Feb 102011

Photo of shiitake mushrooms

Ingredient Name: Shiitake Mushroom.
(Also called Chinese Mushroom, Black Mushroom, or Chinese Black Mushroom.)

Ingredient Name in Chinese: 冬菇 (dōng gū)


  • Shiitake mushroom is an edible fungus native to China and Japan.
  • Used as both food and medicinal purposes since the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368 – 1644) in China.
  • Dried and fresh versions are both sold and used for cooking.

Shiitake Mushroom Uses and Health Benefits:

  • Used in Chinese herbal medicine to remedy upper respiratory diseases, poor blood circulation, liver trouble, exhaustion and weakness, and to boost “Qi” or life energy.
  • Shiitake mushroom is neutral in nature in Chinese medicine.
  • Studies have shown that lentinan, a specific compound in shiitake mushroom, has anti-tumor properties.
  • Shiitake mushroom has cholesterol-lowering, and virus-inhibiting effects.
  • They also contain high amounts of vitamin D.
  • Use shiitake mushrooms in cooking to boost the immune system and prevent the development and progression of cancer.
  • See a list of soup recipes using shiitake mushroom.


  • If using the dried version of Shiitake mushroom, rinse then soak with boiling hot water for 30 minutes. If the mushroom stump is thick, cut it off so that it can soak and soften quicker (the stump can also be snapped off by hand easily when it is still dry).
  • Cut and discard the hard tip of the mushroom stump (see photo above). The rest of the stump is edible.
  • The water used in soaking shiitake mushroom becomes very flavorful at the end of the soaking process. The water is usually saved and re-used in the cooking recipe. Because of this, it is a good idea to rinse the mushroom clean before soaking.

Where to Buy:

  • Dried and fresh shiitake mushrooms are available in Asian grocery stores. Also available in many American grocery chains and farmer’s markets in metropolitan cities.
  • Also available online in various packaging sizes at Amazon.

How do you use your Shiitake Mushrooms? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

Link to this page from your site or recipe!
Just copy and paste the code below to your page:
<a href=”http://www.chinesesouppot.com/?p=230″>Learn more about Shiitake Mushroom here.</a>

Resources: Wikipedia, American Cancer Society

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  2 Responses to “Ingredient: Shiitake Mushroom”

  1. Thank you for sharing so that the recipes will be passed on to generations to come.

  2. I am so happy that you enjoy this website Kris! And thank you for your support!

    Do you use shiitake mushrooms much in soups? If so, would love to hear about how you use them too!

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