We've been in "Mexi-mode" lately almost exclusively with my testing and restesting recipes for the cookbook. On Friday, I was looking at the website TasteSpotting and decided to do a search of the word "spicy", 'cause that's how I roll. One of the recipes that came up was for Manchurian Mushrooms. The picture was so drool-worthy that I had to go look at the recipe. I sounded absolutely amazing. I sent the recipe and picture to both Brett and Selina (she and I have very similar tastes). Brett, who claims to be "Asian-ed out" took one look at the recipe and agreed that we should try it and soon. Selina was on the same page as me and wanted to make it as soon as possible.
I started from this recipe here. I didn't have some of the stuff on hand and I wanted to make sure that the mushrooms were spicy to my liking and the sauce was sweet to Brett's liking so I tweaked the recipe and provided it below.
You may note some new serving ware here and there. My Nanny Beth (among others) wanted our food to look nicer since we put pictures of it online, so she got us these "rooster bowls" which look really cool with Asian food and some plates for us to use for our "Mexican presentations". Now all I have to do is learn how to use a camera and get some sort of eye for "food fashion". Hell, I am just the cook, Selina, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE PRESENTATION UP TO ME FOR THE COOKBOOK. It would just be bad. You've seen my titles for things and my lack of skill with the camera, you do not want that. :-)
Well, here she be.
The local booty legend (aka revealing my sources):
no asterisk = grocery store
+ = local produce from The Root Cellar
++ = The Peace Nook (will denote whether product is local or just from the Nook)
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden
**** = the non-profit buying club, Blue Planet or Purcell Mountain Farms
J&B's Manchurian-ish Mushrooms
1 pack button mushrooms, rinsed and quartered
3-4 cups peanut oil for frying
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn masa
2 tsp (or more!) of chile-garlic sauce (I used Huy Fong)
4 Chiles Japones, crushed with a mortar and pestle (you could also use a food processor or coffee grinder, or just crush them up with your fingers)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 cup water
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Slowly add the water and mix well, making sure to work out all the clumps.
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 small red boiler onions, chopped *
3 banana peppers, seeded and sliced *
2 small green bell peppers, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces *
1 head broccoli, cut into florettes *
1/2 yellow summer squash, cut into large chunks **
1 head Georgian Fire garlic, sliced *
2 tbsp alfalfa honey *
3/4 cup organic ketchup
4 tbsp sweet chile sauce
3 tbsp shoyu (or other soy sauce)
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish, optional)
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
Add the onion, peppers, broccoli, and squash and saute stirring often for about 6-8 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir fry for another 3-4 minutes.
Turn the heat down to slightly below medium.
Add the honey, ketchup, chile sauce, and shoyu. Combine well.
Let simmer on low while you batter and fry the mushrooms.
To batter and fry the mushrooms and finish up the dish:
Put your peanut oil in a heavy bottomed small skillet and turn heat on the low end of high (does that make sense?).
Dip the mushrooms pieces in the batter and once oil is heated carefully drop them in the hot oil.
Fry for 6-8 minutes or until mushroom pieces are deep golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain the excess oil. Repeat this process until all the mushrooms are fried.
Put the fried mushrooms into the sweet and sour sauce and stir to coat evenly. Top with cilantro. Serve immediately.
This was really freakin' good. It tasted like something you would get from a restaurant. It isn't the least time consuming of the recipes here on Veg*n Cooking, but it is well worth the effort.
'Til next time!