Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thaied & Tested

What is the main constituent of this dish? What does it look like to you?

Everything in it, except me, came out of a packet. What was supposed to be a quick meal turned out to be a rather gargantuan one, some of which is sitting in my fridge and has me wrestling with my conscience yet again - dustbin or digest?
As things turned out, this post is going to be a WHB special about how not to cook the main ingredient rather than how to. After three pages of Google results, I am no wiser, the deadline is closer and the host must be on her way from 'eager' to 'anxious' as she recalls my many promises about this entry. It's not as delicious as the Blossip (due credits to you and you for this term) we shared last week, but it's interesting, at least for the texture.

When I returned from my holiday in Thailand last December, I brought back three packets of dried mushrooms. Two rotted before I could use them, this held on. 'This' is silver ear mushroom, also known as tremella mushroom, snow fungus, white fungus, white jelly fungus or white tree fungus. I found it in a packaged soup that I had also brought from Thailand where it floated peacefully in the broth, light and hardly there.

Despite my blog being named for soup and the agonised weight watching that I talk about all the time, I am no soupie, so for me this had to go into something substantial. A packet of Pad Thai noodles that came with its own spice mix and some fresh tiger prawns seemed the apt companions for this packet.

I washed the mushrooms and soaked them in water, thinking I needed to do that - all the instructions, if any, on the packet were in Thai. That was my mistake - each mushroom, just a fistful in size, swelled to the size of a sunflower.

I tore them up into pieces and tossed them according to the instructions on the Pad Thai packet with the prawns and the noodles earlier softened in hot water, the spice mix. Then I garnished it with peanuts and coriander.

By evening, it had diminished in volume as the water ... uh ... evaporated. And lay there limp and unappetising in its dish. I ate it with gobs of chilli-tomato sauce to camouflage the bland and woody taste.

Now when I surfed the Net, I found out it's a great health and beauty aid, favoured by none less than "an imperial concubine" who used it for "facial and body maintenance". Read more about it here.

See more pictures here.

23 comments:

  1. I initially thought it was a different kind of lettuce (when i saw the pics), then read thru and realized they were mushrooms....with the peanuts and the noodles, they must have paired beautifully....by the way sra- do they taste like the other mushrooms- or different?

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  2. that is why i no longer promise entries...ummm actually i try not to promise..of-course there are some ppl. i just cannot miss!!...and wow...i would have never thought dried mushrooms would get spoilt in a year!..

    Rajitha

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  3. first I thought it is cabbage curry! looks delicious and colorful sra!

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  4. Happens to the best of us:-))
    I don't think I'd ever buy something that has the word fungus as part of its name.

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  5. The swollen mushroom looks so pretty. Better as a beauty aid than a culinary aid.:)

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  6. Hi Sra
    the post made an interesting reading..well it happens sometimes but atleast you ate some mushroom....forget about its use....hey, you tried , isnt it.

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  7. Actually your dish doesn't look anywhere like a disaster. But that's where a camera can salvage your food (it's look but not its taste). Honestly I couldn't figure out what it was till I read the post!:)
    Personally, I don't like mushroom and give it a wide berth.

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  8. LOL, that looked like cabbage at first glance... So, did you figure out how to cook it properly? I'd have soaked it in water too, at least that's what I thought we should do with all kinds of dried mushrooms... well, you live and learn right? :)

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  9. The dish looks fluffy and nice, did it not taste good?

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  10. No, Priyanka, not beautiful! :(
    They taste bland and somewhat smoky - I didn't like the taste.
    Rajitha, all that foreign exchange, sigh! The packs bloated. I never thought they would go so quickly.
    Uma, it looks, that's all! :( I found out it's used more in dessert - in fact, one of my Japan photos seems to have it, I just realised.
    Jayashree, of course, that's why this was called Silver Ear Mushroom.
    Vidya, you bet! They say it's a weight loss aid - I'm still not going to eat it.
    Anamika, yes, I did. :)
    Aparna, it looks lovely, I know. I'm wondering how to jazz up the leftovers.
    Sig, there are so many wikis thrown up in the Google search but none have a recipe.
    Cynthia, nope, I haven't got used to the taste but then, I found out only last nite, finally, that it's more suitable for dessert.

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  11. hehe..not bad for a first try..at least it was edible and good looking, which is more than I can say for some of my experiments.
    After all, you win some, you gotta lose some :)

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  12. Hmm..thats one sad thing. But Sra the bloomed mushroom looks lovely indeed. And I just imagine u swallowing spoonfuls with tomato sauce (I am mapping u're fave with my little one having the pudding) with that punished look! Oh my! And now I want to check if your beautiful face has got beautier or that u have that "Yuck" expression on u're beautiful face!

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  13. So soon the dessert recipe shud follow!

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  14. Hmmm... very interesting.

    Paz

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  15. It looked like cabbage at first glance.. too bad you didn't like the taste much... :(
    Hot sauce can save anything.. when my dinner in hostel was ruined, there have been many days when I had just rice and chilli-garlic sauce and actually liked it!
    I loved the title and your new current mood picture - cute.. Have a good week ahead Sra :)

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  16. Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. Pity it didn't turn as you liked but the dish looks good. Never had dried mushrooms before.

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  17. Delhibelle, yes, at least it was good-looking! :)
    Ni, I exhausted it all, so no dessert, not unless I go to Thailand again. :)
    Paz, yeah, interesting it definitely was!
    Laavanya, I noticed that mood thing weeks ago on someone else's blog but registrations were closed then, they're open again now
    Ivy, in this case, you aren't missing much. This may be good in dessert, though - I have a feeling I ate this in Japan but was told it was seaweed.

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  18. I thought it was cabbage actually. Pad Thai is a big fav in this house. As long as you have ketchup, life is beautiful!

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  19. Mallika, yes, it's a lifesaver alright!

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  20. you've publicised the imperial concubine's secret. she's gonna be mad. lol.

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  21. Hi,
    this looks very exotic and you got three packets from where Thailand ..Thats interesting !sometimes experimenting things dont turn out the way we always want them to..LOL..
    Happens to me many times LOL..
    Hugs and smiles
    jaya

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  22. Bee, LOL!
    Jaya, yes, that's true - I'm also realising that many 'exotic' foods are no great shakes! But what do I know, I'm probably unsophisticated! ;)

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  23. Sorry I am so slow at catching up on the WHB entries. I had a very rough week going back to school! Have not heard of this mushroom, but sounds like I might pass on it anyway!

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