Sweet and Spicy Mushroom Stir Fry

Please welcome guest author Garrett McCord as he shares a lip-smacking recipe for mushroom stir-fry he recreated from one he enjoyed in China. ~Elise

During a recent trip through China I ate a lot of life changing food. Sichuan stir-fried duck tongues, homemade noodles in beef sauce, spicy lotus root with ginger, Sandouping-style boiled peanuts, curried yak with butter, deep fried river shrimp with garlic… Oh! The list goes on! You can believe that I was taking plenty of notes so that I could recreate these dishes back in the States.

While in Beijing and Xi’an I noticed that much of the food there was sweeter than the rest of China. One particular dish we had quite a few times was a simple mushroom stir-fry. It was spicy, but not too much. Just enough to make the tongue tingle a bit. It was also quite sweet, but not sickeningly so. When I asked one of the cooks what made it sweet he pulled down a jar of practically-black honey whose musky fragrance, even with the lid firmly closed, dominated a kitchen packed with garlic and scallions. I was smitten.

I went back to my dish and began to pick it apart; chilies, garlic, ginger, and glazed mushrooms of all kinds… I was so keen on how the cook had achieved such flavor with such simple ingredients that I was determined to figure it out.

After a bit of playing I’ve re-created the recipe and I think it’s rather spot on. Composed of a lightly sweet glaze, a carefree sauce, and ingredients you likely have at home or can easily find at any grocery store it’s a light, savory, and honeyed recipe you’ll quickly add to your cold weather repertoire.

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Any clear honey will do, the darker the better.

Ingredients

Glaze

  • 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking gluten-free)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon shaoxing cooking wine or cooking sherry
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

Stir-Fry

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2-5 dried red chilies, roughly chopped OR 1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons sesame, grapeseed, or other high smoke-point oil
  • 2 lbs. of mixed mushrooms (oyster, crimini, button, shitake, enoki, whathaveyou...), roughly chopped or quartered (you want bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups of snow peas or snap peas, de-stringed
  • 8 green onions, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Method

1 Make the glaze by whisking together the stock, honey, and soy sauce in a bowl and set aside. Make the sauce by whisking together the stock, soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, cooking wine or sherry, and the corn starch in a bowl and set that aside as well.

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2 Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or a wok over high heat. When the oil is glistening and a bead of water evaporates in under a second add the mushrooms and toss. Allow the mushrooms to cook for a few minutes until they start to squeak and give up their water (you'll see their water in the pan). When they do add the glaze. Allow the glaze to boil off, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes. When barely any more liquid remains take the mushrooms off the heat and set them aside in a bowl. There may be bits of sugar caramelized to the side of the pan, don't fret about it.

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3 Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the snow peas and green onions and toss for about 30 more seconds.

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4 Increase heat to high. Add the sauce and allow the mixture to come to a boil. The sauce will thicken considerably. Add the mushrooms back to the mixture and cook for about 20 more seconds. Take off the heat. Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds if using.

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