Nameko Mushrooms: The Nutty Fungi

Nameko mushrooms, known scientifically as Pholiota microspora, are a popular ingredient throughout Japan where they are beloved for their uniquely slippery texture and earthy sweet flavor. Whether dried or fresh, nameko mushrooms make a great addition to nearly any dish. 

Where do Nameko Mushrooms Grow?

Found predominantly in Japan, nameko mushrooms are also a popular ingredient in China and Russia, and found occasionally in the United States where they are known as “butterscotch mushrooms”. Nameko mushrooms are small in size with caps only slightly larger than a thumbnail. 

Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay 

What do Nameko Mushrooms Taste Like?

Nameko mushrooms are notable for their unique texture, which is gelatinous and slippery. These mushrooms have dark amber or orange caps with smooth white stems. In flavor, they have a slight woody nuttiness with an underlying sweet aroma, which is why they earned their candy-like nickname.  In Japan, nameko mushrooms are often added to miso soup or hot pot dishes. 

How to Incorporate Nameko Mushrooms Into Your Own Meals

Traditionally, nameko mushrooms are simply added to hot broth or soups and boiled gently until cooked. Nameko mushrooms can also be sauted, stir fried, or roasted. The easiest way to incorporate nameko mushrooms is to stir them into soups during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking. The additional benefit of nameko mushrooms is not only their flavor, but they also add some thickening agents due to their jelly-like consistency. 

Add nameko mushrooms to Spicy Miso Chicken Noodle Soup for some additional eathiness or into Lemongrass Wonton Soup. Nameko mushrooms also play well with other types of mushrooms in a wide variety of cuisines. Try adding nameko mushrooms to our recipe for Make Ahead Risotto with Pancetta and Mushrooms to add additional flavor and texture. 

Where to Buy Nameko Mushrooms?

Nameko mushrooms can be difficult to find in the United States, but luckily they are fairly easy to cultivate, so even if you can’t find them in stores, you may be able to grow your own. There are plenty of online retailers that sell nameko mushrooms or try finding them in your local Japanese grocery store. 

Feature Image: Pix from Pixabay 

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