David and Charlotte Bailey have taken the British street market scene by storm with vibrant, healthy vegetarian and vegan cuisine sold from their ‘Wholefood Heaven’ truck. Their food is not about what’s missing – it’s about maximizing the potential and flavour of plant-based ingredients.
The Fresh Vegan Kitchen* is packed with dishes from regions with a long tradition of vegetarian eating, such as Asia and India, as well as innovative twists on Spanish tapas, Middle Eastern mezze, Chinese dim sum and more. The front cover gives you a flavour of the stunning photography which continues throughout the book, and within a few pages you will have forgotten that these are egg- and dairy-free recipes, as every single dish jumps off the page just asking to be eaten.
Many thanks to the Baileys and publishers Pavilion for permission to share the recipe below for Salt & Pepper Oyster Mushrooms. I’ll be honest – I usually skip past recipes involving deep-frying…. it’s all just a bit scary, messy and smelly, isn’t it? Well actually, having decided to tread outside my comfort zone, this really wasn’t any of the above!
Not scary, as I used my super-duper Heston Digital Thermometer* which clips to the side of the pan so you are fully in control of the temperature at all times. Not smelly, thanks to a trusty new extractor fan in our kitchen, and not too messy as I just tipped the cooled oil back into an empty bottle and threw it in the bin. These little crispy mushrooms are SO worth the effort – far better than anything I’ve had from a Chinese takeaway in a long time!
Salt & Pepper Oyster Mushrooms with crispy garlic, shallots and chilli
from The Fresh Vegan Kitchen by David & Charlotte Bailey
- For the crispy fried shallots
- 500 ml vegetable oil
- 5 small shallots thinly sliced
- For the rest
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- 2 long red chillis deseeded and thinly sliced
- 125 g oyster mushrooms torn into strips
- 50 g cornflour cornstarch
- 1 spring onion green part only, very thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
Put the oil in a wok or large saucepan and heat to about 160°C/325°F, or until a small piece of bread sizzles and turns golden within 20 seconds. Add the shallots to the pan and stir gently, watching closely for the first signs of them turning golden (this should take a couple of minutes). As soon as the shallots start to change colour, carefully remove them from the oil using a small sieve. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and leave to cool.
Check the temperature of the oil and turn off the heat if it has become too hot. When the oil is back to 160°C/325°F, prepare the garlic in exactly the same way.
Check the temperature of the oil again, then deep fry the chillies - as they are a little more prone to burning, we find it easier to deep-fry them in a small sieve, dipping them in and out of the oil until they show the very first signs of going crispy.
Bring the oil up to 200°C/400°F. In a bowl, toss the mushrooms in the cornflour until they're completely coated. Working in batches, shake off any excess cornflour and deep-fry half of the mushrooms, stirring them occasionally with a spoon. When they start to look nice and crispy, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain on kitchen paper and season generously with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining batch.
Transfer the mushrooms to a plate, sprinkle over the garlic, chilli, shallots and spring onion and serve.
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