavours into your dishes using these mushrooms that originated from other countries.

Nori omelette with miso mushroom broth by Jodie Vassallo
Assorted mushrooms in dashi broth and miso simply means comfort in a bowl.

    Chestnut mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Chestnut mushrooms, also called the cinnamon cap or brick top, are one of the oldest mushroom species, said to have been first cultivated by the Greeks. They are light brown with wide open caps on long cream-coloured stems. These mushrooms are firm with a nutty flavour.

  • Cooking method
  • Chestnut mushrooms are cooked whole or chopped with a small part of their stalks removed. Because of their low moisture content, they are great for pizzas, pastas, breads, dips, and pates. They taste delicious even when they are simply sauteed in butter, garlic, and thyme.

  • Recipe to try
  • Keep yourself warm during the colder days with a bowl of Nori Omelette with Miso Mushroom Broth, a recipe by bestselling cookbook author Jody Vassallo.

    Enoki mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Enoki mushrooms originated in Japan but are now also grown in Australia. They are known for long, thread-like stem with a tiny cap. Thus, they are sometime also called golden needles. They have a noticeable crispness and fruity flavour.

  • Cooking method
  • Enokis can be cooked or eaten raw but, as they are typically sold in clumps, you have to trim off the base before you can carefully separate and eat them. Toss them in salad, wrap them in rice paper rolls, or use them as sandwich filling. Because they are thin and cook quickly on a hot pan, enoki mushrooms can be added to your risottos, soups, or omelettes last.

  • Recipe to try
  • Nothing beats dining together with a hot pot on the table during winter time. Try this Shabu-Shabu Recipe with lots of enoki mushrooms and have fun taking turns filling your bowls with warm broth.

    King brown mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • The king oyster, native to the Mediterranean regions, perhaps got its name from being related to the oyster mushroom family and its distinct regal appearance—proud light brown cap and thick, tender stem. King browns also have a rich flavour and are known for having a long shelf life.

  • Cooking method
  • These large mushrooms are typically sliced lengthwise or diced. They are great cooking mushrooms as they retain their chewy and firm texture. King browns taste best when pan-fried or when combined with meats, seafood, pasta, and rice.

  • Recipe to try
  • Enjoy the full flavours of siced king browns by tossing them in butter, garlic, and parsley in this Cast Iron Sauteed Mushroom Recipe.

    Oyster mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Oyster mushrooms have grown popular because they are one of the few species that are easy to grow at home. They have a fluted, shell-like caps and bodies that vary in colour. White, yellow, pink, grey-brown, and purple-brown oyster mushrooms are commonly found in Australia. Their texture is soft and velvety while their flavour is delicate.

  • Cooking method
  • Oyster mushrooms can be enjoyed raw or cooked, whole, sliced, or diced. Cook them within a day or two after purchase as they have a shorter shelf life. Also, because of their softer bodies, they tend to absorb flavours and go limp quite rapidly, so it is best to cook them fast on high heat.

  • Recipe to try
  • Oyster mushrooms make a perfect match with seafood, chicken, veal, and pork. They also taste great when added to soups and noodle dishes. Try deep-frying them, too, into chips or tempura mushrooms. Better yet, turn them into delicious topping following this Mean Mushroom Pizza Recipe!

    Shimeji mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Shimeji is a Japanese mushroom variety that naturally grows on fallen elm, oak, or beech trees. Thus, this variety is also known as beech mushrooms. These small mushrooms have white stems and brown-grey caps that grow lighter as the fungi mature. Their flavour is sweet and nutty.

  • Cooking method
  • Similar to enoki mushrooms, shimejis are sold in clumps. Trim off the base first to separate the stems for cooking. Shimeji mushrooms are best when stir-fried, sauteed, or added in sauces, soups, broths, and noodle dishes.

  • Recipe to try
  • Add earthiness to your mildly flavoured grains and prepare this Pearl Barley Risotto with Wild Mushroom Recipe with a handful of shimejis.

Dried mushrooms

Of course, not all mushrooms can be bought fresh. Good thing they are just delicious, and perhaps even more flavourful, when dried. But, unlike fresh mushrooms, dried fungi need to be soaked in warm water for around 20 minutes. After soaking, cook your rehydrated mushrooms right away. You can even use the soaking liquid as a cooking stock to add more mushroom flavour.

Korean Stir Fry Noodles Recipe
Give your usual noodle stir fry a flavourful twist by adding sliced shiitake.

    Chanterelle mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • When fresh, chanterelles or girolles are yellow to orange in colour and shaped like an umbrella that has turned inside out. They are well-known wild mushrooms particularly in North America and Europe. These mushrooms also have a woodsy, apricot-like aroma and flavour.

  • Cooking method
  • Chanterelle is a favourite ingredient in French cuisine; thus, it is typically tossed in butter, oil, and cream. It also makes a great pair with dishes containing eggs, poultry, cheese, garlic, and onion.

  • Recipe to try
  • White wine and chanterelle mushrooms make a perfect match just like in this Pearl Barley Risotto with Wild Mushroom Recipe.

    Porcini mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Porcini belongs to the cepe mushroom family and is the most popular of its variety. These wild mushrooms originated in Europe, particularly in Italy, then dried and imported to Australia. Porcinis have a naturally rich and earthy flavour that intensifies when dried.

  • Cooking method
  • Using dried porcinis in cooking fills the kitchen with a smoky aroma. They add deeper flavours to pies, pizzas, soups, pasta sauces, gravies, and risottos. If you are mixing them into your stews or casseroles, add them at the start of the cooking process for a more intense mushroom flavour.

  • Recipe to try
  • Keep a stash of the versatile Porcini Mushroom Pate in your fridge so you can easily level up your simple toast, risotto, or pasta. And did you know mushrooms can be used for desserts, too? Give this Porcini Caramel and Chestnut Cake Recipe by Hayley McKee a try!

    Shiitake mushrooms

  • Characteristics
  • Shiitake mushrooms or black Chinese mushrooms are commonly used in Asian cooking. When fresh, their color ranges from golden to dark brown. They have a firm, fleshy texture and a broad, dome-shaped cap with cream-coloured gills.

  • Cooking method
  • The shiitake mushroom stem is quite tough so it is usually trimmed off, chopped, then used to in making stocks. Dried caps should be soaked in warm water for 30 minutes before cooking them into your soups, noodles, or stir-fries.

  • Recipe to try
  • Put your wok to good use and make bowls of quick yet tasty Korean Stir Fry Noodles for lunch or snack.

Whether fresh or dried, there is a perfect type of mushroom that will go well with any dish. And if your are trying to limit your salt or meat intake, mushrooms can be your flavourful, more nutritious alternative.

Aimee Arcega

Aimee is a content writer for Kitchen Warehouse and a foodie at heart. Also a trained pastry chef, she bakes in her spare time to make people happy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *