Perfect for a light lunch or an appetiser, this recipe will have you fall in love with the versatility and flavour of oyster mushrooms. Cooked to crispy perfection, they pair incredibly well with a homemade hoisin sauce and fresh, crunchy vegetables.
- Serves 4
- Prep Time: 25 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
For the Mushrooms:
- 600g fresh oyster mushrooms, blue/grey variety preferred
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon Five Spice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
For the Hoisin Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the Wraps:
- 8-12 rice paper wraps
- Fresh chilli, thinly sliced (to taste)
- 1/2 cucumber, julienned
- 4 spring onions, julienned
- 4 radishes, finely sliced
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Sriracha sauce (optional, for extra heat)
- Preheat the Pan: Begin by placing a well-seasoned cast-iron pan on high heat. Let it heat up while you prepare the mushrooms and sauce.
- Shred the Mushrooms: While the pan is heating, take the oyster mushrooms and shred them by hand. Focus on separating the stems and caps. For tougher stems, use a fork to aid in shredding.
- Prepare the Hoisin Sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, and freshly sliced chillies or a squirt of hot sauce (if using). Add a pinch of black pepper to the mixture. Stir all these ingredients until they are well combined and the sauce becomes smooth.
- Cook the Mushrooms: Check if your cast-iron pan is hot enough. You can test this by sprinkling a few drops of water on it; they should sizzle and evaporate quickly. Once it's ready, add the shredded oyster mushrooms to the pan in a single layer to ensure even cooking. Do not add oil at this stage as you want the mushrooms to release their moisture and start to brown.
- Dehydrate and Season: Allow the mushrooms to cook undisturbed for a few minutes, then stir occasionally. As the mushrooms release their moisture and reduce in size, start to season them with the spice rub - 1 teaspoon five spice powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Keep stirring regularly to ensure the spices are evenly distributed and toasted but not burnt.
- Crisp Up the Mushrooms: Once the spices are fragrant and the mushrooms have considerably reduced in size, start drizzling in a neutral oil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms become crispy and golden brown.
- Glaze with Hoisin Sauce: Lower the heat to medium and start to drizzle the prepared hoisin sauce over the crispy mushrooms. Toss the mushrooms in the sauce to coat them evenly. Let them cook for an additional minute or two, ensuring the sauce is heated through and forms a nice glaze on the mushrooms.
- Steam the Wraps: While the mushrooms are glazing, prepare your steamer. Steam the rice paper wraps in a bamboo steamer until they become soft and pliable. This should take only a few minutes.
- Assemble the Wraps: Lay out a steamed wrap on a flat surface. Spoon a generous amount of hoisin sauce onto the wrap. Add your glazed oyster mushrooms, julienned cucumber, spring onions, finely sliced radishes, fresh chilli, and coriander leaves on top. For extra heat, add a squirt of sriracha sauce.
- Serve Hot: Roll up the wraps tightly and serve immediately while hot and crispy.
How to get the most out of oyster mushrooms
As with all food, the enjoyment we derive often boils down to the method of preparation, and mushrooms are no exception.
Quite contrary to popular belief, the texture often associated with fungi in general, described by some as slimy, chewy, and generally unpleasant, is usually a result of an ill-suited cooking technique rather than the inherent nature of mushrooms themselves.
Mushrooms are quite different from both vegetables and meats, the two primary categories they're usually grouped with. They're incredibly rich in water content, often comprising as much as 90%. This feature significantly impacts their texture when cooked, and recognising this is the first step in mastering the mushroom.
When we introduce heat to mushrooms, that high water content begins to seep out. If the moisture doesn't have a chance to evaporate - say, for instance, if the pan is overcrowded, or the heat is too low - the mushrooms end up stewing in their own juices. The result? A soggy, somewhat slimy texture that many find off-putting.
But here's the good news: with the right technique, mushrooms can offer an entirely different experience.
Cooking mushrooms on high heat in an uncrowded pan allows the water to evaporate rapidly, creating room for a magical transformation. The mushrooms become delightfully meaty and tender, and when paired with the right ingredients like fats and spices, they can take on all the desirable traits of a meat-based dish.
Our Crispy Hoisin Oyster Mushroom recipe is a great example in optimising the cooking technique to extract the best out of these fungi. Instead of the typical chewy or slimy mouthfeel, these mushrooms offer a crisp, tender, umami sensation reminiscent of a well-cooked piece of meat. This dish is perfect for converting mushroom haters into mushroom lovers!
Many people might have been put off mushrooms due to subpar experiences in the past, but with a few simple techniques, their perception can be completely transformed.