What’s not to love about a big heap of fried mushrooms? Oyster mushrooms are perfect here as they’re meaty and substantial. Very fried chicken-y. Aside from their meaty texture, they also have a significant umami flavour. It’s no wonder they feature so heavily on vegetarian menus.

I say substantial since button mushrooms—as versatile as they are—cook down to a mere quarter of their volume because of their high water content. Oyster mushrooms retain their shape upon frying, and you don’t need an entire field of mushrooms to feed a group. 300 grams fed four of us comfortably.

Try getting your hands on some panko breadcrumbs. They’re available at most supermarkets these days and are well worth hunting down. Their larger flakes make them adhere to the mushrooms better, but mainly the crunch that you get from them is unparalleled. Panko also contributes heavily to those ultra-desirable craggy, uneven shapes, aka the best bits. The rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice. We really liked sweet chilli for this.

The lowdown: Flour on one plate, panko on another. Beat a few eggs in a bowl. Gently rinse the mushrooms and pat them dry. Each mushroom first gets dusted in flour, then dunked in egg, then dredged in panko. Repeat with the rest of the mushrooms, then fry in batches. Crunch your way through the first batch as you fry up the second. Cook’s treat. Always have to have one of those.

FRIED OYSTER MUSHROOMS

Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 300 grams oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs
  • Oil, for deep-frying
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sweet chilli sauce, to serve

Instructions

  • Rinse the mushrooms and gently pat them dry on a tea towel.
  • Get a pot of oil on medium heat, ready for deep-frying.
  • Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Add the flour to a plate and mix together with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the panko to another plate and mix with 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • Take a piece of mushroom and first dunk in flour, then coat in egg, then transfer to the panko. Gently press down and turn the mushroom around so the panko sticks to all the grooves. Tap off the excess.
  • Repeat for the rest of the mushrooms. Fry in batches, flipping as necessary, until golden and crispy. Serve immediately with the dipping sauce.

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