Oyster Mushroom Tempura
These Japanese-style fritters are a delicious way to eat oyster mushrooms, especially the chunkier specimens – they turn beautifully succulent inside the thin, crispy batter. Tempura are best served hot from the pan, so gather everyone as you start frying. Serve with little dishes of the dipping sauce and preferably some ice-cold beer.
(Note that you need to prepare the batter mix an hour before you plan to cook).
- 250g grey oyster mushrooms
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice seasoning) or paprika, to serve
FOR THE BATTER
- 80g plain flour
- 20g cornflour
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 225ml chilled sparkling water
- 1 egg white
FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE
- ½ tablespoon mirin or dry sherry
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2cm root ginger, peeled and finely shredded
- First prepare the batter. Put the flour, cornflour, celery salt and onion powder in a large bowl. Add the sparkling water and mix very briefly and lightly until just combined. Leave to stand for an hour.
- Next make the dipping sauce. Put the mirin, rice vinegar and sugar into a small pan and warm gently. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove from the heat. Add the soy sauce and ginger and leave to stand.
- Using a pastry or mushroom brush, clean the oyster mushrooms. Trim the stems and cut or tear any large mushrooms into 6cm chunks.
- After the batter has rested for an hour, beat the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold into the batter with a metal spoon until evenly combined.
- Prepare the oil for deep frying. If using a deep-fat fryer, preheat the oil to 190˚C. If you’re using a pan, choose a wide, deep one and do not fill it above a third of its depth with oil. Set over a high heat, and to test if it is ready for frying drop a little batter into the oil – if it immediately rises surrounded in bubbles, the oil is hot enough.
- Dip a mushroom in the batter mix and let any excess drain into the bowl. Using tongs, lower the mushroom gently into the oil. Repeat until you have a single layer of mushrooms frying, but do not overcrowd the pan. Fry the mushrooms until they are golden and crisp on one side, then turn and fry on the other side. They should take 5–7 minutes in total, perhaps a little less for the smaller ones. Lift out the fritters with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on kitchen paper. Sprinkle lightly with schichimi togarashi and then serve the tempura with the dipping sauce. Cook the remaining mushrooms in the same way, handing them out as they are ready.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK