The nameko is imported from Japan in small cans for high
prices. It is a cultivated mushroom, round in shape, orange in
color, gilled, and 1-1/2 inches in diameter. When you open the can
you will find it suspended in a thick gelatinous soup made of its
juice. Purchase only the expensive brands--the cheaper ones are not
It is usually eaten with steamed rice to which a few drops of
soy sauce have been added. When heated, it separates from the
material in which it is encased. Add the mushroom with this liquid
to miso soup.
They are often found enclosed in sushi rolls in Japanese restaurants. In Japan it is packaged fresh. We challenge all comers to lift one with chopsticks.
Miso Soup with Nameko Mushrooms
Serves 4 as a first course
Dashi is a broth made from the sea vegetable kombu, collected from
the icy coastal waters of the islands of Japan. It may be purchased
in Asian or natural foods stores as a dehydrated powdered broth.
Traditionally, miso is made from fermented soy beans with
combinations of grains. Red miso is usually made with rice. Mixed
with nameko mushrooms, this soup is delicious.
- 3 cups water
- About 1 tablespoon dashi powder
- 3-1/2 tablespoons red miso
- 1/2 cup diced tofu (optional)
- One 7-ounce can nameko mushrooms
Heat the water in a large saucepan and add 1 tablespoon dashi
powder, or the amount required to make 4 cups of dashi (see the
instructions on the dashi powder container).
In a small bowl, liquefy the miso with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the
dashi water, then mix with the remainder of the dashi water in the
saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately add the tofu
and the nameko mushrooms with their liquid. After a half minute or
so, when the broth is
heated almost to the boiling point, the soup is ready to be served.
Do not overcook.
Nameko Mushrooms and Daikon
Serves 4 as a side dish
Daikon is a mild Asian radish used in many Japanese food
preparations. The peppery, crisp quality of diakon contrasts
sharply with tofu and nameko mushrooms. Purchase only the more
expensive brands of nameko mushrooms. The cheaper ones are not as
- 1/4 cup or more grated daikon
- One 7-ounce can nameko mushrooms, drained, with liquid reserved
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce or more
- One 16-ounce block tofu (optional)
- 1 sheet nori (optional)
Mix the daikon with the nameko mushrooms. Season with the soy
sauce; add more according to taste.
If serving with tofu, add a little liquid from the can of
mushrooms to the daikon mixture and mix it with chopsticks. Cut
the tofu into 1/2 to 3/4 -inch cubes and divide into 4 separate
servings, about 1/2 cup each. Pour the mushroom mixture over each
If using nori, toast it over an open flame with a fork until
it becomes green and crisp. Let cool, then crush it in your hand and
sprinkle it on top of the dish. If the tofu is too bland for your
taste, add additional soy sauce.
ALTERNATE MUSHROOM: Shiitake