There are many kinds of mushroom powders. I've probably used 7 types in all. But as I have very limited stuff at hand, I will show you only two of those.
The one on the right is my husband's favorite.
It goes in an airtight plastic container and I know "Knorr" will come to your minds when you stare at the logo. I actually believe it is a product of Knorr but I'm not so sure. But if it is, it's probably good because it's an old, big and trusted company, isn't it?
The picture below it (lower right) is just the 500g version, twice the one in the bottle (250g).
This one below was a product I once bought from a Filipino friend who tried to start a business in the Philippines.
I like it very much because 1.) it's confirmed pure vegetarian; 2.) the product name "Shiitake Dashi" is written in Japanese 「しいたけだし」 ; and 3.) it's not wallet-painful, specially for starters because it was just Php80.oo per 60-gram pack.
If you want to check out these products and many other mushroom powders, here are links to the stores where these may be bought:
Wabi-Sabi Noodle House and Vegetarian Grocery | map | Facebook | blogger's photo of Wabi-Sabi's grocery rack
Happy Veggie Health Food | map | blogger's photos of Happy Veggie's grocery rack
Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian Food Garden | map | blogger's photos of Quan Yin Chay's grocery rack
If the above places are also inaccessible to you, you can check out the mushroom powders I saw sold online. I haven't bought from them, but I'll probably resort to them in the future. Check it out.
I was able to buy this one recently only at Quan Yin Chay Vegetarian Food Garden at Binondo, Manila. A 200g bottle is sold for Php 230.oo, I can't clearly remember. It started at Php 180.oo years and years ago but recently it looks like the supply's really getting small resulting in a sudden price increase.
Vege-Smoked Meat, or as I call it, "vege-salami", has been an all time favorite at home. It's flavor is more on the light side than on the strong.
Here in Japan, I've used it to wrap beans and other vegetables but I usually use it for bibimbap. Because of its lightly sweet, nicely-textured sheets, my husband just enjoys his bibimbap whenever I stir-fry this until quite crunchy.
Back in the Philippines, I've used this in soup, sandwich, spaghetti sauce, with other vegetables, and all other things I can think of like eye patch or mouse pad. Uhm.. let's pretend the last part was some sort of typo error.
Vege-salamis are flat brownish pink squares with big exciting dots of black pepper. One pack I think comes with 24 salami sheets and is sold at around Php 240.oo.
Vegetarian Fish Ham, according to the packaging, are pre-cut oval blocks in nori-wrapped fish-flavor imitation. Ingredients are: wheat fiber, wheat protein, soy bean protein, soybean oil, soy sauce, ginger, seaweed, salt, sugar, yeast paste, vegetarian flavor and white pepper. You may be wondering what 'vegetarian flavor' there means. I also do not know. I just want to trust that the manufacturer are not fooling with all of us vegetarians (and trying to be's) and that they didn't specify the ingredients of the vegetarian flavor for the sake of protecting their business' secret recipe.
Veggie Codfish Fillet is made up of textured wheat protein, soy oil, water, wheat protein, bread crumb, laver, flavor. Here goes another possible source of dispute, 'flavor'. But let's just get over it and believe that all of these companies are using 100% vegetarian food flavors, as it claimed on its packaging. ^_~
I've used this many times, years ago, as delicious sarciado, or just fried and dipped in ketchup; but recently I'm not very fond of it. Maybe my tongue's just turning Japanese or I just don't cook it well recently. This was my top favorite not only because I loved sarciado, but also because for just around Php 180.oo, you get an 8-piece fillet pack.
If you are in Japan, you can buy these stuff at the vegetarian goods store in Kyoto.
If you are in the Philippines, you can check it out at Quan Yin Chay, Happy Veggie, and Tung Fang.
If you're somewhere else in the world, I saw some promising products at amazon like Butler Soy Curls, Betta Foods Imitation Chicken Chunks, and Bob's Red Mill TVP.
I'm sorry I haven't taken a photo of fresh soy protein in my local market. I don't usually buy it because my husband doesn't like it's taste. But the next time I'm not in a hurry doing the grocery, I'll make sure you get to see a photo of this. ^_~
Dried TVP Chunks
Commonly called TVP, meaning textured vegetable protein, this is a hard, tree-bark-like nuggets that needs to be soaked in warm water for ~20minutes or boiled for a few minutes to soften. You can flavor it however you want and it will give you a meaty texture to your dish. Just don't expect too much from it. It's not meat, so it don't be too hard on our TVP friends. They give a nice touch to some dishes, but I don't suggest putting it in all dishes as meat substitute. I personally don't appreciate it floating soggy in my soup. But it is really awesome barbecued.
Ground Soy Protein
Good in veggy meaty lasagna or spaghetti and so many other dishes, this may come as a textured vegetable protein, or a simpler soy protein. As soy proteins, it usually is the dried form of i think the soy bean byproducts when making soy milk or tofu. I don't know much about this, so if you do know, just comment them below. ^_~ thank you!
I bought this tamarind paste online at amazon.co.jp. I tried to find it again but everything was written in Japanese and I just can't find a similar one but I found that looks as good. A 227g bottle is sold for ￥605. Check it out here.
But these are not your only option!
Aside from readily available tamarind pastes, you may go to your favorite vendor at your local market; buy fresh tamarind; go home; simmer tamarind to soften; scoop out the fruit inside the pod and then mash the tamarind and you have your tamarind paste! Just take note that homemade tamarind pastes tend to taste paler than readily available ones so you should consider using more of this in cooking.
This is a handy and cheap alternative especially when tomatoes are off-season. This 150g pack is usually sold for 35Php. There are other brands, but so far this has the best quality I've used-- it's thick and the flavor is well concentrated.
If you don't have this, you can use canned tomatoes instead. Fresh tomatoes are good too, but I'd suggest boiling the tomatoes longer to really squeeze out the juices and perhaps add a little sugar because fresh tomatoes tend to be a bit more sour than canned ones, based on my experience. ;)
I use this one more often as a dip than in cooking. I've flavored soups with this, but it just tastes so wonderful when mixed with soy sauce and chili (and once, also with lemon) and serve as a dip or drizzled over crunchy tofu fry. Yum. Oh, and imagine some hot congee beside that. And sesame oil!
Aside from local markets in the Philippines, I saw this sold at amazon.com too.