Magical mushroom powder that adds deep savoury notes to soup, stocks and stir-fries

Shelf Help: If your dinner needs a flavour bomb, try this inexpensive and versatile Chinese larder cupboard ingredient

Lee Kum Kee Mushroom Seasoning Powder: A multipurpose seasoning that is suitable for vegetarian and vegan dishes. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

What is it? Lee Kum Kee Mushroom Seasoning Powder (€3.90, 200g).

What’s good about it? A multipurpose seasoning that is suitable for vegetarian and vegan dishes, and will sit happily in your larder for months, if not years, on end. A teaspoon dissolved in boiling water turns the powder into a clear stock, tasting of mushrooms, yes, but something more, too, a deeply savoury note probably driven by the yeast extract listed in the ingredients. It comes in a tin with a snap-on lid and a handy dispensing teaspoon inside.

How do I use it? It can be used as a soup base; I tasted it on its own and it was perfectly pleasant to sip, though a few veggies, spring onions and maybe some noodles would be good additions. It packs a punch at the suggested ratio of one teaspoon to 350ml of boiling water, so perhaps add more water if you are using it as a soup base. It would be an ideal lubricant for a mushroom risotto and would add additional umami depth to Bolognese.

Making a shepherd’s pie the other evening with lovely Irish organic lamb mince, neither beef nor chicken stock seemed quite right for the sauce, but this would have been perfect. According to the tin, you can also sprinkle it in its powdered form on to stir-fries for instant flavour.

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Where can I buy it? Widely available in Asian supermarkets and online from asiamarket.ie.

Anything else? The first listed ingredient is salt, so be aware of this and adjust seasoning accordingly. Your dish may not need additional salt.

Send your suggestions to marieclaire.digby@irishtimes.com