One of the great joys about making food; is in the gathering/marketing experience. Where I live in Singapore, the local markets give you the freshest produce at unbeatable prices. You’re talking about stalls crammed with fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood.
Sure, in peak periods, especially on Tuesday mornings (local markets are usually closed on Mondays) the markets get very crowded, a little stinky from the smells of raw fish, chicken and seafood, but shopping here is a cooks’ dream – the produce is really fresh and you get to see the food gutted and prepared in front of you – in all its glory!
My favourite market is the Chinatown one, it happens to be nearest me and for vegetable and seafood lovers, this is – THE MARKET for you! Here you can find many Malaysian grown vegetables (which is for many of us as good as locally grown) and all kinds of sea farmed fresh prawns and fishes. (If you would like to buy locally grown organic vegetables I would recommend the Zenxin vegetable store located at Tiong Bahru market.)
This recipe was inspired by one such market trip, and shopping at my regular vegetable vendor, who showed me a fresh pack of Jews ears also known as black fungus.
Jews ears/black fungus – Did you know Jews ears/black fungus is a mushroom? This edible mushroom grows mostly on elder trees and looks like an ear. It was so named as it is believed that Judas Iscariot hung himself on an elder tree. (Oh my, the origins of this name was so hard to explain to my young daughter who got so curious about this weird looking mushroom!)
Jews ears are pretty popular in Asia, common methods of cooking them include adding them to stews, cutting into strips for hot and sour soup, steaming them with fish or chicken.
Lesser known are its medical properties, which include cold and flu support, cholesterol management and even thyroid gland support. Click here for the full list of benefits.
If you aren’t a fan of gelatinous foods, Jews ears can take some adjusting to. The rubbery texture can be reduced if you are cooking them for a longer time 30-40 minutes in a stew or soup. I’m using them raw in this recipe, so make sure you give them a good wash and cut off any of the woody parts that remind you of the forest.
Oyster mushrooms – One of the mushrooms being studied as a possible defense against HIV, it’s high antioxidant, anti bacterial, and anti microbial properties can be life saving.
Shimeji mushrooms – According to the national center institute of Japan this mushroom contains beta-glucans which has been used as a successful remedy for retarding and destroying growing tumors. Shimeji mushrooms also enhance the immune system and can help with diabetes, asthma and certain allergies!
Goji berries – This amazing little fruit contains immune boosting – natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. It’s also high in amino acids (has the highest concentration of protein in a fruit), it’s naturally rich in iron (its iron content is 15 times that of spinach), as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and other important trace minerals.
Taste wise, goji berries are delicious and adaptable to any meal, they can be eaten raw, dried or soaked – and can be easily incorporated to muesli, salads, snacks, smoothies and soups!
This is the kind of salad that is fun to make, layer upon layer of good for you deliciousness…yum! It’s has the slightly sour, a little spicy zing to it – the seared/roasted mushrooms provide a depth of smoky flavour, whilst retaining the silkiness of the mushrooms, and the Jews ears add an unexpected jelly like crunch. To make this salad even more wonderful, I added some in season Spanish pomegranate seeds; the Spanish variety of pomegranate seeds are divine little drops of sweet and tart – the other varieties available are Egyptian, it’s easy to identify those as they are larger in size, its seeds have pith and they are less sweet in general. They really are better for juicing trust me!
And for meat lovers, this salad is a real treat because roasted mushrooms with a little seasoning on them do taste a lot like meat (to me!) after the cook!
Save your leftovers and make a great take away lunch for the next day!
Show us your Tri-shrooms Goji Immune Boosting salad variations at #taystesg
Tri-shrooms Goji Immune Boosting Salad
8 pieces fresh Jews ears also known as black fungus
1 handful of oyster mushrooms & 1 punnet shimeji mushrooms
1 tablespoon goji berries
2 cups cooked cold brown rice (I used Japanese brown rice)
2 cups raw bok choy (organic preferred)
Oyster and shimeji mushrooms quick seasoning- a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, pepper and raw sugar
4 teaspoons gluten free tamari or substitute with soya sauce(if you have no wheat sensitivities)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sambal/siracha or any other hot sauce
1 large lemon juiced
Optional additions – Spanish pomegranate or mandarin wedges
Precook your brown rice a few hours before or the day before. I use a ratio of 1 cup of rice to 1.2 cups of water, most of the time I use my rice cooker, I let the rice cool down completely before I store it in the refrigerator. Set aside 2 cups of the brown rice.
Prep and set aside
Oyster and shimeji mushrooms – Toss with olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and raw sugar. Bake in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes. Or flash fry them in a pan with high heat to give the mushrooms a quick sear.
Fresh Jews ears – Give them a quick wash, cut off the woody hard bits at the back of the Jews ears. After that, soak them in a bowl of hot water, for a few minutes, as an extra step to soften them up a little, before slicing them into thin strips.
Dried Jews ears – If using these instead of the fresh versions, soak them in hot water for a good 15 minutes, or until soft, and then slice into thin strips.
Goji berries – Soak in hot water until soft. Drain goji berries pieces after, you may drink the remaining goji berry water as a tea.
Bok choy – Wash and slice into 2cm pieces.
Prepare dressing by mixing tamari, olive oil, sesame oil, sambal/hot sauce and the juice of 1 large lemon.
Marinate the prepped Jews ears and goji berries with some of the prepared dressing in a separate bowl, this is to allow the Jews ears and goji berries to be fully coated with the dressing.
Portion out your ingredients and plate up your salad now, starting with the brown rice as the first layer, follow on with the bok choy, oyster and shimeji mushrooms, marinated Jews ears, goji berries and a generous sprinkling of Spanish pomegranates or mandarin wedges.
Drizzle over your salad dressing as the final touch!
If you would like some additional crunch for texture to your Tri-shrooms salad, you could add some crispy seaweed, puffed brown rice or even pumpkin seeds.
If you would like to add a first class protein to this dish, roasted chicken, beef or lamb would go nicely with it.
Vegan option – You can also substitute the brown rice for quinoa if you would like higher protein content in this dish.