We live about 30 kilometers east of Vancouver (Canada) and one of the perks of living here is the close proximity to a lot of farms. Products range from vegetables and berries in the summertime, apples and pumpkins in the fall to a whole lot more in between. We actually live in an area (about 5 minutes away) where blueberry farms abound. So cool, right?
There’s this one asian farm that we frequent once the weather gets warmer. They grow a lot of leafy greens like talbos ng kamote (sweet potato leaves) and kangkong (water spinach). One other thing that I buy there are oyster mushrooms. They come in a huge plastic bag and are very fresh and cheap. What I pay $6 for would easily be worth $20 at the supermarket. We did a quick stop last weekend after buying some vegetable seedlings at a nearby nursery. Sadly, they ran out of yam leaves but I got lucky with some kangkong and these lovely mushrooms.
Only one of our kids eats mushrooms. I don’t know if it’s the texture or the taste they dislike so I had to be creative and cook them in a way that the little ones will approve of. Since crunchy is a unanimously popular texture, that’s just what I did and it was a huge hit! I initially thought of frying these just once until golden but glad I did the double fry as it made an immense difference. Hence, the recipe name … Mushroom Chicharon.
Crunchy Mushroom Chicharon
- 2 – 2 ½ lbs fresh oyster mushrooms
- Canola oil for deep frying
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup tapioca starch or cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon iodized salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
Spiced Vinegar for dipping:
- ½ cup vinegar I used Datu Puti
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic smashed and chopped
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes or 1 sliced Thai chili
- Wire rack over a sheet tray for draining
- Mesh strainer to shake off excess breading
- Large frying pan for deep frying
- Wash the mushrooms in cold tap water (2x) and drain. Pile a few on top of each other and gently squeeze as much water as you can. Then place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture. Repeat with the rest. Cut them in bite-size pieces and set aside.
- Combine the breading mix in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
- Heat a large frying pan/wok and fill with about 1 ½ inches of oil. Fully coat the mushroom pieces in the breading mix, place in a sieve to shake off excess flour and fry (in batches depending on how big your pan is) on medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Stir gently to turn, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for another 10 minutes. Place on a wire rack while you cook the rest. They will be lightly golden and crispy outside but not super crunchy yet.
- For the second frying, increase the heat to medium or medium-high. Fry the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. Stir continuously for even cooking. Scoop them to the wire rack once golden and very crunchy. Immediately sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.
- Serve with spiced vinegar.