It is autumn and the evenings are becoming darker. It is the season for mushrooms and many people really miss mushrooms when following the low fodmap diet. But if you are following the Kings College Low FODMAP diet oyster mushrooms are suitable. They are not as available as a few years ago and are now usually found in the section labelled up as wild mushrooms – so perhaps suitable for a treat only.
Mushrooms have an umami flavour – an earthy, complex meaty flavour that is very important particularly if you are vegan and missing the deep, rich flavour that meat offers. Mushroom also offers a texture that is robust, filling and satisfying. This is the flavour provided by glutamate (the natural variant of mono-sodium glutamate – MSG, a food additive) a chemical that in the past has been implicated in Chinese or Asian food intolerance or ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’. It might be the FODMAP content rather than the glutamate that lead to perhaps some gastrointestinal upset in some people and not specifically the glutamate content – we have no evidence that ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ exists from eating food where MSG has been added (see the Compound Interest info-graphic above.) Some foods containing glutamate listed above also contain histamine, which also is implicated in developing symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, headaches, asthma, flushing and gastrointestinal upset. They are cheese, fermented foods such as miso and tomato. These foods are possibly the foods which might have lead to Chinese Restaurant syndrome, although this reaction is likely to occur infrequently. If you do suspect a histamine intolerance and have the symptoms above see a dietitian who will provide help for you to check if you have. Please avoid information from the internet on histamine intolerance, as it is usually far too restrictive and might lead to nutritional deficiencies. Although actually we have no evidence that most people with IBS have histamine intolerance – in my opinion we need much more research in histamine reactions.
Who wouldn’t want to have this fantastic flavouring naturally found in mushroom, parmesan and soy sauce? I have developed a recipe for you. You can replace the parmesan with a vegan alternative, if you wish, and it really doesn’t change the flavour. Risotto is such a tasty filling meal for autumn evenings this recipe contains lots of umami from white miso, oyster mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Do enjoy it!
- 160g Oyster mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 250g arborio (risotto) rice
- 15g white miso diluted with 700ml boiling water
- 20g vegan or standard parmesan
- 50g toasted pine nuts
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- additional grated parmesan
- Now the only rule really in making risotto is that you shouldn’t leave it alone for a second! It takes time to prepare but it is worthwhile putting that additional work in – you get out what you put in.
- Grate the parmesan and set aside.
- Toast the pine nuts in a drizzle of oil until they are brown -watch them closely as they can easily burn. Set aside to cool and then add the thyme (chopped) and mix well.
- Add the oil to the pan and gently fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Then add rice to the pan and cook to 2 minutes.
- Start to incorporate the miso based stock slowly to the pan over 10-15 minutes and keep stirring – this will prevent the rice from sticking to the pan.
- The rice is ready when it is al dente (slightly firm to bite)
- You may need additional liquid – water is suitable – depending on the rice you use.
- At this point stir in the grated parmesan and serve topped with toasted pine nuts and extra grated parmesan to taste (you shouldn’t need any seasoning as the flavours are deep but add some at this point after tasting the dish if you wish.)