Mushroom soy sauce (Recipe: beef and broccoli stir fry)
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
When I asked Ted to pick up some mushroom soy sauce at the local Chinese grocery store near his office, I shoulda showed him the nearly-empty bottle of shiitake mushroom soy in the fridge, so he coulda bought the same brand to replenish the supply. But, knowing Ted, he woulda purchased several versions to try anyway, because he is naturally curious. So now I have three different kinds of mushroom soy with which to experiment in The Perfect Pantry.
Soy sauce, made by fermenting boiled soybeans, ground roasted wheat or barley, and a starter mold (koji), comes in two basic varieties: light and dark. Dark soy is aged much longer, and often caramel or molasses are added to yield a brownish-black color and thicker consistency.
Considered a dark soy (because there is no category called "dark-ish"), mushroom soy is soy sauce infused with the essence of straw mushrooms, or sometimes shiitake mushrooms. It adds a rich, earthy flavor to cooked dishes. The sauce tastes strongly of the mushroom used to make it, which is why I prefer the shiitake mushroom soy; I just like those mushrooms better.
At $3.00 or less for a bottle, you can experiment in your own kitchen to find the taste you like. Substitute mushroom soy for dark soy as a cooking sauce or a finishing sauce (sprinkled on the top of a dish after the cooking is completed), in recipes for beef, eggplant, chicken, mushrooms (of course!), and other dishes where the richness of the mushroom flavor can shine.
Beef and broccoli stir fry
Mother of my friend Kent, Mrs. Leung worked for many years at our local Asian market. This recipe serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as part of a banquet-style meal, and can be doubled easily.
1/2 lb flank steak, sliced thinly
2-1/2 tsp arrowroot
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp light soy sauce
Pinch of black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp shallots, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp mushroom soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp peanut oil for frying
In a bowl, marinate the beef with 1 tsp arrowroot, 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp light soy sauce and a pinch of black pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp peanut oil in a wok. Stir fry garlic and shallots for 5 seconds. Add onion, stir for 5 seconds, and add the beef. Stir for 15 seconds, then remove from wok with a slotted spoon or strainer. Add 2 Tbsp fresh oil to the wok and heat. Stir in the broccoli and cook for 1 minute (add a few tsps of water to help cook the broccoli). When broccoli is almost done, add the beef, oyster sauce, mushroom soy sauce and sugar. Stir 1-2 minutes until cooked through. In a small bowl, mix remaining arrowroot with 1 Tbsp water. Stir into wok, a little at a time, to thicken the sauce. Serve hot with steamed rice.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Salmon fried rice
Sweet-salty-spicy sushi sauce
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I've never used mushroom soy, but it sounds like a good pantry addition. Thanks for the information.
I'm hoping we find some time to explore the Chinatown in Seattle this month and will be sure to look for some of the mushroom soy, I like the sound of it very much.
Hmmn, something that taste like shitake, YUM! I am a soy sauce fiend, I have light , regular, dark but no mushroom flavored- I should be adding that my list soon. This beef and brocolli stir-fry sounds delicious -must try!
Ooh I made shitake mushroom pasta last night and gave is a nice glug of soy sauce because shitake and soy sauce are such perfect companions.
I didn't know they made such a thing. Informative post.
Ming's Market in Boston's South End has a huge selection and the 88 Supermarket one block away has even more! It seems safer to get a variety when asked to find something at the market.
Casey, welcome to The Perfect Pantry. Mushroom soy isn't the soy I'd use for m all-purpose, but once you start experimenting with it, you'll be glad you have it in your soy sauce collection.
MyKitchen, I'm green with envy -- would love to be exploring Seattle's Chinatown! A friend told me about a shop that stocks Chinese condiments (among other wonderful things) in Pike Place market, too.
Veron, this soy sauce is really good with beef dishes. I think you'll like it.
Radish, sounds like mushroom soy would be perfect with your pasta dish!
Kelly, thanks. Hope you'll give it a try.
Rupert, now you know how the pantry gets filled up so easily! But I agree -- especially with Asian condiments, the taste can vary so much from one brand to the next, that the only way to find your favorite is to test them all.
This recipe sounds great. I love Chinese cuisine. I'm not a huge fan of oyster sauce...any ideas of a good substitution ?
Are these vege version of oyster sauce? I heard the vegetarian oyster sauce pales in comparison to the real oyster sauce. I keep LKK oyster sauce too and it makes stir fry so easy.
Chef Tom, you might try this soy sauce with a touch of real dark soy (which has some caramel in it) and cornstarch-and-water thickener, because one of the joys of oyster sauce is its consistency. Let me know if that works.
Tigerfish, nope, this is a different product. Oyster sauce is made from oyster extract; this is made from soy. Both will lend saltiness to your cooking. I tend to use them together.
Soy (dark, light and mushroom) and oyster sauces are definite staples in my pantry. I don't tend to use the mushroom sauce that much not because I don't like it, but I tend to forget about it, so thanks for the reminder.
I didn't even know soy sauce came in flavors! Shoulda figured! :)
All these sauces are must have for Asian food lovers!
Nora, they're all staples for me, too. And it's amazing how these condiments all find their way into non-Asian dishes, too, especially stews and pasta.
Hillary, not just flavors, but colors, too -- like black soy!
Anh, absolutely -- I couldn't cook without them.
My grocery store doesn't carry it--so I rarely have it in my pantry. Sob! I do have the black soy and it's wonderful.
oh, good! I always thought this was a dodgy ingredient, somehow, didn´t beleive the mushrooms were really there. must go buy now. also, am out of sesame oil. gasp!
Sher, I have all of these bottles in my pantry right now -- want me to send you one?
Lobster, you can definitely taste the mushroom in this soy sauce. And goodness, you must restock with sesame oil immediately -- I know I can't make Asian food without it!
Nice stir fry Lydia. These chinese sauces are really indispensable in the kitchen don't you think? I'd go crazy without them:)
First I have to comment on the soy sauce...I use Mitoku brand (shoyu) as it contains water, cultured organic whole soybeans, cultured organic whole wheat, and sea salt. For people that are wheat free I get the same brand but buy the shoyu as it is wheat-free. Both are aged so help replenish good bacteria (like acidophyllis).
This is the BEST part...another small world story!!!
I was having a massage this morning and we talked about food blogs...the first one my friend (Cheri) mentioned was...yes, THE PERFECT PANTRY!!! She said she was invited to be a bookworm! Too funny. I love these sort of "co-incidences. I said this was one of my most favorites too.
Oops! Mistake on my post...the Tamari is the WHEAT FREE soy sauce! Mea Culpa!
Oh I'm going to look out for this one, have never heard of it, buy mushrooms and soy - I'm there! It just sounds so good!
Valentina, having authentic condiments makes all the difference -- my "Asian" cooking never tasted quite right when I was using American versions of the real thing.
Meg, thanks, as always, for expanding my knowledge of ingredients for the macrobiotic diet. I have so much to learn, and always learn something from your comments. AND how fun is it that you and Cheri are sharing your experience with the Pantry! That story makes my day...my week...oh, okay, my whole year!
Kelly-Jane, I'd never used mushroom soy either until a Chinese friend told me about it. Now there's always at least one bottle (or, hmmmmmm, as many as three bottles!) in my pantry. Hope you can find it in your market.
So weird and intriguing like shrimp lime ramen noodles. I will seek this (that or the other)out!
I had no idea you could flavor soy sauce with mushrooms. I will keep an eye out for this, since I love the flavor of mushrooms.
Callipygia, it's always fun to try lots of ingredients to find the one you like!
TW, I usually use the shiitake soy, but I'm looking forward to testing the ones Ted brought home from the market, too.
Interesting...mushroom soy sauce.
Peabody, who knew, eh? It's worth a try if you can find it in your local market.
Well, as my grandmother always used to say, "things happen for a reason." Now, you wrote this great post, and we learned about mushroom soy sauce!
Susan, I had a philosophical grandmother, too!
I've never tried mushroom soy sauce but I should definitely look into it.
Amy, I hope you can find it at your market. Mushroom soy wouldn't be my only soy sauce, but it's a nice change-up from the regular dark soy.
I have trying to find mushroom sauce for that extra shiitake mushroom flavor for Pad Woon Sen and didnt even realize that this stuff existed! so thank you I am also going to try the dark sauce too. I am definitely going to explore your pages more when I can, I want to learn more about stocking my pantry.