While mushrooms have been gaining popularity as an adaptogenic superfood in recent years, mushroom powder is actually a gastronomic superstar in its own right. Explains Cameron Stauch, the author of Vegetarian Việt Nam, “While researching my book, I learned that many Vietnamese cooks use vegan mushroom seasoning as a flavor enhancer and to increase the umami, or savoriness, in a dish. This manufactured product contains mushroom powder and essence, salt, vitamin B, and calcium. You’ll find naturally occurring glutamates in many ingredients like ripe tomatoes, miso, seaweed, and of course, dried shiitake mushrooms. Knowing this, I set out to make a quick homemade, natural version to use as an everyday flavor booster.”
Stauch landed on a version that utilizes shiitake mushrooms and a coffee grinder to make an ingredient that quickly elevates home cooking—one that can be, according to Stauch, used for a number of dishes. “I don’t limit the use of mushroom powder in my kitchen to just Vietnamese dishes,” he explains. “I’ve come to rely on it as a seasoning ingredient, like salt and pepper. I’ve recognized when I add it in small amounts, ½ to 1 teaspoon, to dishes, it adds an extra oomph without a noticeable pronounced mushroom flavor. I’ll add a touch more to punch up the richness and earthiness in the recipe when mushrooms are a main ingredient. I look at it as a shortcut to punch up the flavor and to add umami goodness to any recipe.”
Here are a few of his favorite uses:
Giorgio mushrooms pieces and stems .