If used in a soup, dried shiitakes can be added directly to the broth, where they'll soften as the soup simmers. Otherwise, dried shiitakes need to be soaked in hot water before they're used in a recipe.
Just place the dried shiitake mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and add really hot or even boiling water to cover it by a few inches. Let the mushrooms sit for at least 20 minutes until the caps are tender. When the mushrooms are tender, pluck them out and squeeze out the excess water with your hands.
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