Monday, 5 October 2015

Magic Mushrooms!

Funghi Pleuratus con Peperoni Miste & Zenzero su Riso
Oyster Mushrooms with Mixed Peppers & Ginger on Rice


Mushrooms can often be tricky... Because mushrooms can often become squishy and slimy and exactly that is something that you don't want to happen! You want them to be rich and flavorful and tasty and terrific! Just like I do! So... Cook them the way that I do and you will!

I had this lovely batch of oyster mushrooms, thick and juicy and filled with the promise of a great meal... But also fraught with the danger of them going all squishy on me... But I do love a challenge! Which was why I bought them in the first place!


As you can clearly see from these photos, these mushrooms neither ended up being greasy from frying nor soggy from stewing, they developed their own rich flavor and it was this that worked so well in combination with the other ingredients... A balancing act of culinary cunning!


So, I had around 500g of oyster mushrooms... A good plateful, 1 spring onion, a small, red, pointy pepper, a handful of small green pimentos, a little ginger and a little parsley. Of course coriander would have been better, but with all the stores shut here in Germany for Unification Day today, I had to make do with what was left over in my fridge. I seasoned with a little Thai sweet chili sauce and oyster sauce and used a little sesame oil for frying... And served them on a little plain, steamed white rice.


One whole, big pan full of mushrooms soon wilted down into one single serving... But of course, packed into that smaller volume of mushroom at the end was the fullest and richest flavor that they could possibly have yielded... And I got to eat them all by myself! Hehe!


I started off by cutting the peppers into bite-sized pieces and frying them with about 2" of ginger that I cut into very fine shreds. I fried them in around1 tablespoon of sesame oil, which of course soon got soaked up, but was plenty to coat them and to sizzle and make them pop when they were done... It only took 3 minutes at the most.


Once the peppers and ginger were done, I set them to one side and added the mushrooms to the hot pan. I cut the larger ones in half and removed the tougher, end-pieces of the stalks and then fried them at a high heat without adding any further oil to the pan.


It is important to NOT add oil at this point, as it will be soaked up and make the mushrooms soggy... Why you are aiming for is to evaporate the moisture out of the mushrooms until they become golden brown like this... They look almost meaty in appearance and indeed, have a nice, firm texture after frying for 4-5 minutes.


Once the mushrooms are nicely browned from all sides, add the peppers and ginger back into the pan and add the seasonings and sauces. I added 2 tablespoons each of Thai sweet chili sauce and oyster sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil and and a little black pepper.

At this point, I added the finely sliced spring onion, raw and a little finely chopped parsley. I tossed it through once and then served it up, piping hot on a bed of white rice.


Simple as always, but also perfect, as each of the flavors of the ingredients came through and was brought together with that touch of sweet, garlicky chili sauce and the oyster sauce to add the missing savory component... And yes... I am pretty sure you will like the combination!


Nothing squishy going on here... Good, substantial bites of yummy food! This is what we want!


Not bad for an emergency meal, eh? Just 'cause the stores were closed, didn't mean I couldn't work a little magic in the kitchen! And that means that you can all do it too!

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