This dish can be a continuation to the Deep Fried Oyster Mushroom 炸鲍鱼菇 that I had made previously although the thought of making this came way later after I thought I have finally perfected the frying batter for the mushrooms. With that essential part to the making of this dish covered, the sweet and sour sauce is what I am left to deal with. As the name suggests, it's both sweet and sour but not too much of either, accentuated with a tinge of spiciness in my case, and neither too thick nor too runny. With hubby's agreeable "ooooh and aaahhh"s as we had this that night, it probably is safe to say that this is surprisingly one of the rare and few too-good-to-be-true perfect first attempts of mine. And sure enough - you know you nailed it when it leaves you craving for more as the plate got polished at the end of the meal.
Shanghai Abalone Mushroom 上海鲍鱼菇
1/2 lb oyster mushroom
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 cup iced cold water
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
a dash or two of Chinese 5-spice powder
a sprinkle or two of salt
a few dashes of white pepper powder
enough cooking oil for deep frying
Sweet and sour sauce
3 heaped tbsps ketchup
1 tbsp Sriracha chili sauce
1 tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp plum sauce
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Hoisin sauce
2½ tbsps black vinegar (I used Chinkiang vinegar)
3 tbsps sugar
4 tbsps water
a dash of Chinese 5-spice powder
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 stalk spring onion (just the green part), thinly sliced to make curls
1/4 carrot, julienned
2 pcs lettuce leaves, rinsed and wiped dry
1. Clean the oyster mushroom according to your personal preference. Should it be rinsed, make sure they are cleaned slightly ahead of time to allow enough time to air dry prior to deep frying.
2. Sift in both the flours into a big, deep bowl and add in the 5-spice powder, salt and white pepper powder. Mix in the Shaoxing wine next. Add in the water slowly and whisk lightly to mix well. Keep stirring gently until a smooth batter is obtained.
3. Heat up the wok with the cooking oil on high heat. Make sure that the oil is well heated before the frying begins. Have it tested with a wooden chopstick. If a stream of tiny bubbles forms around the chopstick when dipped into the oil, the oil is ready. Give a moment more otherwise. Turn the heat down to medium.
4. Working one at a time, dip the mushroom into the batter and swirl lightly to coat evenly. Let any excess batter drip off before transferring it into the hot oil. Repeat with the rest of the mushrooms. Keep in mind not to overcrowd the wok at any time.
5. When it starts browning on the bottom, flip them over and let fry until it browns evenly on the whole. Once nicely crisped up and looking golden in color, remove from oil and drain well on a paper towel.
6. Heat up the sauce in a pan. Bring to a slow boil until the water dries out slightly, thickening the sauce as it goes.
7. Once it reaches the right consistency, remove the pan from heat and add in the deep fried oyster mushrooms. Lightly toss to briefly coat each of them with the sauce.
8. Transfer to a serving plate lined with the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle the sesame seeds all over the top, garnish and serve.