Why you should care
Because mushrooms are your secret weapon when it comes to plant-based cooking.
Mushrooms have often been a hard pass for many who find their texture to be too similar to that of a slug. But now they’re popping up in coffees, chocolate, and soon, a new crop of soaps and hair care. Whole Foods even recently put “functional mushrooms” at the top of their food trends for 2018.
Topping that list? The king of course! Meaty and dense, king oyster mushrooms have a unique texture that is often compared to scallops and squid. As a result, it’s a prime candidate when it comes to meat alternatives (do a quick Google search, and you’ll find several recipes that call it in to substitute for seafood). Growing mushrooms is surprisingly simple, and as a result is quickly gaining traction for hobbyists. You can find mushroom grow-kits online, and the memberships for some Facebook groups devoted to mushroom-growing are reaching over 50,000.
From the Rooted food show starring OZY’s plant-based food enthusiast, Nick Shippers, here’s a quick way to make a king oyster “calamari.”
Recipe: Mushroom Calamari
- 2 cups of cooking oil or enough to almost submerge rings in your pan
- 2-3 king oyster mushrooms (available at Asian markets)
- 1 small cookie cutter circle or knife
- 2 cups of all-purpose, tapioca flour, or a mix between the two. Tapioca flour will create more of a crispy crunch.
- Spices: paprika, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, salt, pepper
- 3 cups of water
- 1 cup gluten-free or regular breadcrumbs
- Dairy-free chipotle dip (to serve)
In a pan large enough to mostly submerge the mushrooms, heat oil on high. Mix spices of your choice into the flour. Remove the cores from the mushrooms (these can be used in other dishes) using a small cookie cutter or knife, then slice them into rings. Toss the rings briefly in water, then toss them in the flour mixture using your finger or a spoon. Drop the rings back into the water to turn the flour/spice mixture into a paste, then put them into breadcrumbs. Place rings in the pan, flipping when brown on one side. Serve hot with a dairy-free chipotle dip.