The shiitake is an edible mushroom native to East Asia, which is cultivated and consumed in many countries, especially Asian. It is considered a medicinal mushroom in some forms of traditional medicine.
Fresh and dried shiitake have many uses in the cuisines of East Asia. In Japan, they are served in miso soup, used as the basis for a kind of vegetarian dashi, and as an ingredient in many steamed and simmered dishes. In Chinese cuisine, they are often sautéed in vegetarian dishes such as Buddha’s delight.
One type of high-grade shiitake is called donko (冬菇) in Japanese and dōnggū in Chinese, literally “winter mushroom”. Another high-grade of mushroom is called huāgū (花菇) in Chinese, literally “flower mushroom”, which has a flower-like cracking pattern on the mushroom’s upper surface. Both of these are produced at lower temperatures.
In a 100 gram amount, raw shiitake mushrooms provide 34 calories and are 90% water, 7% carbohydrates, 2% protein and less than 1% fat. Raw shiitake mushrooms are rich sources (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of B vitamins and contain moderate levels of some dietary minerals. When dried to about 10% water, the contents of numerous nutrients increase substantially.
Like all mushrooms, shiitakes produce vitamin D2 upon exposure of their internal ergosterol to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight or broadband UVB fluorescent tubes.