King oyster mushrooms have become my new obsession since going meat-free again in May. Like tofu, they’re extremely versatile and go well with just about any combination of flavors. Their richly savory umaminess and meaty texture make them an ideal stand-in for meat. I’ve been revisiting traditional Vietnamese classics, such as bánh mì thịt xá xíu (char siu pork sandwich) and gà xào sả ớt (lemongrass and chili chicken), and translating them into vegetarian versions with these delectable mushrooms.
Gà xào sả ớt is one of the first dishes that my mom had taught me to make. It’s a perfect starter dish for rookies learning how to cook Vietnamese food because it calls for few ingredients and doesn’t require any complex techniques. This spicy lemongrass king oyster mushrooms dish is a meatless version of that chicken dish, but it’s even quicker and easier to prepare. Although the cooking time is much shorter than that of the chicken dish, it’s equally as flavorful and delicious. Vietnamese meals are never just one dish, so I usually serve this with a side of greens, such as stir-fried water spinach, and of course, steamed jasmine rice. And if I’m feeling really extra, I’ll make a soup dish, like this one, as well.
Thanks for reading,
Spicy Lemongrass King Oyster Mushrooms
- 3 king oyster mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp lemongrass* minced
- 1.5 tsp ground turmeric
- 1.5 tsp fish sauce or soy sauce for vegetarian/vegan version
- 1 bird's eye chili finely sliced
- hot water
- After rinsing under cold water and patting the mushrooms dry, slice in half lengthwise, then into 1 cm thick slices.
- Heat cooking oil over medium-high heat in a sauté pan. Add minced garlic and lemongrass and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Toss in the sliced mushrooms and give them a quick stir. Then sprinkle the ground turmeric evenly over the mushrooms.
- After giving the mushrooms another stir, add enough hot water to cover the mushrooms halfway. Season with fish sauce (or soy sauce) and add the sliced chili pepper. Turn the heat down to medium low and allow to simmer and reduce.
- Once most of the liquid has reduced, serve with steamed jasmine rice along with some green veggies.