ou may know of Portobello, King Oyster and Shiitake... but have you heard of Termitomyces?
These were sold to me under the simple label of Jungle Mushrooms. Upon some investigation, I discovered their scientific name, and is in fact considered by some to be one of the most mysterious mushrooms in the world - they can only be farmed by termites!
Termite workers search for and bring back spores of this mushroom to their colonies, cultivate them, then consume the sugars that the fungi produces in its roots.
Lab cultivation of this species has yet to be successful, and can therefore only be foraged in natural environments. In Malaysia, it is called Cendawan Busut - ‘busut’ in Malay translated to ‘mound’ or ‘anthill’, which in this case would refer to the termite mounds where they are found. The plant kingdom never ceases to amaze.
I tried a new searing method that seals in the natural juices of the mushroom with no salt or seasoning at all, and it was incredible. So nutty and umami!