Vegetarian Mock Eel

December 29, 2016
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 5 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3 as a snack/appetizer
Author Notes

From Chef Josh Grinker of Kings County Imperial. —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 3 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 cups boiling water (or enough to cover)
  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch plus 1/2 teaspoon, divided
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and mince
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Combine mushrooms and water in a bowl; let sit until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain mushrooms and squeeze dry. (Save the mushroom soaking liquid: You can add it to your next soup or sauce. Just save it in the fridge in a covered container and find a use for it in about a week—or freeze it for up to 3 months.) Using scissors, starting from the outside perimeter and turning the mushroom, cut one long 1/4-inch strand of mushroom. Don’t worry if it breaks, but the goal is to get it as long as possible.
  2. Heat 2 inches of oil in a flat-bottomed wok or frying pan with sides until it reads 350° F on a deep-fry thermometer. Toss mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, making sure to shake off any excess cornstarch. Working in batches, fry mushrooms until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to paper towels to drain. Make a slurry by mixing together 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon water.
  3. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon oil from wok; heat over medium-high. Cook three-quarters of scallions and the ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, sugar, and 1 tablespoon water (you could also use vegetable or chicken stock here).
  4. Slowly add slurry; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes (if it is too thick, add more water). Stir in reserved mushrooms; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish with remaining scallions.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Miachel Pruett
    Miachel Pruett
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • JPnyc
  • Evelyn Howell
    Evelyn Howell

4 Reviews

JPnyc September 2, 2019
I used slightly under 3 oz of fresh shiitakes but didn't otherwise adjust the recipe. Now realize 3 oz of dried yields much larger amount of reconstituted mushrooms than 3 oz of fresh. Nonetheless, don't think the differing amounts of shiitakes affects my comment about the sauce. I thought it was near-delicious, but too salty/soy-ey ... and a little too much sugar & cornstarch. (Also, I didn't know how to tap the cornstarch off the shiitakes without risking breaking them!) Next time I'll use more fresh shiitakes (any suggestions about the fresh equivalent to 3 oz dried shrooms?), maybe a little less sugar, and also maybe light soy (or more water and less soy). But, again, definitely worth playing with -- that ginger/scallion/soy combo is delicious, and cutting the shiitakes into strands is genius!
Evelyn H. January 16, 2017
Has anyone tried with rice flour instead of cornstarch? I'd like to try and use up my surplus.
Miachel P. January 12, 2017
This sounds delicious. Love their restaurant and am looking forward to trying out this recipe at home.
Sarah J. January 13, 2017
Hope you enjoy it!