I have a strong memory of me as a kid, alone, sitting in a car parked on the side of a road waiting for my parents for a few hours. Why was I stuck in a car by myself?

The story was that my parents went matsutake (pine mushroom) picking in BC and my mom got lost. So my dad went searching for her and left me in the car in case she found her way back and to prevent me from getting lost. All I remember was that it got dark, I waited for about three hours, and I really had to go pee. In the end, everything ended up OK, we had a bag full of mushrooms and all heads were accounted for.

I went by Fujiya the other day and noticed that they are selling matsutake mushrooms and felt the need to pick up a pair. I took them home and cut them up and made a dish my mother taught me, matsutake gohan (pine mushroom rice).

Basically add cut matsutake mushrooms, carrots, cooked chicken cubes, chicken broth, sake, hon dashi, and soy sauce in your rice cooker and hit cook. My mom would also add some Crown Royal for some reason. There are tons of recipes on the internet.

I tried the matsutake prior to cooking and they weren't as flavourful as I remember them to be. They were actually quite bland and a little firm. Either my memory is off or the grade of the matsutake was very poor.

For those who don't know, the matsutake mushroom is a delicacy in Japan and can fetch a really high price. These two mushrooms were just over 6 bucks at the store but a high quality matsutake can go for 2000 dollars per kg (according to Wiki).

They are a local product and are raved about in Japan so for those two reasons alone you really should try them out. One of those things that if you live in BC you should be able to say that you tried them once.

You could make the rice with shitake mushrooms or any other type of mushroom.



Anonymous said... @ October 16, 2009 at 9:59 AM

I lived in a tiny town in the mountains in Japan for a year. There was this awesome forest in behind my house which I totally wanted to explore. My boss, kind of an anal fellow, was totally worried whenever I was doing anything he didn't have a schedule for, because he thought if anything happened to me he would be responsible. So he would lie to me to keep me from hiking/renting a car/going to Osaka for the weekend. Once of the stupidest and clumsiest lies he told me was that I would be arrested if I went in the forest near my house. I asked him what charge it would be, expecting him to say something like "trespassing"...but instead he said "for poaching matsutake".

Anonymous said... @ October 16, 2009 at 6:46 PM

I loved your entry on matsutake! It brought happy memories for me. My grandparents (formerly of Kitsilano before the war) would go with their friends in the 'wild' of Manitoba to find their treasures. They are all gone now but my Uncle (their son) continues the hunt every year, hiking 3 hours in to find some. This year he only got 12 whereas in years past I remember seeing a picture of my Granny with a whole pile in front of her.

Anonymous said... @ October 27, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Pine mushrooms! My parents friends actually go out and pick these mushrooms on the wknds for money. They make a killing too I think. And we get a ton for free! I used to hate the smell but if cooked right, they're delish! Cool article.

Anonymous said... @ October 30, 2009 at 12:40 AM

For years growing up in the lower mainland(mostly about now Oct-early Nov). I remember annually going Matsutake picking with all Japanese family friends. I however was never really a big fan, because I never really cared to eat Matsutake as it came in rice or as my parents usually broiled it in the oven. Yet still I can never get the smell of fresh Matsutake being cooked, I can never get it enough of it...

- Cheers

your Japanese Team thirsty member and Vancouver slop fan.

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