Cooking vegetarian is so much fun when fresh mushrooms are available. And that’s not an everyday occurrence here in the suburb. In the market, fresh mushrooms are generally sold only on weekends. In the grocery, the only variety that we can get on a regular basis is oyster mushrooms. A couple of days ago, we drove down the hill to do our grocery shopping. We could have shopped somewhere nearer but Alex, who had only started to feel better after two weeks, was bored. Two weeks of being housebound couldn’t have been fun so it was an opportunity for a short drive and seeing things other than dogs, cats and trees.
It was Alex’s choice to go to Robinson’s on Marcos Highway, the only place that sells her shampoo brand, according to her. I was only too happy with her choice because there is always an abundant supply of fresh mushrooms at Robinson’s. We chose baby portobello, shiitake and Swiss brown mushrooms. The baby portobello went into an omelet and a pasta dish, the shiitake was cooked with bamboo shoots and the Swiss brown mushrooms, I cooked into a vegetarian dish, salpicao style.
The dish known as salpicao in the Philippines is cooked with beef and requires marinating. Mushrooms don’t take too long to absorb seasonings and marinating might overpower their delicate natural flavors. So I skipped the marinating part.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 6 to 8 Swiss brown mushrooms halved
- 2 to 3 tablespoons liquid seasoning (I used Maggi with chili)
- 1 teaspoon kalamansi (or lemon or lime) juice
- 1 cup finely sliced cabbage (I used wombok)
- thinly sliced scallions to garnish
- sesame seeds to garnish
- Heat half of the butter in a frying pan. Saute the onion and garlic until aromatic, about a minute.
- Add the mushrooms and the rest of the butter to the pan. Stir fry for half a minute. Pour in the liquid seasoning. Cook, stirring often, for about three minutes or until the mushrooms are done. DO NOT overcook mushrooms as they toughen and turn rubbery when exposed too long in the heat. If the mixture appears too dry before the mushrooms are done, add water, two tablespoonfuls at a time, to prevent scorching.
- When the mushrooms are done, add the kalamansi juice. Stir fry for another 10 seconds.
- Scoop out the mushrooms and transfer to a bowl.
- Heat the remaining liquid in the pan. Add the shredded cabbage and stir fry with a generous pinch of salt just until very lightly softened.
- Pile the cabbage on a plate. Arrange the mushrooms on top. Drizzle whatever remaining pan juices there are over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.
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