This recipe was the first dish in my IMBB vegan meal.
Reading this recipe in the Artful Vegan inspired me to cook it up and try my first oyster mushrooms. The notes preceeding the recipe stated that a recently wedded couple, who are fans of the Millennium Restaurant (whose recipes make up this cookbook), requested this dish to be served at their wedding. Having just attended two weddings last month, the beauty of truthfully good food at a wedding has been impressed on me: I’m sold. Oyster mushrooms here we come!
The cookbook accompanies these fried up delights with a cooked salad of burdock root, ginger and garlic. I substituted this salad for an easy-peasey raw salad of grated carrot and toasted sesame oil.
Though fried, these mushrooms are light, nutty and very crunchy: nothing like tempura mushrooms of days past. These grease-free nuggets crunched along side the earthy carrot salad are a magic meal (no… they aren’t those kind of magic mushrooms! They aren’t in season till spring…)
Sesame-Crusted Oyster Mushroom Calamari with Toasted Sesame Carrot Salad
Assemble this salad first as it can easily sit aside in its flavors while the mushrooms are being prepared. For speed in the kitchen, plate the salad so that the fried mushrooms can be easily transfered over, and the dish finished in a snap.
Using one 6-7 inch carrot per 2 servings, grate the carrots into a large mixing bowl, using the small holes on a typical box cutter (what you grate cheese with). Snip over the carrots some green onion, and sprinkle a Tbs or so of toasted white sesame seeds and some black sesame seeds for color and contrast. Drizzle the salad with toasted sesame oil, a splash of rice wine vinegar and a sprinkle of soy sauce: just like a vineaigrette (1part vinegar:2 parts oil).
To assemble the dry coating for our mushrooms, mix together in a bowl:
- 1/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 cup finely ground corn meal
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs carefully toasted black sesame seeds
Gather enough oyster mushrooms so that each person gets a palm sized bundle. The mushrooms come clumped together in a mass, so cut them into separate mushrooms to make them easier to toss around. Also, cutting up the clumps into single mushrooms will give you a higher coating to mushroom ratio- yum!
In a small sauce pan, bring 1 inch of canola oil up to heat. Have it hot enough to brown a chunk of white bread in 30 seconds.
To dredge the mushrooms, first dip them in a cup of soy milk to cover. Then transfer the mushrooms with a fork to the container of dry coating. Put the coated mushrooms in a metal strainer and tap the excess coating off .
Fry up the mushrooms in small batches till golden brown. Place clusters of the mushrooms onto the grated carrot salad and drizzle with a touch more of toasted sesame oil, and sprinkle with more black sesame seeds.