This Asian-style vegan roast ‘chicken’, 素烧鸡 is succulent and flavorful in each bite. Similar to my vegan lemon ‘chicken’, king oyster mushroom is the key to the juicy tender filling.
I love mushrooms – a lot! It’s a versatile ingredient that gives a dish so much flavor. Using mushrooms as the main ingredient to create that meaty texture has been around since I was a kid. This includes mutton made from mushrooms stem, chicken satay made from lion’s mane mushrooms, and many many more.
Similar to my vegan lemon ‘chicken’, I’m using king oyster mushroom which has the most fantastic texture that yields a juicy tender filling in this recipe. If you have not tried this type of mushroom before, the taste is milder than dried Shiitake and has a distinct meaty and juiciness texture when cooked.
Normally, roast chicken is served with chicken rice and a side of ginger-garlic chile sauce. Since I’ve shared the char siu rice in my previous posts, I’m focusing on creating just the entrée here. This recipe is inspired by VegePapa‘s YouTube channel.
How to make Asian-style Vegan Roast ‘Chicken’
Step 1: Prepare the mushroom
Clean the king oyster mushrooms with a brush to remove debris. Then, cut off the top and reserve that for other dishes such as stir-fries.
Fill a large pot or skillet with water, enough to submerge the mushrooms without overflowing. Set to high heat and bring to boil. Season with a pinch of salt. Prepare a bowl of ice water.
Carefully slide the mushrooms into the hot water. Using a tong, turn and submerge the mushrooms so the whole stem is fully cooked through about 10 minutes. After 5-8 minutes, you’ll notice that the skin starts to turn from white to slightly gray. To check the doneness, insert a cake tester into the stem. If it goes through easily, then it’s ready. Tip: When the mushroom is fully through, it should also feel heavy when you lift it up.
Remove and quickly immerse the mushrooms in the bowl of ice water to cool down.
To cut the mushrooms into cutlet shape, you’ll need a sharp knife. Pat the mushroom dry and lay it on a sturdy flat surface or chopping board. Using a knife, make a large slit from the cap towards the stem. Turn the knife to ‘peel’ the mushrooms like how you peel an apple in a spiral motion. Aim to keep it as a whole cutlet between 5mm – 1cm thick piece, depending on how large the mushroom is. Then, gently score both sides. Continue with the remaining mushrooms.
Prepare the salt rub by mixing together mushrooms seasoning, salt, sugar, and a dash of Chinese 5-spice powder in a bowl. Then, rub the mushrooms cutlets generously with this prepared salt. Marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Step 2: Assemble the cutlet
Prepare the soy sauce marinade and a brush. To create the flaky exterior layer, I used frozen tofu skin or yuba (picture below). Instead of using water to soften the skin, brush it with the soy sauce marinade above. This will season and turn the skin into a pliable wrapper at the same time.
Because my tofu skin comes in a large round wrapper, I halved it. Each half is enough to wrap 2 cutlets.
Place a tofu skin on a work surface and brush it with the soy sauce marinade until it starts to soften.
Stack 2 cutlets together and place them to the lower end of the tofu skin. Lift up the bottom and fold over the mushrooms. Tuck the tip of the tofu skin under the bottom cutlet. Bring both sides of the tofu skin to the middle, then fold it up to the top. While folding, brush each opening with the soy sauce. Repeat with the last 2 cutlets.
Step 3: Cook the mushrooms cutlet and serve
Fill a large non-stick skillet with enough oil to rise up to 2-cm to the side of the pan. Set to medium and heat to about 300F. To test, drop a piece of unused tofu skin into the oil, if it starts to sizzle, then, it’s ready.
Carefully slide the wrapped cutlet into the hot oil, seamed side down, and shallow fry until golden brown, turning occasionally. Fry in 2 batches if the skillet is small. If the tofu skin turns brown too quickly, turn down the heat.
When ready, transfer the cutlet to a cooling rack. Cut into bite-sized pieces when it’s cooled and serve with a cucumber and a side of ginger-garlic chile sauce.
Asian-style vegan roast ‘chicken’ cooking tips
- King oyster mushrooms are hard to come by sometimes, so feel free to sub the filling using my vegan unagi or sweet and sour ‘fish’ recipe. The texture will be different but with the tofu skin wrap, anything will turn super yum.
- The recipe calls for 4 stems, which weighs about 1.2lbs (550g) in total. Generally, a medium-sized 5-in to 6-in tall stem with a 1.5-in diameter is what I get. The weight is not the main point though, so get 4 that is about the same size so you can stack them together. Large stem yields a larger cutlet.
- Tofu skin (Yuba) works the best as they can wrap the cutlets snuggly in just a few folds. Once fried, it also creates a crispy layer on the outside and once cooled, it softens a little for a chewier bite. I’ve tried with softened rice paper as well and air-fry it until crispy but you’ll need to consume it quickly or it will turn chewy quick.
- Other marinade option – Instead of salt rub, feel free to use the vegan lemon ‘chicken’ marinade for the mushrooms. If you can find red fermented bean curd, add that to the soy sauce marinade for a robust flavor (which is what we use for smoked ‘goose’).
This Vegan roast ‘chicken’ is
- Made from the juicy and tender king oyster mushrooms
- easily customizable – use gluten free soy sauce as an option
- Delicious and tasty as-is
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Asian-style Vegan Roast ‘Chicken’ mushroom – 素烧鸡
- 4 large King oyster mushrooms ~1.2 lbs
- 1 large tofu skin yuba
- ½ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- dash of Chinese 5-spice powder
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon mushroom seasoning
- ¼ cup of water
- Prepare the mushrooms. Clean the stems with a brush to remove debris. Then, slice the top off. Fill a large pot or wok with water and bring it to a boil. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Season the hot water with salt and carefully slide in the mushrooms.
- Boil the mushrooms, turning occasionally and immerse them into the hot water when they float up. Cook for about 10 minutes until the outer layer turn slightly grayish. To check the doness, insert a cake tester into the stem and if it goes through easily, it's done. If not, cook for another minute or so. The mushroom should feel heavy when you lift it up.
- When ready, remove the stems and soak them in the ice water bath.
- Prepare the salt rub by mixing together mushrooms seasoning, sugar, salt, and Chinese 5-spice powder in a bowl until well combined.
- Next, drain out the mushrooms water. Take a stem and pat dry with paper towel and gently squeeze to remove the water that’s trapped inside.
- To create a cutlet, place the stem on a chopping board with the length facing you like the number 1. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the mushrooms in a spiral motion (think of peeling an apple) until you get a large cutlet. At this time, the cutlet will curl up, turn it over and score the side. This should flatten the cutlet. Now, turn it over and score the other side. Repeat until you get 4 cutlets.
- To season the cutlet, pat dry the cutlet with towel, if needed. Then, rub each side with the salt rub and let them sit for at least 15 minutes.
- Prepare the soy sauce liquid by whisk together soy sauce, maple syrup, mushroom seasoning, and water in a bowl until well combined.
- Next, using a pair of scissors, cut the large tofu skin into half. Brush one side with the soy sauce liquid until they start to soften.
- Stack two cutlets together and place it on one end of the tofu skin. Lift the bottom of the tofu skin up and fold over the cutlets. Tuck the tofu skin under the bottom cutlet to secure it. Then, fold in the sides and flip to roll up the cutlet. Brush the tofu skin with each roll (check my video or pictures above). Repeat the same steps with the next cutlet.
- To cook the cutlet, fill a non-stick skillet with oil to rise up to 2-cm to the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 300F. To check the oil, drop a piece of tofu skin into the hot oil, if it sizzles, then the oil is ready. Carefully slide the cutlet and shallow fry, turning occasionally with a tong, until golden brown. Fry in 2 batches if needed.
- When ready, dish out the cutlet and transfer to a drain rack to cool. The drain rack will keep the cutlet crispy as well.
- Then, cut each cutlet into bite-sized slices and serve with a side of ginger-garlic sauce.