French Fried Enokis
One of the many things that confused and intrigued me when I moved to China. I mean, mushrooms in general were a complete unknown to me. I basically only ate them accidentally when someone ordered a vegetable pizza, or when I ordered a salad from a pizza joint. They were always button mushrooms and never delicious. I sort of wrote mushrooms off as a non-food for many years.
Then I moved to the middle kingdom and realized that mushrooms were everything.
Mushrooms have been magical for centuries in China and Japan, long coveted for their medicinal properties. There is good reason traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have been prescribing cups of mushroom tea for so long; mushrooms contain a host of important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and vitamin D. Perhaps what makes mushrooms so magnificent is that they contain selenium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and copper, which are all essential minerals we need for things like building healthy bones and teeth as well as having a smoothly running nervous system.
One mushroom that I have totally fallen in love with for it's crunchy texture and mildly pleasant taste is the enoki mushroom. I have had it as a cold and spicy snack, as an addition to soup, charred on the grill, and stir fried. I wanted to create something that was gorgeous to look at and of course, tasty. If you are having guests that you want to impress with an ahh-mazing appetizer or slammin' side dish, this is one to try for sure.
It's a really fun way to try an ingredient that you might not be too familiar with, but I am sure you will grow to love.
PRO TIP: If your digestion has been a lil' lagging, these mushrooms should help you do the trick, if you know what I'm saying'. In China enoki mushrooms are sometimes given the nickname of, "see you tomorrow mushrooms."
For the French Fried Enokis
1 bunch enoki mushrooms, washed and dried well, and separated into single and small groups of mushrooms. You don't want them too thick or they won't cook evenly to get that nice French fried effect
1 flax egg (1 tbs ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbs water and left to set for 10 minutes)
1.5 C cold club soda
2 C cornstarch + some for dredging
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chopped dried spring onion
1/8 tsp white pepper
Light oil for deep frying, approximately 1.5 C
For the Cream Sauce
1 C cilantro (coriander), washed and roughly chopped
1 C coconut milk or cream
1 tbs lime juice
salt to taste
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flax egg, club soda, cornstarch, salt, paprika, onion, and white pepper.
2. In a medium bowl, add a bit of cornstarch, It doesn't need to be too much, just enough to lightly coat the enokis. Working in small batches, coat prepared enokis.
3. Heat the cooking oil in a large wok to 190 degrees C. Prepare a rack and oil paper to place the enokis on after they are done frying. Once oil is heated, and once again working in small batches, dip about 6 pieces/small bunches of enokis into the cornstarch and club soda mixture using chopsticks until they are well coated, then place them into the hot oil. Move around and turn with chopsticks as necessary until golden brown. Remove and place on prepared rack. Repeat until all enokis are delectably crisp. You may have to adjust the temperature of the wok to ensure the oil doesn't get to hot while frying.
4. For the sauce, add coconut milk or cream, cilantro, lime juice and salt to a high powered blender and blend on high until creamy.
5. Smear some of the sauce on a serving plate in a way that you think looks pretty, then add the enokis. Place extra sauce in a serving bowl and enjoy!
Don't be afraid to serve these crispy lil' things to kids. Mine loved them!