Bacon wrapped shimeji mushroom kushiyaki with a homemade tare sauce - Diversivore.com

Bacon-wrapped Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki

In Recipe, Shimeji Mushroom by Sean8 Comments

Bacon-Wrapped
Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki

With Scratch-made Tare Sauce

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Grilled meat on a stick. It’s pretty hard to get wrong, but it isn’t the easiest thing in the world to perfect either. Japan has elevated the idea to an art form through the informal, pub-style fare served in izakaya joints.  This bacon-wrapped mushroom kushiyaki takes that simple-but-delicious izakaya mantra and runs with it. Kushiyaki is a Japanese word that combines the words for skewer (kushi) and grilled (yaki).  In a broad sense, the word is used somewhat interchangeably with yakitori, which means grilled chicken, but if an individual food item doesn’t have any chicken (like this one), kushiyaki is the preferred term.

Alright, semantics out of the way, let’s talk about what makes this so good.  Bacon and mushrooms are a classic combination to be sure, but three things come together to make this stand out.  The first is thick cut, great quality bacon.  Bacon gets talked up a lot these days because, well, it’s delicious obviously. But I feel we’re forgetting that not all bacon is created equal – thin, fatty, overly salted bacon doesn’t do a dish like this any favours.  I use a really good, meaty side bacon from my local butcher shop, and I can promise you that it makes a difference.  The second factor is the use of shimeji mushrooms.  They’ve got a really great texture that can convert even the mushroom averse, and a wonderful flavour when grilled.  The third and final factor is also the most important one: good tare sauce.

What’s tare sauce, you ask?  Tare (pronounced TAH-ray) is the word we should be using when we talk about teriyaki sauce.  Tare sauces in Japan fall into that perennial work-in-progress category; they’re left bubbling beside the grill, continually being used to flavour dishes, which in turn are continually adding drippings and their own flavourings back into the sauce.  Because of this some tare sauces can be years old.

Tare, or more accurately teriyaki has crossed culinary borders so successfully that sauces based on it can be found in virtually any grocery store.  But as is so often the case, the commercially available varieties pale in comparison to something home-made in a traditional style.  Honestly, I have no idea why so many of these preparations cut corners (most are little more than sweetened soy sauce).  It’s a ridiculously simple sauce to make, and its easy enough to tweak based on your personal preferences – all you need are a few basic Japanese pantry staples.  Trust me, the end result is miles ahead of store-bought teriyaki – subtle, balanced, and generally speaking far less sugary.  Plus, it’s a great way to use up the tops of your scallions/green onions after one-too-many recipes have called for you to use the white portions alone.

One last note – this might be one of the few situations where a Japanese-style dish will be better outside of Japan.  Bacon in Japan tends to be a different, much leaner cut, and cooked to a point that most North Americans would consider rare.  To each their own of course, but I think that this dish might be a candidate for a bit of cultural exchange.

Recipe Notes

The addition of garlic and onion greens to the sauce is not necessarily common in Japan, but I think it helps to develop the flavour and round things out a little. You can make the tare with or without these ingredients to see what you prefer. If you’re looking to take your tare game a step further, brown some chicken bones (leg bones are best) under a broiler and add them to the sauce.

Mirin is supposed to be a sweet cooking rice wine, but outside of Japan many brands are more like simple syrups. I use a Japanese mirin brand that contains alcohol and a moderate amount of sugar. Many of the more readily available brands in North America don’t have any alcohol in them, but do contain a LOT of sugar. If you’re stuck using one of the more syrupy varieties, reduced the amount of sugar you use (to taste), and add a bit more sake. Alternately, replace the mirin with sweetened sake (for more on this, check out the Diversivore pantry page on mirin).

When grilling these, you’ll probably want to cook on a stovetop grill or in an open barbecue. The amount of fat that renders out of the bacon makes it prone to flaring up on the grill, so you’ll want to be able to watch these carefully.


Nutrition Facts
Bacon-wrapped Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki
Amount Per Serving
Calories 183 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.02g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 1696mg 71%
Potassium 192mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 5g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 0.04%
Vitamin C 9%
Calcium 0.4%
Iron 5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

Note that the nutritional information assumes that you’ll use about half of the tare sauce to make/dip these.  If you use a lot more, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

GOOD NEWS:
This is basically a snack or side dish, but even if you have a fair bit it’s still surprisingly low in fat (especially for a dish with bacon).  Note that the fat content is kept under control by cooking long enough to render a good portion out.  Don’t take them off until the bacon is nicely browned and a little crispy.

BAD NEWS:
Sodium, my old nemesis.  The tare is soy-sauce (or tamari) based, plus there’s bacon, so there’s a lot of salt.

TRIM IT DOWN:
Try using a reduced-sodium brand if you like. Note the comment above about cooking the bacon long enough, as it will help cut the fat content.

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5 from 1 vote
Bacon wrapped shimeji mushroom kushiyaki with a homemade tare sauce - Diversivore.com
Bacon-wrapped Shimeji Mushroom Kushiyaki
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 
Bacon's never a bad idea. Especially not when it gets to partner with a fantastic, flavourful, just-sweet-enough Japanese tare (teriyaki) sauce.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Servings: 6 skewers
Calories: 183 kcal
Ingredients
Kushiyaki
  • 200 g shimeji mushrooms (brown or white)
  • 16 strips thick cut bacon
Tare Sauce
  • 1 cup shoyu (soy sauce) or tamari
  • 1/2 cup mirin (see note)
  • 1/2 cup sake
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 15 g ginger (~4 cm/1.5 inch, thinly sliced)
  • 30 g scallions (about 5-6 stalks, green portion only)
  • 4 garlic cloves (~15 g)
Instructions
Tare Sauce
  1. Combine the liquid ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the ginger, scallions and garlic cloves and simmer over medium-high heat until the sauce is reduced by about half (about 15-20 minutes). It should be glossy and relatively thick. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the solids and store the sauce in a sealed container. It can be refrigerated for up to a month.
Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms
  1. If using wooden/bamboo skewers, soak them in water for at least 1 hour beforehand. Or just use metal skewers.
  2. Heat your grill/barbecue to 350 F, assuming your it has an upper rack. If you don't have an upper rack, heat the grill to a lower temperature, about 275 F.
  3. Gently clean and trim the shimeji mushrooms, then separate them into small bundles (5-6 mushrooms, depending on the size).
  4. Wrap a bundle of shimeji mushroom stems with a strip of bacon, then thread the bundle onto a skewer. Repeat with all remaining mushrooms.
  5. Use a small brush to baste the mushroom/bacon wraps with tare sauce.
  6. Place the mushroom skewers on the upper rack of the barbecue and cook for 10-15 minutes, periodically turning and brushing on more tare sauce. If you don't have an upper rack, cook directly on the grill over lower heat.
  7. Remove the mushroom bundles from their skewers and serve with extra tare sauce for dipping.
Recipe Notes

Mirin is supposed to be a sweet cooking rice wine, but outside of Japan many brands are more like simple syrups. I use a Japanese mirin brand that contains alcohol and a moderate amount of sugar. Many of the more readily available brands in North America don't have any alcohol in them, but do contain a LOT of sugar. If you're stuck using one of the more syrupy varieties, reduced the amount of sugar you use (to taste), and add a bit more sake.

Comments

  1. Very yummy looking! How many bundles are you putting on each skewer? looks like there are 4 on each one. I have 8 coming to dinner and was trying to figure our how many I need to make as an appetizer. It says 6 skewers but 16 pieces of bacon. thanks for any assistance you can offer. 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Renee! The number you use will depend a bit on how long your skewers are, but you could put 3 or 4 bundles on each one, depending on how big you make them. It’s a pretty simple and flexible recipe that way. I think I photographed a few 4-bundle skewers just because they looked better! 😀 If you’re making it as an appetizer though, I think 3 medium-sized mushroom bundles per skewer is a good way to go, so you’d need 24 pieces of bacon (and more mushrooms obviously). It doesn’t hurt to err on the side of too many though – they tend to get gobbled up pretty fast!

      If you’ve got thick bacon you’ll be able to pack the bundles a little tighter (and possibly a little larger), so take that into consideration too. I hope that helps, and I hope they’re a hit! Cheers!

  2. I saw the “bacon wrapped” and knew this was something I needed to check out, especially for my husband. Love the flavour combinations! Saving to try later. Enjoy your weekend 🙂

  3. Delicious ! My mouth is watering !! The years-old tare sauce reminds me of the marinade that Chinese people use to braise beef or duck which is also used over and over again. Thanks for sharing, Sean !

  4. I had no idea!! Great, now when I go to our local izakaya, Shokunin, I have the proper terminology. He does mostly specialize in yakitori, but there are other foods on a stick as well…
    One can never have enough recipes for sauces either…pinning this one.
    Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if one day the FBC conference was here and I could take you to Shokunin?

    1. Author

      Bernice, I’m CRAZY late replying to this comment, but YES. YES to going to Shokunin! Haha. And the FBC conference in Calgary would be dynamite, as it’s closer to home and I have a free place to stay. Lol. So fingers crossed!

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