For Better Mushroom Texture, Press Out Extra Liquid After Steaming

Nobody likes a slimy mushroom, and whether it's your typical portobello or a delicacy like jian shou qing, achieving a meaty texture that highlights their savory flavors is everything when you're serving up fungi. Added to everything from pizza to soups and burritos to burgers, mushrooms have the power to make or break your meal. To get a better mushroom texture that will elevate all of your favorite foods — and is never, ever slimy — the best thing you can do is press out any of the extra liquid they're holding onto after you steam them.

Steaming might not seem like the way to go if you're trying to avoid something slimy, but it's actually the first step many chefs take when they're making dishes that feature mushrooms. A quick steam before sautéing mushrooms collapses the fungi and draws out the moisture from within them. Afterward, they'll just need a bit of cooking time for the liquid to evaporate. Then, you can continue to let them brown in the pan or prepare them another way — but, if you want an extra meaty texture, press out the extra liquid from them first. 

Whether you're roasting, sautéing, or frying, a quick preliminary steam ensures that your mushrooms won't absorb any of the cooking oil you use. Pressing out the moisture by squeezing them between two paper towels is an extra step you can take to make sure that they come out extra dense and meaty, making them the perfect meat alternative for your vegetarian dishes.

Meaty mushrooms are a vegetarian's best friend

There's a reason why mushroom cultivation is a booming craft among many chefs. Not only are these fungi incredibly simple to grow within small, urban spaces, but they're a gateway ingredient to building a more plant-based, vegetarian-friendly menu. Varieties like lion's mane, portobellos, enokis, and king oysters are all revered for their meaty textures, and they've been used to make plant-based iterations of everything from fried chicken to carne asada. 

Giving them a steam and pressing out the extra liquid from them afterward will only make the versions you make at home taste that much more like the real thing. So, next time you set out to make vegan carne asada tacos, or fry an enoki for your ramen, try breaking out your steaming pan first. Give your mushrooms a rinse and add them to the pan with some water and cover them with a lid. 

Then, after about 15 minutes, take off the lid and cook the mushrooms until all the leftover water has evaporated from the pan. Before you go forward with sautéing or frying, give them a little squeeze between paper towels or a clean towel to remove any of the liquid inside of them. They'll cook up much better — and they're guaranteed not to come out slimy.