Yes, this vegan sesame ‘chicken’ has an aromatic and nutty sesame layer on the outside with a juicy and flavorful mushroom on the inside.
Mushroom is really a versatile ingredient, agree? The dried one has such a deep flavor and the fresh ones are no less. The fibery texture and how juicy once cooked make it a great addition to a meal, especially when you look for other protein to use.
In today’s recipe, the mushrooms are prepared similar to the Vegan Lemon ‘Chicken’ and Rice Burger, where you’ll first boil the stems and let them cool before handling. Then, instead of cutting it open like unwrapping a gift wrapper, you only need to cut it into two cutlets. I also use a meat tenderizer to pound the cutlet so they better absorb the marinade and create a soft fibery texture when you bite into it. It’s the same method we use to make rendang using the stems of the dried mushrooms.
This recipe is really easy and makes a great side dish or meal by itself. Serve it with a simple condiment or use the ginger garlic sauce and pair it with rice for ‘chicken’ rice.
How to make vegan sesame ‘chicken’
Step 1: Prepare the mushrooms and marinade
Clean the mushrooms to remove debris. Slice the top off or keep it if preferred. For a larger mushroom stem, cut it into two, crosswise to get 2 logs.
Bring a pot of water to boil and season with salt. Boil the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes or until the skin turns from white to grayish, while immersing the stems in the hot water a few times during cooking. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate to cool. Alternatively, soak them in an ice-water bath to speed up the process.
Once it’s cool enough to handle, pat the mushrooms dry with a towel and slice each stem into 2 cutlets, lengthwise. Use a meat tenderizer and gently pound the cutlet 1-2 times. Transfer cutlet to a baking pan or shallow plate.
Prepare the marinade by whisking together soy sauce, vegan oyster sauce, sesame oil, and a dash of pepper in a bowl until well combined.
Pour this marinade over the cutlet and massage the cutlet to coat all sides. Marinate for 10 minutes.
Step 2: Cook the mushrooms
Prepare the batter. Combine tempura batter mix with enough ice-cold water to create a thick batter. I used store-bought tempura mix or you can use the Korean ‘Fried’ Tofu batter for this, but make sure to use ice-cold water. The cold water will yield a crispier outer layer.
Next, heat a skillet over medium heat and add a thin layer of oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip the cutlet in the batter and sprinkle raw sesame seeds on the battered layer. Pat to adhere. I used a fork to hold the cutlet for ease of adding the sesame seeds.
Carefully slide the coated cutlet into the hot oil. Fit as many as the pan can comfortably hold in one single layer. Shallow fry until golden brown, about, 3-5 minutes before flipping. Lower the heat if they brown too quickly.
Note: If you are using white raw sesame seeds, the color will change from white to slightly yellowish.
Once the cutlets have crisped up to your likings, remove and transfer to a paper-lined plate to absorb excess oil. Sieve out leftover sesame seeds before frying another batch.
Cut the cutlet into halve or serve as-is if you have a smaller size. Serve immediately with a side of rice or as-is with the 10-minute ginger garlic sauce. Enjoy!
Vegan sesame mushrooms ‘chicken’ cooking tips
- Mushrooms choices – While I love to use king oyster mushrooms in a lot of my recipes, some other great alternatives include oyster, bella, and lion mane’s. For these three mushrooms, no boiling ahead is necessary.
- Tofu is another great alternative with raw white sesame seed – check the Crispy Sesame Tofu recipe
- Other batter options
Why You Need this Vegan Sesame mushrooms ‘Chicken’
- Easy ingredient list
- Delicious and Tasty
- Easily customizable – use gluten-free batter mix for a no gluten option
- Crispy and Crunchy
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!
Vegan Sesame ‘Chicken’
- 3 large King oyster mushrooms [~1.3lbs]
- white raw sesame seeds
- cooking oil
- ¾ cup crispy tempura mix
- ice-cold water
- Prepare the mushrooms. Clean the stems with a brush to remove debris. Then, cut the cap off and reserve for another dish, then halve the stems, crosswise to get two logs.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add with a pinch of salt. Boil the mushroom stems until they turn slightly softer, from white to grayish, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and let it cool, or soak in an ice water bath to speed up the process.
- While waiting, prepare the marinade in a bowl. Once the mushrooms are cool to handle, pat them dry with a towel. Cut each stem in half, lengthwise to get 2 cutlets.
- Lay the flat side on a work surface. Use a meat tenderizer and gently pound it a few times. Lay the cutlets on a baking pan or shallow plate and pour the marinade over, then rub them generously until well coated. Marinate for 10 minutes.
- Next, combine crispy tempura mix and enough ice-cold water to create a thick batter (I use a little more than ½ cup of water) in a shallow plate.
- Heat a 10″ skillet with enough oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan (about 0.5 cm rise to the side) over medium heat.
- Dip mushroom cutlets in the batter then sprinkle generously with sesame seeds. Pat to adhere. Slowly lower the cutlets into the hot oil. Add as many cutlets as the pan comfortably fits in one single layer.
- Shallow fry until golden brown before flipping. Continue to shallow fry this side for another 1-2 minutes. Then, transfer the cutlets to a paper-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
- Slice the cutlets into two and serve warm with a side of your favorite condiment.
- Other batter options if you prefer not to use Kikkoman crispy tempura batter mix, please check: Korean ‘Fried’ Tofu or Crispy Sesame Tofu recipes.
- Please use white raw sesame seeds so they don’t burn too quickly during shallow frying.
- Please check my 10-minute ginger garlic sauce if you like this condiment.
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Products I’ve used:
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1. Kikkoman Tempura Batter Mix – you can find this at any grocery store and look for gluten-free version if you prefer.
2. White sesame seeds – I couldn’t find the same exact one online but any white sesame seeds will work