Hed Pah mushrooms, also known as Hed Thob or Hygroscopic Earthstar, are prized ingredients in Northern and Northeastern Thai cuisine. Once rare and seasonal, they are now available year-round thanks to advancements in cultivation and processing technologies. Not only are they a culinary delight for mushroom enthusiasts, but they also make unique souvenirs for loved ones.
The Rarity of Hed Pah Mushrooms
Hed Pah mushrooms are among the rarer wild mushrooms. Typically, they appear from late May to June, coinciding with the onset of the rainy season. Their irregular growing patterns - sometimes annually, other times with gaps of a year or two - contribute to their rarity. Their small size and subterranean growth make them a challenge to find, often requiring careful searching near large trees in expansive forest areas.
Selecting the Best Hed Pah Mushrooms
When shopping for Hed Pah mushrooms, freshness is key. Be aware that some vendors might mix older mushrooms with fresh ones. A fresh Hed Pah mushroom has a distinct, earthy aroma and passes a series of visual and tactile tests based on its maturity stage, from the thin, soft shell of the youngest mushrooms to the harder, darker shell of fully mature ones.
Culinary Uses of Hed Pah Mushrooms
Hed Pah mushrooms are versatile in cooking. Popular Northern Thai dishes include salt-boiled mushrooms and roasted mushrooms with tamarind shoots, often accompanied by various chili pastes. For preparation, thorough washing is essential to remove soil. Depending on their age, Hed Pah mushrooms can be used in different dishes, from juicy, young ones ideal for boiling to mature ones that are perfect for curries or roasting.
Or if anyone wants to try making a menu of pickled bamboo shoot curry with Hed Pah mushrooms, you can see how to do it by following this link.
Preserving Hed Pah Mushrooms Year-Round
Traditionally seasonal and hard to find, Hed Pah mushrooms have become more accessible thanks to cultivation innovations. Unlike other mushrooms, they belong to the 'Mycorrhiza' group and depend on tree roots for growth, necessitating unique cultivation methods. Additionally, new preservation techniques enable us to enjoy these mushrooms in brine, extending their shelf life to 1-2 years without preservatives.
Where to Buy Hed Pah Mushrooms?
For those in Chiang Mai, Vanusnun Chiang Mai souvenir shop is a go-to place. Others can conveniently order online through various channels:
- Line ID : @vanusnun or https://lin.ee/to22VJJ
- Official Website : https://vanusnun.com/product.php
- Shopee : https://shopee.co.th/vanusnun
- Lazada : https://www.lazada.co.th/shop/chiangmai-vanusnun
In conclusion, Hed Pah mushrooms have transformed from a rare, seasonal delicacy to a readily available, cherished souvenir. They represent not just a taste of Chiang Mai's rich culinary heritage, but also a testament to the fusion of tradition and innovation.
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