What Are Enoki Mushrooms?

A Guide to Buying, Cooking, and Storing Enoki Mushrooms.

Enoki mushrooms are a type of long, thin white mushroom with a mild flavor and crisp texture that is popular in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. They’re usually offered in bunches and are used in soups, stir-fries, hot pots, salads, and other cuisines.

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What’s an enoki mushroom?

You’ve probably seen enoki mushrooms in photos of ramen or hot pot: they look like long, white noodles. Here’s what you should know about this species:

  • The enoki mushroom is a kind of edible fungus that resembles long strings of noodles. Enoki mushrooms are commonly used in Japanese cuisine as enokitake, and in Chinese cuisine as golden needle or lily mushrooms.
  • Where can I locate it? This variety of mushroom may be found at select grocery stores, health food stores, and Asian grocery stores. It’s also available at farmer’s markets.
  • How does an enoki mushroom taste? The thin threads of this mushroom give it a crispness and a delicate, savory flavor. You can eat it raw or sautéed in salads, or add it uncooked into ramen or hot pot and it will cook right in the broth.

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Flammulina velutipes, often known as golden needle mushrooms, lily mushrooms, or enokitake, is a species of edible fungus that grows naturally on tree stumps from late fall to early spring. The commercially developed cultivars differ greatly from the wild types. Cultivated enoki mushrooms are cultivated in a CO2-rich atmosphere without light, resulting in a pale white mushroom with long, thin stems up to five inches tall and tiny caps.

Because their roots are united, the individual stems develop from a single, interconnected mass at the base. The mushrooms are offered with the root base attached, however it must be removed before use.

Enoki mushrooms have a mild, nutty, somewhat fruity taste and a crisp, slightly chewy texture when cooked. They’re simple to prepare and go great with soups and stews, stir-fries, hot pots, ramen and soba, omelets, rice dishes, sushi, spring rolls, and curries. Enoki mushroom bites are occasionally wrapped in bacon, grilled, and served with a spicy sauce. They are also delicious fresh in salads.

In Japan, enoki mushrooms are commonly used to make a savory-sweet condiment known as nametake. Nametake, a popular condiment made by boiling fresh enoki mushrooms with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and rice vinegar, is made by simmering fresh enoki mushrooms with soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and rice vinegar.

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Benefits of Enoki Mushrooms

1. Highly nutritious

One cup (65 grams) of raw enoki mushrooms contains :

  • Calories: 24
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Niacin: 29% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Pantothenic acid: 18% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 12% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 8% of the DV
  • Folate: 8% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 6% of the DV

2. Rich in antioxidants

Enoki mushrooms are high in antioxidants. These substances can aid in the neutralization of damaging free radicals, therefore protecting your cells from damage and oxidative stress.

Furthermore, antioxidants may aid in the prevention of numerous chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
According to one study, enoki mushrooms contain a range of antioxidants, including:

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3. May slow cancer cell growth

Although additional study in people is needed, certain in vitro studies indicate that enoki mushrooms may have potent cancer-fighting effects. One older test-tube research, for example, found that enoki mushroom extract may have inhibited the development of liver cancer cells.

Another test-tube study looked at the effects of eight medicinal mushroom extracts, including enoki mushrooms, and discovered that all of them may have reduced the spread of breast and cervical cancer cells.

In addition, a previous test-tube research discovered that some chemicals isolated from enoki mushrooms may inhibit the development of stomach cancer cells by up to 95%.

4. May support heart health

According to research, enoki mushrooms can assist support numerous elements of heart health.

For example, in one animal research, hamsters given enoki mushroom extract or powder exhibited lower levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL (bad) cholesterol than those in a control group.

Another test-tube research showed that enoki mushrooms’ antioxidant content may help reduce the growth of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for heart disease defined by the formation of fatty plaque in the arteries.

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5. May improve brain function

Surprisingly, a new study has discovered that enoki mushrooms may improve brain function and memory. In one animal research, chemicals derived from enoki mushrooms protected against learning and memory deficits produced by a specific medicine linked to memory loss.

Furthermore, the enoki mushroom extract trial therapy raised levels of some antioxidants and neurotransmitters in the brain.

How to store and clean Enoki Mushrooms

What’s the best method to keep enoki mushrooms fresh once you’ve purchased them? And how should they be cleaned before cooking?

  • Refrigerate the mushrooms in a paper bag in the fridge (not produce drawer). Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag that enables them to breathe. To obtain excellent ventilation, place them in the main portion of the refrigerator rather than the produce drawer.
  • A simple rinse will do the trick. Rinse the mushrooms briefly to remove any dirt (do not soak them as they will turn mushy).

How to cook this enoki mushroom recipe

Are you ready to start cooking? Try this recipe for Sauteed Enoki Mushrooms! It results in a delicious pan of ultra-savory, umami-packed mushrooms. In fact, I couldn’t get enough of them.

I kept sneaking back to the pan after Alex took these photographs and ended up devouring them all before he could. Even better, this delicate mushroom just takes 2 minutes to cook! Here’s what you’ll do (or move ahead to the recipe):

  • Remove the root from the bottom of the bunch. You’ll observe that the enoki mushrooms are grouped together with a bottom root. Before you use them, cut that off!
  • Cook for 1 minute on medium heat. For sautéing, we like to use regular sesame oil, not toasted sesame oil (which is used in small quantities for adding flavor).
  • Cook for 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce. This variety of mushroom is nearly finished since it is extremely fragile! It just takes 30 seconds to complete. They’re ready to enjoy with tamari or soy sauce!

More ways to serve enoki mushrooms

Don’t feel like making sautéed enoki mushrooms? There are several more solutions that do not require separate cooking. Here’s what you should do:

  • Ramen: Add to ramen soup in the final five minutes of cooking. Easy Vegetarian Ramen, Vegan Mushroom Ramen, Tofu Ramen, or Miso Ramen are all good options.
  • Try them in a hot saucepan and drop them in straight away.
  • Salad: Make a Golden Needle Mushroom Salad with them uncooked.

What Do enoki mushrooms Taste Like

The flavor of enoki mushrooms is moderate, earthy, somewhat sweet, and fruity. When fresh and briefly cooked, their texture is crisp, becoming chewier as they simmer longer. They go nicely with soy sauce, lemongrass, garlic, miso, ginger, and seaweed.

Enoki Mushroom Recipes

Try adding enoki mushroom to these noodle and hot pot dishes. 

  • Asian Beef Ramen
  • Soba Noodle Salad
  • Seafood and Vegetable Hot Pot

Where to Buy Enoki Mushrooms

Enoki mushrooms are available in Asian grocery stores as well as specialized food stores such as Whole Foods and other supermarket stores. They may also be purchased online, either fresh or dried. Enoki mushrooms are often offered in plastic packaging, making inspection more difficult, but choose ones that are dry and solid, with a dazzling white hue and a fresh look, rather than slimy, mushy, or discolored.