Sweet and sour mushrooms

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Mushrooms can be polarising: I know some people who love them and others who can’t stand them. If you happen to belong to the latter group, feel free to swap the mushrooms for another vegetable, such as cauliflower, or even tofu – just remember to adjust the baking time. And if you plan on serving this some time after cooking it, keep the mushrooms separate until you’re ready to eat, as their crispy battered exterior will soften if they’re left sitting in the sauce for too long.

Use rice flour instead of all-purpose, and use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (35 g) breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup (35 g) plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) plant milk
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • sliced spring onion (scallion) and sesame seeds, to garnish
  • steamed rice, to serve

Sweet and sour sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, roughly sliced
  • 1 small red pepper (capsicum), deseeded and sliced
  • 1 small green pepper (capsicum), deseeded and sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 cup (160 g) pineapple chunks
  • ½ cup (125 ml) pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce – optional

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Lightly toast the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan until golden. Lay out three shallow bowls on your countertop: in the first, toss together the toasted breadcrumbs and half of the salt. In the second bowl, mix the flour, chilli powder, pepper and the rest of the salt, then pour the plant milk into the last bowl. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone mat. Take a mushroom and toss it in the flour mix until well coated. Now dip it quickly into the milk so the flour goes tacky, then quickly transfer it to the breadcrumbs, toss to coat well and place it on the baking tray. Coat the rest of the mushrooms in the same way, then bake for 12–15 minutes until golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, make the sweet and sour sauce. Put the oil into a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry the onion until translucent, soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the peppers, celery and ½ cup (125 ml) water, then cover and cook until the peppers are soft and the celery has lost its bite, about 5–7 minutes. Now add the pineapple chunks and juice, sugar, salt, lemon juice, ketchup and Sriracha sauce, if using. Let the sauce cook, uncovered, for 5–7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the crispy baked mushrooms to the sweet and sour sauce and stir well to coat. Garnish with spring onion and sesame seeds, then serve immediately, with steamed rice.