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Recipe Salt & Pepper Mushroom 'Calamari'

Mushrooms have an uncanny ability to transform into other foods -- thanks to their meaty textures and the endless shapes and sizes they grow in. For this dish, Jet Tranter transforms the king trumpet mushroom into a familiar 'seafood' classic -- and you truly would not know the difference!

You will need

Serves 4

  • 400 grams king trumpet mushrooms
  • 60 grams cornstarch, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons salt (to salt the water)
  • Extra salt for seasoning
  • White and black pepper
  • Cooking oil

To serve:

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Vegan mayonnaise
  • A handful of spring onion, finely chopped, to garnish
  • Freshly sliced chillies, to garnish (optional)

Tools required

  • 2 chopsticks - or something of similar shape!

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Directions

15 mins to prep

20 mins to cook

  1. Step 1

    Clean the mushrooms with a brush to remove debris. Remove the butts (hard, woody section at the bottom of stalk) and slice off the tops (of course reserve these to use later in a stir fry, soup, or your fave mushroom dish!) Then, chop each stalk in half so they are about 6cm tall. Then slice each of these lengthwise, to achieve 1.5–2 cm thick strips. (Probably simply halving the stalks from top to bottom - but depends on the size of your mushrooms!).

  2. Step 2

    To make the iconic criss-cross calamari patterns, lay two chopsticks down on your work surface, parallel to each other. Place one strip in between two chopsticks. The chopsticks will prevent your knife cutting all the way through the mushrooms! Using a sharp knife, slice a criss-cross pattern into the mushroom. Repeat with the remaining slices.

  3. Step 3

    Fill a pot with 1.5 litres of water and 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil.

  4. Step 4

    Carefully drop the mushroom slices into the hot water. Simmer, submerging them occasionally with a spoon, until they soften; about 3–4 minutes. Drain and let cool.

  5. Step 5

    Using paper towels or clean kitchen linens, gently pat any excess water off the mushrooms.

  6. Step 6

    In a large shallow plate add 3/4 cup of cornstarch seasoned with 1⁄2 teaspoon each of salt and white pepper.

  7. Step 7

    Coat the mushroom generously with the starch, rubbing it into the creases as needed, then transfer to a clean plate.

  8. Step 8

    Fill a small saucepan halfway with oil and heat it to 160°C. To check if the oil is ready, drop a small piece of mushroom in, and if it sizzles then the oil is ready.

  9. Step 9

    Carefully drop mushrooms into the hot oil and fry until golden. Fry in batches if needed to prevent them from sticking together -- but ensure the oil returns to 160°C again before each batch. Remove and transfer to a paper-lined plate to absorb excess oil.

  10. Step 10

    Season with a bit more salt and black pepper. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing and vegan mayo for dipping!

Recipe: Jet Tranter

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