These spicy, tangy, and umami-packed king oyster mushrooms with Thai chili peppers and lime make the perfect vegetable side dish—or a satisfying meat replacement your vegan friends will crave!
Are you a mushroom fanatic? Make this dish!
This recipe was inspired not by our trips to Southeast Asia, but by a dish dreamed up by our fab pal and cookbook author Chef Gregory Gourdet, back when he was the executive chef at Departure Restaurant + Lounge in Portland, Oregon. We liked it so much that I did my best to reverse-engineer it to create the 30-minute Thai Mushroom Stir-Fry recipe in our second cookbook, Ready or Not!
Although that recipe uses a mixture of different mushrooms, I’ve come to prefer making it with meaty and toothsome king oyster mushrooms because they taste amazing and look so impressive.
What are king oyster mushrooms?
If you’ve never tried king oyster mushrooms, you’re in for a real treat! The official name for this type of mushroom is Pleurotus eryngii, but it’s also referred to as king trumpet mushroom, French horn mushroom, king brown mushroom, boletus of the steppes, trumpet royale, and aliʻi oyster—to name just a few. It’s the largest mushroom—hence, the “king” moniker—in the oyster mushroom genus.
You can easily recognize king oyster mushrooms by their thick and cylindrical off-white stems and small brown caps. Although these mushrooms don’t have much flavor or aroma when eaten raw, they readily absorb seasoning and maintain a firm, chewy texture when sautéed, grilled, roasted, or stewed.
Also, unlike other types of mushrooms, the large stem is the main edible part. Because of these unique features, king oyster mushrooms are often used as a replacement for abalone, scallops, and bacon by vegetarians and vegans.
Where do you buy king oyster mushrooms?
You can find this variety of mushroom at most grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but the cheapest place to purchase them is at an Asian market (e.g., 99 Ranch Market or H Mart). There, these mushrooms are at least 25 to 50% less expensive than at other places, even for organic ’shrooms.
If you’re shopping at an Asian market, the king oyster mushrooms typically come pre-packaged in clear plastic bags and are stocked with the rest of the mushrooms in the produce section. I normally choose the organic ones grown in the US or in South Korea.
How do you prepare and store king oyster mushrooms?
King oyster mushrooms have a relatively long shelf life in the fridge, and keep for about 7 to 10 days on a refrigerator shelf (not the crisper). For optimal storage, keep the mushrooms in the sealed plastic packaging they came in or transfer them to a paper bag.
In terms of preparation, trim off the very bottom of each stem with a sharp knife and brush off any dirt or give the ’shrooms a quick rinse in a colander. Because the whole thing is edible, it can be cut up in a bunch of ways depending on the recipe.
For this recipe, I cut the king oyster mushrooms in half lengthwise and then use a sharp paring knife to cut a shallow crisscross pattern on the cut surface. This extra step helps the seasoning penetrate the mushrooms and they’ll brown evenly (no curling up at the sides). Plus, it looks all fancy pants!
If you have extra-large king oyster mushrooms, the stems can be cut crosswise into medallions that resemble scallops. In this case, you would cut the shallow crisscross pattern on the tops and bottoms.
For this Southeast Asian-inspired dish, you’ll need to gather these ingredients:
- King Oyster Mushrooms
- Avocado oil or ghee
- Aromatics: shallots, garlic, ginger
- Thai chili pepper (a.k.a. bird’s eye chili pepper) or crushed red pepper flakes
- Fish sauce or coconut aminos + salt (for vegans or shellfish allergy)
- Lime juice
- Thai herbs: cilantro, mint, and basil
How to cook spicy and tangy king oyster mushrooms
Trim and discard the bottoms of the mushrooms. Then, cut the mushrooms in half, lengthwise.
Use a sharp paring knife to cut a shallow diagonal crisscross pattern on the cut side of the mushroom.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat until hot and swirl in some avocado oil. Carefully, place half of the mushrooms cut side down in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until nicely browned. You may need to press down on the mushrooms to ensure even browning. Next, flip the mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until browned on both sides.
Transfer the mushrooms onto a platter and swirl in another tablespoon of avocado oil into the empty pan. Cook the remaining mushrooms the same way.
When the mushrooms are finished cooking, decrease the heat to medium and add the last tablespoon of avocado oil. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and Thai chili pepper into the empty pan and cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute.
Return the cooked mushrooms back to the pan, along with any reserved liquid.
Pour in the fish sauce and lime juice and toss well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional fish sauce or lime juice if needed.
Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter and scatter on the fresh herbs.
What should you serve with this dish?
- Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken
- Asian Chicken Thighs
- Cracklin’ Chicken
- Instant Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013) and Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017)!
PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD
King Oyster Mushrooms with Thai Chili Peppers and Lime
- 1 pound King Oyster mushrooms ends trimmed
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil divided
- ½ cup minced shallots
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 Thai chili pepper thinly sliced (or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
- 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce or 1 tablespoon coconut aminos + 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (for vegan or vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh Thai basil
- Cut the mushrooms in half, lengthwise. Use a sharp paring knife to cut a shallow diagonal criss cross pattern on the cut side of the mushroom.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat until hot. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
- Place half of the mushrooms cut side down in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until nicely browned and then flip over and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until browned on both sides. Transfer the mushrooms onto a platter.
- Swirl in another tablespoon of avocado oil into the empty pan and cook the remaining mushrooms the same way.
- When the mushrooms are finished cooking, decrease the heat to medium and add the last tablespoon of avocado oil. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and Thai chili pepper into the empty pan. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until the shallots are softened.
- Stir the cooked mushrooms back to the pan, along with any reserved liquid.
- Pour in the fish sauce and lime juice and toss well to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust with additional fish sauce or lime juice if needed.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a serving platter. Scatter on the fresh herbs and enjoy!