Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shamu is Delicious

Mario up there is holding the most expensive mushroom in the entire world, known as the Matsutake mushroom everywhere but Bhutan, where it is called the Sangay Shamu mushroom ("Sangay" being another name for Buddha, "shamu" meaning mushroom). It costs about $7 (US) for a kg in Bhutan. That's about 10x cheaper than the cheapest stuff elsewhere, and 300x cheaper than the top-grade stuff from the Japanese heartland. In fact, the price disparity is so great that each year there are Japanese people who fly into Bhutan (paying the tourist tax, mind you) just to go mushroom shopping.

It is quite tasty. A bit spicy in a not-hot way on top of the usual umami and mushroom-ness of normal mushrooms. Is it worth the price of sending your child to community college? Only if you're the kind of person who thinks that the difference between a premium bottle of wine and your average bottle is worth $300.

Four recipes:

Fried Sangay Shamu

Chop your Sangay Shamu up into bits and add them to any fried dish you're making, such as french fries. Note: This process will destroy the unique flavor of Sangay Shamu. Further note: This will also taste bad.

Sangay Shamu with Peanut Sauce

Make peanut sauce. Then cut up your Sangay Shamu into thin slices and pour the peanut sauce on them.

Sangay Shamu Mu-shu

Make a mu-shu dish. Add strips of Sangay Shamu at some point.

Sangay Shamu Datshi

Boil Sangay Shamu, chilies, garlic paste, and some onions for about 15 minutes, then add cheese. Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then stir. Also works great as the base of the Ngawang Yeshey.

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