22 February 2013

Marinated mushrooms

In my recent tidying up of my recipe collection, I came across a torn off page from one of my Mum's magazines from the Autumn 2009. It has three recipes on mushrooms and one of them was particularly appealing, so the other day I bought a lot of mushrooms and got to work.


The recipe comments that these are good as a side dish with meat or fish, but also on their own as part of a buffé.

850 g baby chestnut and/or button mushrooms
a couple of pinches sea salt flakes
1 dl grapeseed oil
0.5 dl Malay kicap manis (soy sauce)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 large clove of garlic
1 dl finely chopped coriander
1 tsp dried crushed chillies
freshly milled black pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C and brush the mushrooms clean.
  2. Place the mushrooms in a deep pan, sprinkle some salt flakes over them and stir around, then bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms need to release some of their liquid and cook through and soften, but not dry out.
  3. In the mean time, prepare the marinade by mixing together the grapeseed oil, kikap manis and the sesame oil in a large bowl.
  4. Toast the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes until they go glossy and start sticking together, then stir into the marinade.
  5. Wash the lime leaves and divide each in two and add to the marinade. Peel the garlic and press into the mixture as well.
  6. Add the coriander, chillies and pepper and stir through to combine, then let stand until the mushrooms are ready.
  7. Transfer the mushrooms to the marinade, pour over their liquid as well, then stir through to coat them well. Leave to cool completely, then taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
  8. The mushrooms are now ready to eat, but can be transferred to a jar and kept in the fridge. The flavours should develop more with time.

The original recipe called for 1 kg of mushrooms, but the ones in the shop had a lot of mud on them and I opted to reduce the amount to save myself some time in cleaning them. I think larger mushrooms can be used, but should be cut into chunks. Visually I think baby mushrooms are better.

I also started wondering what is the difference between a pickle and a marinade and wasn't really able to find a definitive answer. From what I could work out, marinade is a way to tenderise meat (mainly) before cooking, whereas pickling is a method of preserving food.

The above recipe is definitely a marinade, there is not enough sourness to preserve, so I suspect the mushrooms will last about a week.

One big substitution I made was on the soy sauce - the original recipe called for Japanese soy, but I couldn't find it in the supermarket and decided to go for the Indonesian version. I've used ketjap benteng many years ago in a nasi goreng dish and although I don't remember the exact flavour, I do remember it was very nice, so that's my reasoning behind the swap. The kicap manis was a lot thicker than I expected, very much like tomato ketchup (according to Wikipedia the word "ketchup" originates from "kicap"/"ketjap").

Overall the flavours came together very nicely and I should have bought the full kilogram of mushrooms, there was enough marinade for that. The cleverness of this recipe is the baking of the mushrooms before marinating - they are ready to eat after cooling down and have a nicer overall texture. I have had similarly prepared mushrooms in restaurants, but there they had been made with uncooked mushrooms, so require a couple of days at least for the marinade to go through them and soften them up. This is also nice, but requires vinegar. Also, if serving the mushrooms too early, they are still fairly raw inside and it doesn't work for me. I think adding some nice balsamic vinegar to the mixture should lower the pH value and reduce bacterial growth to some extent.

We had some of these lovely mushrooms with our salad yesterday, very yummy. I don't think there is any risk for them remaining too long in the fridge. I might reduce the amount of grapeseed oil a little for next time, though.

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