Yesterday I was looking at pictures of beef and drooling. Woah, woah, woah! Before anyone freaks out, let me explain. I often find inspiration for my recipe from animal-product filled recipes. It's not the meat that is making me drool, (that part is a real turn off for me). It's the idea I have in my head about how I can achieve similar textures and flavours. The chew, the crispiness, the umami, the juiciness. All that deliciousness but made blissfully vegan. That's what I am drooling over, my imagination.
So when I stumbled upon a few recipes for sesame beef, my brain started mentally sorting through my kitchen and I thought of the bag of dried shiitake mushrooms that I use in my Quick Vegan Pho and my Congee recipe. Even after soaking for a long time and cooking, the dried shiitake remain super juicy and chewy. Light bulb!
So I played around a bit, and BLAM-O! (Is blam-o a thing kids say now? I don't think so). I tossed the mushrooms in cornstarch fried them up and stirred them into a quick sauce.
~Pats self on back~
Slightly crispy on the outside, super chewy and juicy on the inside, coated in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce. Gah! This hit all of the flavour points and textures I was striving for and hot dang it's delicious.This just turned into one of my new favourite dishes that I will be whipping up on a regular basis.
For some more veggie-ness, feel free to add in some sautéed broccoli, bok choy, spinach, or other greenage. I served mine over rice, but I think rice noodles would also be fab. Enjoy!
To Make Crispy & Chewy Sesame Shiitake:
You are going to need dried shiitake mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms won't work the same way as they don't have the same chewy texture as the dried ones. I found a big bag of dried shiitake at my local grocery store, but if your store doesn't carry them, you can order them online. One bag lasts a long time!
Rehydrate the mushrooms by covering them in boiling water. I always put a bowl on top to help push to mushrooms down and keep them submerged. Soak them for around 40 minutes until they are nice and tender.
Drain the mushrooms. If you wish you can save the liquid to use as a mushroom broth. Now squeeze out the excess water from the mushrooms. Don't mush them to death, but just lightly squeeze them and shake off the water so they are on the drier side. Cut them into nice thick slices, about ½ inch.
Toss them in the cornstarch so they are evenly coated and shake off the excess.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before adding in the mushrooms so that they fry, and not just soak up the oil. Fry the mushrooms until they are lightly golden on all sides, and no white cornstarch remains.
In the meantime make the sauce by adding all of the ingredients to a small saucepan. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes until it begins to thicken. Add in the fried shiitakes and toss to coat. Serve immediately over rice or in any way that you desire.
Crispy & Chewy Sesame Shiitake
For the shiitake:
- 2 cups dried shiitakes, (12-16 mushrooms)
- Boiling water, (to soak the mushrooms)
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons light oil, (such as canola or peanut), plus more if needed
For the sesame sauce:
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, , minced
- 1 inch piece of ginger, , minced
- 2 teaspoons sriracha or other hot sauce, (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 green onion, , thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Cover the mushrooms in boiling water, and put something on top to keep them submerged. Soak for around 40 minutes until tender. Drain the mushrooms. If you wish you can save the liquid to use as a mushroom broth. Now squeeze out the excess water from the mushrooms. Don’t mush them to death, but just lightly squeeze them and shake off the water so they are on the drier side. Slice them into nice thick slices, about ½ inch. Toss them in the cornstarch so they are evenly coated and shake off the excess.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is nice and hot before adding in the mushrooms so that they fry, and not just soak up the oil. Fry the mushrooms until they are lightly golden on all sides, and no white cornstarch remains.
- In the meantime make the sauce by adding all of the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes until it begins to thicken. Add in the fried shiitakes and toss to coat. Serve immediately over rice or in anyway that you desire, and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
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I don’t comment on recipes often, but this was perfect!!! I usually alter recipes a bit, but this was spot on! So very yummy!! The only tweaks I made were: amino acids (that’s what I had), Tabasco (same as aminos) and vegetable oil.
I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!!
Jess @ IDTLC Support says
Wonderful! We're so happy you enjoyed this recipe and we appreciate you sharing your tweaks.
Shari Z says
Hadn’t made this in awhile and almost forgot how great it is! Served over brown jasmine rice with snap pea stir fry veggies…yum!
Sam Turnbull says
Do you think I could try this recipe with fresh shitake mushrooms?
Thank you for sharing this simple yet lovely recipe! I replaced half the soy sauce with water since I didn't have rice to go with. It was yummy! =^.^=
Could you make this without frying? Maybe baking or in the air fryer?
Came to ask the same! Avoiding oil as much as possible and wondering how they would turn out baked in the oven. Guess we’ll have to try!
Will dried Portabella mushrooms work for this recipe? Looks yummy!!
This recipe is amazing! Incredible, delicious, and every other yummy word out there. Wow!
How big are your dried shiitake? :O I think 15 of mine is barely ½ cup :O
Hector Cameron says
Really delicious! I've made it a couple times now and I like a little added chinkiang vinager for a kind of extra zip of malty flavour. I also up the ginger quantity because why not?!
Sam Turnbull says
So happy you enjoyed!!
One can never have too much ginger hey Hector?
Greetings from Ecuador! I have a question, can I use fresh Portobellos or ostras instead of Shiitake? It is kind of difficult to find them here.. And even worst in a middle of a quarentine
I know I'm not Sam but I'm in the same boat as you (in Peru) - I made it with Hongos Ostra and they turned out great
This looks amazing! Recipe has been saved and I look forward to making this soon. This is the perfect kind of recipe to post on Instagram at this moment- I have everything needed in the pantry already and don't have to take a trip to the dreaded grocery store for ingredients lol.
Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your recipes and humor, I'm so glad I stumbled across your Instagram a while ago. I am mostly plant based, and cook 100% vegan at home, and I have my little collection of favorite recipe makers I follow and you're one of the top! What I like about your recipes that sets you apart imo is how widely appealing they are to most people, the flavors are comfortable and familiar. So as a mom of three picky kids and husband who mostly humors my way of eating, I can usually count on you to deliver recipes that they will enjoy as well.
Also, I think it's totally ok to drool over animal based recipes lol. I mean, I think most people who go vegan do so primarily for ethical or health reasons, not necessarily because they don't think meat and cheese tastes good, at least in the beginning .
Finally, have you considered putting your new comment field at the top of the comments? It makes it easier to leave a comment without having to scroll all the way to the end, especially in fabulous recipes like yours that generate lots of comments
Sam Turnbull says
So happy you're enjoying all my content Laura!! 🙂
This was great. I made a vegetable broth using the dried shiitake then made this afterward. Only one thing I’d change. The amount of soy sauce is too much it was so salty, I had to add about 1/2 cup of water oh and I used low sodium soy sauce. Also these would be great as a crunchy snack or use them as dipping chips.
Sam Turnbull says
Glad you enjoyed!
Hey Deb Try coconut aminos taste just like soy sauce but not salty like that. Give it a try so much better for you too.