Abalone mushrooms are relatives to the well-known oyster mushroom. In many cases and recipes, you may find it confused for the king trumpet because of their similar appearance. However, the abalone mushroom has a silky texture and well known for its buttery flavour. The name abalone mushrooms come from the shellfish abalone, thanks to their similar texture. Abalone mushroom is usually used as a vegan substitute for the shellfish with the same name.
Abalone Mushroom Genus
Abalone mushrooms are pleurotus which is a genus of gilled mushrooms which include one of the most widely edible mushroom type: the oyster mushroom.
Abalone mushrooms just like their close relatives, Oyster mushrooms, are popular for cooking. They are frequently used in Asian cuisine and sometimes seen as a delicacy. You will find it eaten on its own, in soups, stir-fries or alongside sauces.
Picture of vegan scallops which can be made from the stems of both King Trumpet and Abalone Mushrooms
How to recognise Abalone Mushrooms
Abalone mushrooms are medium to large and they average 5-25 cm in diameter. Their skin is smooth and silky much like the abalone shellfish. The colour of the abalone mushroom is white-ivory with some fine golden lines. They are known for their spongy meaty texture. Cook them and abalone mushrooms become slightly slippery. One bite will reveal their slightly earthy, buttery flavour.
As previously mentioned abalone mushrooms are sometimes confused for the king oyster mushroom and that's because the abalone mushrooms look like a smaller version of the king trumpet. The cap, however, is very different. Abalone mushroom has a white silky cap, whereas the king trumpet has a tan cap. The king trumpet is also the largest species in the oyster mushroom. The abalone mushroom, while might look similar, it's definitely a much smaller version with a similar thick stem, but much shorter.
The similarities are in the texture and in the flavours. Both mushrooms are known for their good shelf life and they are cultivated widely. When cooked, both the king trumpet and abalone mushroom develop the specific umami flavours with the texture similar to abalone. So when eaten as part of a meal, you can be forgiven for not being able to differentiate between the two types of mushrooms.
Picture of cooked King Trumpet with a long, thick stem and its tanned cap. However, the taste is very similar to Abalone Mushrooms.
Things to know about Abalone Mushrooms
Abalone mushrooms are a good source of dietary fibre. They are very popular in Asian cuisine and you will find them as part of many soups and stir fry recipes. Their rich flavour gives a fantastic taste to your dish and is a popular vegan substitute for seafood lovers. You will sometimes find abalone mushrooms under their other names: White Elf, King mushroom, and the Akuratake mushroom
Abalone mushrooms are native to China. What is interesting, however, is that commercial cultivation of Abalone mushrooms started in Hungary and expanded worldwide. You will find abalone mushrooms in speciality stores and some bio shops. Just make sure to double-check you are not purchasing standard oyster mushrooms or king trumpets.
Picture of vegan pulled pork which can be made by using Abalone mushrooms, Oyster Mushrooms or King Trumpet
How to cook Abalone Mushrooms
Abalone Mushrooms have similar uses to oyster mushrooms and king trumpet mushrooms. Here are some of the ways you can use abalone mushrooms.
Do you know any other interesting facts about abalone mushrooms? Let us know in the comments section below!