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.

Sweet and Spicy Mushroom Stir Fry Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 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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38 Comments

  1. Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker

    This looks awesome! I love mushrooms, and the sweet/spicy stir fry combination sounds amazing.

  2. Katrina

    This sounds delightful! Yum!

  3. Melanie

    This sauce/glaze combination sounds wonderful, but I am not a mushroom fan. Do you think the recipe could be adapted to work with tofu, other vegetables or meat? Any suggestions?

    This is a mushroom recipe. To take away the main ingredient is to change it significantly. I suppose you could try very firm tofu, but I can’t say what the result will be. I imagine it should work, but try it for yourself. ~Garrett

  4. Becki's Whole Life

    This would be such a hit in my house – we love mushrooms! I love the sauce too and they go so well with snow peas.

  5. Jenn and Seth

    Oh my god, I want to make this right now! It looks and sounds so delicious!

  6. Culinary Cache

    This looks delicious!

  7. mrsj

    I always thought it was strange when my husband wanted to put mushrooms in the stir fry, lol, but the combo here seems to make sense. I’m definitely saving this! I wonder if you could get away with brown sugar instead of the honey?

    Not sure on using brown sugar as it has a totally different flavor, etxture, etc. ~Garrett

  8. Amanda

    This looks amazing, thanks for sharing it!

  9. Jeba

    I thought this recipe sounded fantastic so I tried it tonight. To be honest, it’s quite bland, not particularly sweet nor spicy. I can think of much better uses for 2 pounds of mushrooms.

  10. Amber

    Garrett, this looks fabulous! What kind of honey did you end up using? I get a tar-black honey at the farmers’ market that has a molasses flavor. I’ve also got a dark oak honey that’s smokey. Do either of those sound close?

    Use your favorite. I think the black honey would be great, personally, but that’s my taste. ~Garrett

  11. Anna @ the shady pine

    I love spiciness that doesn’t knock you out but rather gives that tingle of slight heat and enhances everything else you are tasting. This looks really delicious!

  12. Elise

    I was with Garrett as he made this, and I and a friend ate the result. It was anything but bland. You can make it as spicy as you want. Just add more chili and ginger. You can also make it sweeter by adding more honey. Also, the more flavorful the mushrooms you use, the more flavorful the result will be.

  13. Lisa

    Can you use dried mushrooms? This looks incredible!

    I suppose, but I would encourage you to use fresh here. ~Garrett

  14. Vicky

    Sounds delicious! I have all the ingredients on hand except for all the mushrooms, but will have to try making this soon! Was this dish served with rice/noodles in China?

    Often the meals were many dishes available on the table. Rice was served, but not necessarily with this dish so much as a bowl of rice was available for all the dishes. ~Garrett

  15. Alice Yu

    It must be a savory delicacy.

  16. Zach

    Unless I’m crazy, the pictures show sugar snap peas (those are way too thick to be any snow pea I’ve ever seen) and the recipe calls for snow peas…which one was actually in the dishes came across in China? I could actually see either pea working here.

    Either one will work fine in this dish. (I have a habit of interchanging sugar with snap, and vice versa. My apologies on that.) ~Garrett

  17. Katie

    This has my name all over it. Yum!

  18. Kalyn

    Go Garrett! This looks like a brilliant recipe!

  19. Delishhh

    What a wonderful vegetarian dish!

  20. Mary

    Wonderful flavors – this sounds delicious.

  21. jenni

    Mmmh this sounds great! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I wonder what kind of meat would go well with this? And when would I have to add it?

    I wouldn’t add meat at all to this dish, but if you want to play with it feel free. =) ~Garrett

  22. Mallory

    Mmmm I love mushrooms (I even eat them raw) so naturally this looks delicious! What a great dish to whip up in a flash.

  23. Cookin' Canuck

    I haven’t even made this yet and I can already tell that it’s going to become a staple in our house. What fantastic flavors!

  24. Terry in Colchester, VT

    On our first trip to China, we had a very similar dish in Beijing. It was absolutely delightful and not a speck was left behind. Thank you so much for this recipe – I will be trying at as soon as possible – probably this weekend!

  25. Rachel

    Just made this dish tonight…one word….YUM! I copied the ingredients exactly and it was a crowd pleaser. Easy! My hats off to Garrett. I love this site. I have never been let down.

  26. Sydney

    This looks amazing! Would adding a lo mein or udon noodle work well with this? Either to cook with the sauce or glaze part or just cook separately and serve the noodles like a side of rice.

    Yes, and either way would be fine, I imagine. ~Garrett

  27. Joey

    I just made this– and it was delicious! My only moderate changes were adding chicken and using Hot Sesame Oil, as I ran out of [dark] Sesame Oil, and using lower-sodium soy sauce. It was very good. I also added a handful of sliced white onion and some yellow bell pepper. The onion went in at the same time as the garlic & ginger, and the peppers went in with the snap peas to keep them slightly crunchy.

    Definitely making this again! It was a little bit sweet, so I added some crushed red pepper to my plate to balance it out more.

    Also, make sure you use STOCK! Stock vs Broth is a drastic difference! Broth is much weaker in flavor. (I used chicken. Sorry for totally meat-ing it up! lol)

  28. Sheila

    This recipe was amazing. This is definitely going in my recipe box. Thank you so much!

  29. Kayla E. V.

    I made this tonight for my roommate and I, we recently became vegetarians. We loved this! Our friend was over who doesn’t like mushrooms and she even said it was amazing! The sauce is sooo good love it the honey the ginger the chili flakes the mushrooms and snap peas! Ahhhh!! We almost ate it all! Thanks so much for this recipe.

  30. Katlan

    This was an incredible dish! Loved the sauce and it was just the right amount of spice. I didn’t use all the mushroom that was suggested only because I am not a huge mushroom fan. I used shitake mushrooms and the glaze made them taste great. I added broccoli when I added the green beans. I replaced green onion with regular onion because I had none in my fridge. I also fried up some tofu in a seperate frying pan with sesame seed oil and then added the it to the end result of the stir fry. Loved it, great, great recipe!

  31. st cloud floral

    What a great recipe, we are going to try this tomorrow! Thank you.

  32. Kathryn

    Didn’t have any chili anything on hand. Made this anyway, and guess what? My three young children demolished it, mushrooms and all, and that’s a huge endorsement! Thanks for posting.

  33. Gail

    I just made this tonight and it is great. The combination of flavors works really well. It only served 2 because we couldn’t stop eating it. Num!

  34. Love it!

    Pretty good! We rate it a 6-7ish.

    Out of 6-7ish? Sweet. A perfect score! ~Garrett

  35. Annie

    Is there anything I could substitute for the cooking sherry/wine? That’s something I don’t keep around the house and rarely see in recipes, so I’m not eager to buy some. Thank you!

    Other than regular sherry then not really, no. Sorry, Annie. ~Garrett

  36. Julie

    Tried this recipe last night, and it was delicious! The sauce was so flavorful. We served it with udon noodles.

  37. Melinda

    This sounds delicious, and I will try it this weekend. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  38. Daniela

    I made a version of this dish tonight with ingredients I had on hand. I didn’t have mushrooms so I used chicken as the main ingredient. It was delicious! I added bok choy, celery, julienned carrot, red pepper, and udon noodles. Not very authentic, I’m sure, but sooo good. Thanks for the amazing recipe!

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