King oyster mushrooms are known for their meaty texture when cooked. They work perfectly as a vegan meat-substitute in many dishes. I decided to turn these mushrooms into fried calamari! The texture is so squid-like, and the ingredients are all relatively inexpensive (definitely less than what you’d pay at your favorite seafood restaurant).
Vegan Fried Calamari (Mực Chay Chiên Giòn)
900 g king oyster mushrooms (approx. 9 mushrooms)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
cornstarch for coating
oil for frying
lemon wedges (topping)
chopped parsley (topping)
Wash and dry king oyster mushrooms. Next, remove ends, and slice the mushrooms down stems, creating mini mushroom pucks, around 1/2 inch thick.
Using a sharp circular edge (e.g. a round piping tip), create holes in the center of your mushroom slices. The hole diameter will depend on the diameter of your slice. For larger slices, create 3/4 inch holes. For smaller slices, it’s going to vary, but make your holes between a quarter inch to half inch.
Next, place mushroom rings into large bowl. Add garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Add extra cayenne for spicier calamari. Toss it all together.
In small bowl, add about 1/2 cup of cornstarch. Keep container of cornstarch nearby in case you need extra. Take the mushroom rings one at a time and coat them in the cornstarch. Shake off any excess, and place them into a separate larger bowl.
Pour 2-3 inches of oil into a pan or wok. Add 1/2 tbsp of corn starch the oil and stir. Heat oil to 375 F.
Carefully place mushrooms into pan, and make sure to not overcrowd. Monitor the temperature to make sure it stays between 360 and 375 degrees.
Cook until calamari is a light golden brown (~2 to 3 minutes). Once your calamari is ready, place them on some paper towels to cool. Repeat until all the mushrooms are used up.
Garnish with chopped parsley. Squeeze lemon juice on top right before eating (or use lemon juice as a dipping sauce with some salt and pepper).