Meat is not as important if you don't want to use it, but I love it, it gives me more flavor. You can add canned/or in pack tuna, so well with it too. Oh of course spam too. IF you use beef, let it cook/boil over 6 minutes. Chicken Cooks faster! Any meat that boils it's better when it cooks longer so I will let you decide. I used fresh shiitake because I had a whole pack. So what you need to do is just cut off the stems and slice them. In case you would like to use dry, just soak them for 10-15 minutes prior to cooking, cut out the stems and slice, then boil with kelp in the first step. I like adding ripe kimchi, about 3-4 months old, cause that sourness gives so much flavor.