Cripsy & Chewy Sesame Shiitake

Updated: Mar 10, 2020

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 1/2 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

Prep Time 40 mins

Cook Time 10 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Slightly crispy on the outside, super chewy and juicy on the inside, coated in a sticky sweet and spicy sauce. A vegan version of sesame beef.

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: Chinese

Servings: 2

Calories: 190 kcal


For the shiitake:

2 cups dried shiitakes (12-16 mushrooms)

Boiling water (to soak the mushrooms)

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons light oil (such as canola or peanut), plus more if needed

For the sesame sauce:

1/4 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

For garnish:

2 green onion , thinly sliced

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

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