This post comes to us from the first of our 2011 Mushroom Channel contributors, Kimberly Morales of Poor Girl Eats Well. We love that Kimberly uses mushrooms to produce tasty and healthy meals on a budget- her first post accomplished just that and, for the record, we share her love of Chinese 5 Spice to bring the natural umami flavor out of mushroom dishes!
One of the lovely mushroom’s greatest traits is its meaty texture. For vegetarians & vegans, it’s a nice alternative to the standard meat substitutes; for meat eaters, it offers a great meatless option without losing that meaty mouth feel.
Because of this, mushrooms lend themselves to being prepared with many of the flavorings normally used in cooking meats. A recent obsession of mine is throwing Chinese five-spice powder into almost everything I’m cooking – from chicken to seitan to pork belly – so it seemed only logical that my next five-spice victim would be the almighty mushroom.
It worked like a charm. The aromatic qualities of the anise, cinnamon, ginger, fennel and cloves that make up traditional Chinese five-spice enhanced the umami of even basic white mushrooms, and the first fresh asparagus of the season complemented them beautifully. Tossed together with big, chewy udon noodles and topped off with a sweet & spicy five-spice sauce, this dish is easy to prepare, packed with nutrients, and extremely satisfying.
Serve it warm as an entrée or side dish to some grilled meats, or serve it cold over mixed greens for a simple, satisfying lunch. Either way, it’s sure to become part of any mushroom-lover’s repertoire!
Five Spice Mushrooms & Asparagus with Udon Noodles (makes 4 servings)
- 1 8 oz. package white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1” pieces
- 1 8 oz. package dried udon noodles
- 5 cups of water
- 2 T cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ t five-spice powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ¾ tsp five spice powder
Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. Cook the udon noodles according to package instructions, drain and set aside (you might want to drizzle a small amount of oil on the noodles to prevent them from sticking).
While the noodles are cooking, bring the 5 cups of water to a rolling boil and add the asparagus. Blanche them for no more than 45 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a small bowl.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown and fragrant. Next add the mushrooms, five-spice powder and salt, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the blanched asparagus and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
Finally, add the noodles & prepared sauce to the vegetables and mix well. Serve immediately and enjoy!