Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stir-fried shiitake mushroom and octopus

Newsflash: I fell asleep during my pilates exercise today. Fell asleep. Right on my mat.
I started to do exercises a lot recently and they mostly involve aerobics. Other than riding bicycle everyday to my lab, which is only 10 minutes away, I didn`t do any sport. For years. And since my body started to scream out through my waist line and those annoying jiggly parts (and not to mention all those unwearable pants!), I decided to do some regular exercises at home. So I bought some DVDs and one of them is for pilates. I`m doing relatively fine with the aerobics, but the pilates is a lot of work!! I usually spend my energy and time more on laying down, sighing, and practically just watching during the whole pilates program. The instructor`s body must be made of rubber as she looks so, so flexible. And strong too! So, today, like the day before, and before that too, I gave up after only 5 minutes trying to do the sit-ups with both of my legs pulled up. And I just watched and listened to her instructions. Then, next thing I knew, I was awake. Because apparently I fell asleep. He said, "You do know that you should follow what she is doing, don`t you?". Then I knew I was awaken by that noise. Yeah, like he knows how to do that torturing sit-ups.

So that was my humiliating story that I know I shouldn`t have told you all yet I still did. And now is time to share what I cook the most in our kitchen, which has nothing to do with the pilates.
Stir-fried mushroom. With one stove in my kitchen, stir-frying is the simplest cooking method I know that give a dish looks like a real prepared dish. It usually requires a lot of chopping and slicing, but once everything are prepared, the dish is ready almost in no time. And I cook mushrooms a lot. Like almost in every dish. Shiitake is my numero uno of choice because of its nutty note during sauteing and  its meatiness, but I also use maitake, shimeji, and eringgi a lot in my repertoires. 

So, shall we?
Now let`s start with the octopus first. I used boiled octopus, but you can use other fresh  (or boiled) seafood you like. Or meat.

The octopus head has a very stretchy skin, so I just pulled it off and cut it up with my scissors.

Cube the skinless octopus.

Dust the cubes with flour.

And shallow-dry them for a few minutes until they look crisped up and golden. Be careful with the oil splatter. It`s nasty, but I know I just have to go through it.

The fried octopus. Set them aside. We`ll need them later.

I usually stir-fry the boiled octopus without frying it first, but this time I want some texture other than chewiness. And frying gave what I wanted.

Next is to prepare, aka. chopping and slicing, other ingredients before starting the stir-frying.
Onion, some cloves of garlic, and chili. Checked. Sorry, no picture for this one.
Shiitake mushrooms. Trim off the hard tip of the stem, but do use the stem.

Slice up everything into thin strips. Checked.

And shishitou. Japanese green chili. Slice it up. Checked.

Alright, we`re ready now.
Heat a bit of oil on a pan and saute garlic, onion, and chili. Can you smell that?

In the mushroom goes. It might look like a lot at the beginning, but after cooking for a while, the strips will lose their structure and shrink a lot. And when they do, season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can add sugar if you want it to be sweet. 

Throw in the green chili.

And quickly stir in the fried octopus. I love the chili to be slightly crunchy so I don`t want to cook it too long.

Once everything combined, the dish is ready.
Just a little more preparation here. I sometimes sprinkle sesame seeds over the hot steamed rice. Sesame seeds smell best after toasting. But I`m happy enough with the untoasted ones.

Place the stir-fried mushroom over the rice and it`s ready!
I call this a plate of happiness for our Saturday`s dinner.

Enjoy your weekend!

Boiled octopus
Flour (only to lightly coat the octopus)
Shiitake mushrooms
Shishitou (Japanese green chili)
Soy sauce
Oyster sauce


  1. that looks yummm... i have to try eating more octopus :)
    i, too, rarely exercise and use dancing as an excuse LOL

  2. This a beautiful dish. Thanks for sharing.

  3. can't blame you...i almost fell asleep doing body balance...

  4. Wow Oishisooooo! Never thought of this combination! I miss octopus dish in Japan.

  5. This looks delicious! If only I could get my hand on some octopus!