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Monday, January 2, 2012

OYSTER MUSHROOMS - GOURMET TREATS: HEALTH BENEFITS AND RECIPE WITH OYSTER MUSHROOMS


OYSTER MUSHROOMS, PLEUROTUS OSTREATUS
I have always been a fan of oyster mushrooms, but you can’t imagine my delight when my husband came back with a couple of packets of these instead of the usual button mushrooms, or khombi as they are known here in Pakistan. I like them almost as much as chanterelles. (They are also much cheaper here than elsewhere in the world.)
  Oyster mushrooms grow on trees or wood in layers, and because they take their nutrients form their host the caps may come in different colours, dark brown, white, pink, yellow or grey. (Mine were white.) These have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for more than 3,000 years, and of course have been eaten for much longer than that. These mushrooms may be eaten raw or cooked and have a meaty texture. You can simply cook them in butter or in an omelette, or throw them into casseroles, soups and stews without frying them first which is how I cook them. Use them in recipes which call for mushrooms without specifying the variety.
  If you have ever had a Guinness, beef and oyster pie, then you will know the texture of the oyster, and I think this is the reason these mushrooms have been given that name. They don’t really taste of oysters, and don’t really look like them, but the texture is much the same.
  All mushrooms contain ergothionine which has potent antioxidant properties, which help keep our body cells healthy and free from the ravages of free-radicals which can damage healthy cells and cause them to become cancerous. These properties also help our cardio-vascular system. Oyster mushrooms also contain lovastin which is found in cholesterol-lowering drugs. They also have antiviral and antibacterial properties, so are very good for our health as they can help stimulate the immune system.
   Oyster mushrooms contain an active compound, benzaldehyde, which has antibacterial properties, and it also has some antiviral activities too. They are a good source of B-complex vitamins, particularly riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3) as well as thiamin (B1) and pantothenic acid. As for minerals, they are good for your daily intake of iron, phosphorous, and calcium and they also contain most of the other minerals the body needs, such as zinc and selenium. They also contain some vitamin C and amino acids. They contain a little unsaturated or good fat and give you more protein per serving than meat without the fat and cholesterol, and as they don’t have to be fried, you are in a winning situation if you add them to a calorie controlled diet.
  The terpenoids in mushrooms have demonstrable anti-inflammatory properties and research in ongoing into the other health benefits that mushrooms may have. It seems that there are some polysaccharides in them which have exhibited antitumour properties, so eating mushrooms, and particularly these oyster mushrooms, can have great health benefits if you eat them regularly.

Tasty Beef and Oyster Mushroom Sauce for Pasta
Ingredients
250 gr minced (ground) beef
200 gr oyster mushrooms sliced into medium-sized pieces,
2 onions, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 dstsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
1 handful shredded fresh coriander leaves
olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
broccoli florets or spinach (otional)

Method
Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, chilli powder,turmeric and coriander seeds, and fry for a minute.
Add the onion and garlic and fry until the onion is translucent.
Add the beef and cook until it is no longer pink.
Put the tomatoes in the pan and add about 2 glasses of water.
Bring to the boil and add the salt and pepper. Now add the mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce along with the green vegetables if you are using them.
Cook for twenty minutes and leave to settle with the lid on while you cook the pasta,
Stir in the coriander leaves, reheat and serve with pasta.
This has Taste and is a Treat.



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