This is a traditional dish made by matsutake hunters while in the woods. A cast iron pot is perfect for cooking it, whether indoors or out. I adapted the recipe from one in Hsiao-Ching Chou’s informative article on matsutakes from the October 13, 2004 Seattle Post-Intelligencer with a few minor modifications. If not using a single pot in the field, take the time to cook your noodles separately. I use both napa cabbage and bok choy, and mirin adds sweetness to the broth. Despite the long list of ingredients, this is a nearly foolproof dish and it’s fast.
4 cups beef stock
3/4 cup sake
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 bunch green onions
2 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1 cup napa cabbage, shredded
1 cup bok choy, shredded
8 ounces matsutake mushrooms, brushed clean, trimmed and thinly sliced
8 ounces bean thread or cellophane noodles, cooked
1 package (about 14 ounces) firm tofu, cubed (optional)
1 pound thinly sliced beef
1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
1. Combine the stock, sake, mirin and soy sauce in a pot or kettle and warm over medium heat. Thinly slice enough of the green onion tops to make 1/4 cup; set aside for garnish. Cut the remaining green onions in half.
2. Heat peanut oil in wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the green onions (minus the garnish), yellow onion, cabbage, bok choy and matsutakes, and stir-fry until they begin to soften, 3–5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables and fungi to the broth along with optional tofu cubes, and keep warm over low heat.
3. Cook the beef quickly in batches, just until nicely browned, 30–60 seconds on each side, drizzling about 2 Tablespoons of the warm broth and 1 teaspoon of the sugar over when you turn the meat. Bunch these pieces to one side of the wok/skillet and continue with the remaining meat.
4. Cook noodles separately, then add to bowl and ladle hot broth, mushrooms, tofu and vegetables over noodles. Top with beef slices and drizzle some of the cooking liquids. Sprinkle with a garnish of green onion.
Read how to forage for these mushrooms here.