Life Life

01/01/2019 - 10:59

Tasty termite mushroom omelette for a cold winter day

When the rain drags from one day to another, bringing with it the cold winter, it is also the season of termite mushroom (Collybia albuminosa).

Termite mushroom omelette served with hot rice – a delicious dish for a cold day

Termite mushroom is considered to be the king of mushrooms because of its sweetness and rareness. Only in the middle of winter does this mushroom grow. It is called termite mushroom because it grows on long-term termite mounds. My father told me that this mushroom is the crystallization of saliva which the termites release. I don't know if it is true, but the strange thing is that this mushroom grows right on the same time, same day every year. You just need to keep in mind the date when the mushroom is harvested and sure enough, on the exact same day the following year, you can come and pick the termite mushroom again. As this kind of mushroom quickly matures, it is necessary to pay attention to the time very accurately to pick the mushroom in their most desirable stage, when the caps are still in their bud-like form.

I remember that there used to be a termite mound with mushroom behind our house. I remember one time, my father lit a lantern to go pick mushroom before the break of dawn. My father took a machete to the back of the house. In the bush under the raspberry fence, the ground was swarming with fat termite mushroom caps. Some of the mushroom matured early and the ears had bloomed like gerberas flowers.

Termite mushroom is very tasty and is suitable to make many dishes. However, on cold rainy days when it is impossible to go to the market, the termite mushroom omelette is an unequalled dish.

To prepare the dish, the mushroom first needs to be cleaned of all the dirt. Soak the mushroom in water with a little bit of salt. The bigger ears can be split in halves or thirds. Drain the mushroom and start marinating with some fish sauce, MSG, pepper. In a bowl, crack some chicken or duck eggs and add in a little fish sauce. You should never put MSG in with the eggs to beat because it can react and create a poisonous substance. It was later that I learnt about this. Before, my mother just simply told me not to put it in but I didn't know why.

After all the ingredients have been prepared, put the pan on the stove, and add some oil and shallots. Stir until the shallots become fragrant. Then, add in the mushroom and stir fry until it is cooked evenly, giving off a delicious aroma. Add in the beaten eggs to the pan and sprinkle some chopped green onions on top. Cover the pan and wait for the eggs to finish cooking.

You should cover the pan when making an omelette since it will help the eggs cook evenly and retain the characteristic aroma of eggs.

When the omelette is cooked through, there should be a very wonderful aroma. When the termite mushroom is stir-fried, it has a sweet taste with a slightly chewy and crunchy texture. Serve with hot rice and you’ve got a delicious dish for a cold day. 

On those rainy days, every time my father picked the termite mushroom, my mother would make omelettes for me and my sibling. It is a dish which I associate with childhood because in the old days, the land for gardens was still abundant, and there was space for termite mushroom to grow. It is very difficult to find and buy termite mushroom nowadays. The price is also quite high. A kilogram of nice termite mushroom can fetch up to 400,000 – 500,000 VND.

Termite mushroom can also be cooked in other delicious dishes such as in soup or sticky rice. Winter has come, and suddenly, I crave for a hot bowl of rice with a termite mushroom omelette.

Story and photo: Nam Giao