Are Dried Shitake Mushrooms Much Different than Fresh?

OK, I’m making a couple of dishes containing Shitake mushrooms. I normally stock these inexpensive Chinese dried mushrooms which are a lot cheaper when making something calling out dried Shitakes. Unfortunately, my stash of cheap dried Chinese mushrooms are all moldy! I was looking for dried Shitakes at Trader Joe’s, but was shut down. I went ahead and ran with fresh Shitakes.

I’m making congee, and on Superbowl Sunday, I’m thinking about making my Brother-in-Law’s Mom’s Sticky Rice. Can I just run with the fresh Shitakes or does drying them out impart some special deliciousness?

Well, dried shiitakes are different *from *fresh ones, if that’s what you’re asking.

Unhelpful pedantic comments aside, I’m assuming that you usually soak the mushrooms first, correct? If so, I’d posit the entire point of doing so is to simulate fresh mushrooms.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Fungus is a pretty inert cooking ingredient, all things considered.

Simulate, to a degree, yes, but you can definitely tell the difference in most dishes.

I’m amused your fungus got fungus on it. :slight_smile:

Anyhoo, I use dried Shitakes and yes, they’re different from fresh. They’re chewier, but I don’t think most recipes call for dried mushrooms specifically because they’re dried.

The flavour and texture of fresh are quite different from dried. Dried mushrooms have a more intense flavour, have less of a “green” taste, and aren’t as… slimy?

Really, the only reason why you would WANT to use fresh over dried is for grilling. For all other purposes, dried and soaked is better, IMO.

Thanks for the responses. Yeah, Tabby_Cat, I’m chowing on my congee, and the fresh shitake’s are lame and flavorless. I guess I’ll have to go and buy some dried ones for the sticky rice.

Yeah the dried ones are “meatier” in texture and have a deeper flavor.

In some cases, yes. For example, a recipe might require dried shiitake to make mushroom stock. Fresh ones are just not going to produce the same result.