Oyster Mushroom Calamari
Let me start by saying: YUM! I have tried all sorts of 'calamari' substitutes and this one is by far the best. Artichokes? Eh. Heart of palm? Meh. These? Yay!! I used to make fake chicken fingers out of portobello mushrooms and can't believe I didn't imagine to use mushrooms. Thank you to a guy I follow on Instagram (Veganmajor) for giving me this idea that he got from someone else. The world is so much better when we can share ideas and inspire each other.
Like I have said on many posts before about animal products, this doesn't taste exactly like calamari. It's not. It won't. But it's still delicious and does a really really good job of recreating a hint of ocean with some delicious 'fried' nuggets. I put that in quotes because I baked mine. I am 100% positive that if you were to fry these they would be delicious, but I chose to bake because of my avoidance of oil.
In addition I made a very easy dip the other day for another asian inspired dish I made and holy moly is it good. I literally ate the leftover sauce with a spoon (I wish I had the grimace emoji because that's kinda gross... but delicious. Still gross to spoon eat sauce).
When finding an egg binder I decided to go with chickpea flour. There's tons of vegan 'egg' substitutes but usually when I'm making something I want breadcrumbs to stick too I go for a batter consistency, often just mixing flour and water to make a slightly thicker than pancake batter that bread crumbs stick too and that bake or fry great. I wanted to see what would happen if I attempted to do this out of a common egg substitute flour instead (chickpea flour). It worked well, but I think a flour mixture would work just fine if chickpea flour isn't in your pantry.
What you will get are crispy outsides with a great texture inside. Much more than other substitutes I have tried for calamari before. Maybe too this could help those people who are terrified of the tentacles; which used to be my favorite. Nice petal shapes are way more aesthetically pleasing than sucker cups lol.
You can also use this general set up for baking or frying lots of things. If you try something fun let me know! I'd love to hear what works well.
(*Your calamari my good sirs)
- Oyster Mushrooms (I had about 1/2 pound)
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs kelp granules
Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring pot of water with kelp flakes to a boil. Break apart mushroom into petal pieces and boil with keep seasoning for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Mix chickpea flour with water, yeast, salt, and garlic. Put this bowl and bowl containing panko next to each other for the coating process. Put baking sheet at the end of the line to place finished pieces onto.
Step 3: After mushrooms are done boiling, set aside until cool enough to handle.
Step 4: Dip each piece of mushroom into chickpea batter and shake off. Then coat in panko bread crumbs and place on baking sheet.
*TIP: Use one hand for chickpea flour and one hand for panko... otherwise your hands will be a hot mess.
Step 5: Bake for 10 minutes and flip. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until desired golden brown.
For the sauce:
- 3 Tbs Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 Tbs Vegan mayo
- 1/2 Tbs Sriracha
I was so pleased how this turned out. It really hit the spot and didn't kill me in calories (because I ate the whole damn thing). I know, I know, people love frying. But once you get used to baking or air frying, it's a totally doable alternative that will leave your heart and waistline so much happier! Let me know if you liked these or what other veggies you think would be good to 'fry'!
Nutrition Information. Servings 2 (not including sauce); Calories 306, Fat 5.1 g, Fiber 6.1 g, Protein 15 g, Carbohydrates 49.2 g