I just recently returned from a family trip to Hungary, where the food was heavy on rich meaty dishes, but light on veggies. I found myself craving one of my meatless meals where I make an array of plant based dishes so there’s a variety read more
Sometimes you just want a fried, crispy, crunchy, snack. Bonus points if there’s a delectable sauce to dip it in. Enter Crispy Shiitake Katsu. Katsu is a Japanese comfort food, usually made with meat or seafood. Coated with panko, it is much lighter and crispier than Western fried foods, and the accompanying sauce is fresh and tangy. The shiitake mushrooms are nice and meaty, making this a great option for vegetarians who are missing the delights of fried chicken.
Yuzu Dipping Sauce
Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms are delicious on their own, but this creamy and tangy dipping sauce takes them to a whole other level. Think of it as a Japanese take on Italian dressing. Fair warning, it does require a good number of ingredients, but they come together so beautifully, it’s hard to leave any one out. Plus, it’s super easy to make-just blitz all the ingredients in a blender or with a handheld blender. I call for Yuzu juice, a type of Japanese citrus, which you can find bottled at an Asian grocer. It adds a unique fragrant note that’s totally different from lime or lemon.
New to Frying?
I know that frying foods can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But these Crispy Shiitake Katsu are an easy introduction to frying. Unlike with chicken, there’s no worries that it’s going to look perfectly done but then be raw inside. The process is very straightforward: mix up the batter, prep the mushrooms, dip them in the batter and then the panko (panko are Japanese breadcrumbs that fry up to a golden color and are unbelievably crispy), and then it’s time to fry.
At this point your mushrooms are going to be a beautiful golden brown. Carefully remove them and place on a paper towel lined plate while you repeat with the remaining shiitake caps. You can also air fry these, or bake, and I have included instructions for both. Any method is going to reward you with an addictively crunchy, crispy little snack-which is totally healthy because it’s vegetables ;). I like to serve these with other little nibbles like Spring Rolls and Pork Gyoza, and of course with plenty of Yuzu Margaritas to wash it all down. Let me know how you enjoy these Crispy Shiitake Katsu by commenting and rating the recipe below, and by tagging @funkyasiankitchen in your pics. We love to hear from you!
- 12 large shiitake caps (the thick meaty ones will have better flavor than the thin ones)
- ½ cup flour
- ½ cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs for dredging
- 1 Tablespoon yuzu juice
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon shichimi pepper
- 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 lemon
Make the sauce:
- Combine the yuzu juice, seasoned rice vinegar, soy sauce, shichimi pepper, sesame seeds, sugar, salt, mayonnaise, neutral oil, and sesame oil in a blender or a tall container if using a handheld blender.
- Zest the lemon and add it to the other ingredients. Cut the lemon in half and juice it and then add the juice into the sauce.
- Blend the sauce for 1 minute until the sauce is combined and the sesame seeds have been slightly crushed. Set aside or store in the refrigerator until ready to use. The sauce can be made ahead of time and held for 1 week in the refrigerator.
For the Mushrooms:
- Combine the flour, salt, and water together in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Set the batter aside.
- Cut the stems off of the mushrooms and then cut them in half. Add the mushrooms to the batter and toss the mushrooms to coat them with the batter. (Make sure to get the underside of the mushrooms too.)
- Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl. Use one hand to drop a mushroom into the breadcrumbs and the other hand to dredge the mushroom in the crumbs. (I like to scoop a little pile of crumbs onto the mushroom and press lightly.)
- Set the mushroom aside on a plate and continue coating the mushrooms, keeping one hand for the wet batter covered mushroom and the other for the dry breadcrumb coating.
- Heat a deep skillet over medium heat for 10 minutes. If using a thermometer, it should read 350. Dip one mushroom in the oil to test for heat. It should sizzle around the edges immediately.
- Put half of the mushrooms in the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown, flipping the mushroom halfway through the cooking process. Drain the mushrooms on a paper towel lined plate and continue frying the rest of the mushrooms.
- You can also air fry the mushrooms or air bake them. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray it with oil and then arrange the mushrooms on the baking pan. Spray the mushrooms liberally with the oil. Bake or air fry at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Keywords: shiitake, plant based, katsu, japanese snacks