Recipe For Health
by Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski, MSU Residential Dining Services
Featured Food: Shiitake Mushrooms Yield: Serves 6 Learn more about Shiitake Mushrooms


  • 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • ½ oz. dried kombu, rinsed well
  • 1 c. small diced onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 3 qt. of water
  • 2 T. butter (for vegan preparation, eliminate butter and use more olive oil)
  • 4 T. (6 T. for vegan preparation) olive oil
  • ¼ c. of thinly sliced shallots
  • ¼ c. finely diced carrots
  • 1 T. minced ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. thinly sliced green onions


Snip off the stems of the fresh shiitake mushrooms; slice mushroom caps and set them aside. In a stockpot, combine the stems, dried shiitake mushrooms, kombu, onions, smashed garlic cloves, and water; simmer for about an hour. Line a strainer with a coffee filter; pour liquid through pressing on the solids. Set the liquid aside.

In a sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter (if using); add 2 T. (for vegan preparation, use 4 T.) of oil. Lightly sauté sliced mushrooms, shallots, and carrots for 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for another minute.

Deglaze pot with reserved mushroom liquid. Keep consommé warm until ready to serve. Add salt to taste. Add cilantro. Ladle into bowls and top each with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of green onions.

Learn More About Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake (she-TAH-kay) mushrooms are the world’s most flavorful cultivated (not wild) mushroom. Their intensity—estimated at 10 times that of white button mushrooms—is the very definition of umami.

Umami is often referred to as the fifth taste—the first four being sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Japanese for “delicious taste,” umami is the savory taste sensation you long for and may seek without even thinking about it.  

For centuries, Asian cuisine has valued shiitakes for their umami. With the exception of dried shiitakes, labeled as Japanese or Chinese dried mushrooms, shiitakes are relative newcomers to the US market.   

Dried shiitake mushrooms can be stored indefinitely in your pantry. To reconstitute, place the amount you need in a small bowl and cover with water; microwave on high for 30 seconds, and let steep for 5 minutes. Use both the reconstituted mushrooms and the soaking water, but strain the water through a paper towel first. While the texture of reconstituted dried shiitakes is not the same as fresh, their flavor contribution is greater. 

Fresh shiitake mushrooms have umbrella-shaped caps that are dappled in brown tones with creamy-white undersides and a woodsy smell. The stem looks too small to support such a wide top, and it would be if not for its woody texture. A package of shiitakes will have a variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Avoid shiitakes that have bulbous stems, broken caps, yellow undersides, or ammonia-like odor. Keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. To prepare, wipe with a damp cloth, remove the stem, chop or slice the caps, and sauté. The stems are too woody to eat, but don’t throw them out! They add delicious flavor to stocks and sauces.  

Chef’s combination of seaweed (kombu), shiitakes—both fresh and dried, and several key vegetables amp up the umami in this month’s delicious consommé. Prepare yourself for a flavor explosion! 

Peggy Crum MA, RD

Featured Recipes

What's on hand

Oatmeal Bars

Looking into my pantry with the idea of wanting something chewy and yummy, a little something to go with my morning cup of coffee, I found the ingredients to make these delicious cookie bars.

What's on hand

Pasta with Meatballs and Spinach

My inspiration came from a container of spinach in the fridge that needed to be used. I searched my memory bank of recipes and considered my stash. After making several adjustments in the original recipe from Cook's Illustrated, this turned out SO GOOD!

What's on hand

No-knead Bread

Need bread? Just 4 ingredients - flour, yeast, salt and water - a covered pot in a hot oven, and you're in business. It takes very little effort - only time. With more time at home, it may be just the bread you need.

Culinary Cooking and Concepts

Sweet Potato, Nut, & Cherry Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette

All the tastes of Thanksgiving served on a bed of greens. Delightful!

More Food and Nutrition Recipes

Find a Recipe

Browse all recipes

Find a Class

Browse all courses

Search Health4U

Coaching and Counseling Services

Coaching and Counseling Services provides you with access to accurate health and lifestyle information, helping you to explore new behaviors and skills, and identifying useful campus and community resources.

MSU community members eligible for coaching and counseling services include faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and retirees

Read More

Departmental Services

The goal of department based services is to provide work units and colleagues the opportunity to learn about health and wellness as a group activity or exploration.  

Read More

Health e-Guide

Your one stop resource for reliable medical information. Explore Health Topic information for specific health concerns. Interactive Tools uses your responses to questions to help with making medical decisions,  and Learning Centers can provide a more complete understanding of medical concerns.

Visit Health e-Guide