This is a simple to prepare recipe with a very tasty result.
It’s springtime and the forests are booming with oyster mushrooms. I went for a quick afternoon foraging hike and found loads of fresh beautiful specimens. ‘Garlic-pepper’ dishes are very common in Thailand and for some reason, I remember one that I once had in a random food court restaurant. In Thailand, garlic-pepper is a savory spicy seasoning that nicely complements any meat or seafood.

For my plant-based agenda, oyster mushrooms make a perfect seafood-like centerpiece for this dish. Something in their bouncy texture and white flesh makes it just right.
Chinese-inspired, the mushrooms are quickly stir-fried in the Thai classic paste comprising garlic, pepper, and coriander root and seasoned with soy and a little bit of sugar, that’s it…

For a more complex umami flavor profile and depth, I use at least two different kinds of fermented condiments, namely two kinds of soy sauces like light Thai and premium organic aged soy sauce that I use instead of ‘Golden Mountain’ or ‘Maggi’ flavored soy options commonly used in Thailand. I prefer premium soy as it doesn’t contain preservatives.
Thai dark soy sauce can be used in addition to giving this dish a desired darker tint. If you use dark Thai soy though, consider its sweetness and reduce the amount of added sugar which should be minimal regardless. The result is salty garlicky and very peppery and subtly sweet.

Ingredients

Center wok:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Mushrooms, wild oysters, or other
  • Fermented bean paste or miso (optional)
  • Thai light soy sauce
  • Chinese aged soy sauce
  • Thai dark soy sauce
  • Sugar

Garlic pepper paste:

  • Garlic
  • Coriander root
  • Black pepper
  • White pepper

Garnishes:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
Method

1.Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Heat some oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic until lightly browned. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

2.Pound the paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle until coarse consistency, where all ingredients are still distinctively visible is obtained.

3.In a wok, heat the oil until it starts smoking. Quickly add the paste and stir. Add the fermented bean paste (optional) and the sugar. Add the mushrooms for a quick stir-fry. Season with Thai light soy, Chinese soy. and Thai dark soy (optional). Turn off the heat, transfer to a serving plate, and garnish with additional fried garlic.

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