Barbecue Mushroom Steaks

How do you know that what you’re passionate about is obvious? When your birthday and Christmas presents reflect those passions. I received five books this Christmas, all of them encompassing things that I am interested in, and clearly discuss a lot.

Of those five, three of the books are food-related (I know, only three?!). One of them is the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eat List – a ranking of all the best things to eat, and the best place to find them. I’d like to state that dim sum in Hong Kong is ranked at number 10.

Another book is called Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell – a book about how the food we eat can reverse climate change while also being healthy, and saving the world.

The third book, and the reason for this post, is called The Wicked Healthy Cookbook by Chad Sarno, Derek Sarno, and David Joachim. It’s a completely vegan cookbook, but making vegan food sexy, delicious, and healthy. I have to admit that some of the ingredients seem a bit hard to come by here in Hong Kong – namely the lobster oyster mushroom, but most of it can be replaced with other mushrooms, and I’m sure the other ingredients can be found in health food or specialty shops around town.

The authors and chefs are from Boston so the word “wicked” is thrown around a lot. But they have collaborated with Whole Foods and Tesco, and want everyone to eat more plants.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I personally don’t think I could ever go fully vegan, but I do appreciate the impact that over-consumption of meat and dairy has on the environment. However, I’d also like to point out that as long as a lot of vegan foods are being packaged in plastic, eating more plant-based foods are not going to help.

I’m not here to discuss my stance on food or diet choices. I’m simply here to tell you that I tried/adapted one of the recipes in The Wicked Healthy Cookbook today, and I loved it. Of course, I chose a recipe that included barbecue sauce – I mean, hello!? I’d recently used up all of my barbecue sauce, so it was about time I made up a new batch.

There is a slightly different recipe for barbecue sauce in the cookbook, but I used my version (the one adapted from Skinny Taste). I also adapted the spice rub in the cookbook, but only by one ingredient.

In order to create a more meaty texture to the mushrooms, you’re required to press them with a weight of some kind. As I didn’t want to use a cast iron pan, nor did I have any bricks lying around (both suggested in the book), I simply wrapped the bottom of my full kettle in tin foil and used that instead.

It does take time, this recipe, so be warned. But the results are TOTALLY worth it. You can have your barbecue mushroom steaks with anything you like. I opted for roasted beetroot with dukkah, mashed potatoes, and raw spinach.

I definitely need to keep working on my photography skills. Now that I have invested in a few different plates and bowls, I want to bring you photos that really highlight the food, in more natural light. I just don’t have any natural light in my apartment most of the time. I’ll keep looking at alternative light sources, but for the time being, I hope what I show is enough.

Ingredients

Spice Rub
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt

12 shiitake mushrooms
barbecue sauce
groundnut or vegetable oil

  1. Mix all of the ingredients for the spice rub together in a small bowl.
  2. Heat a large, heavy pan over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes, until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl around to coat.
  3. Add half of the mushrooms, and use a second heavy pan (or a full kettle wrapped in tin foil) to press down on the mushrooms.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove the weight and place the mushrooms on to a work surface.
  5. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and swirl it around.
  6. Flip the mushrooms and season the cooked side with some of the seasoning. Place the mushrooms back in the pan, raw-side down, and place the weight back on top. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Remove the weight and the mushrooms, season the newly cooked side, and repeat the process until the mushrooms are compacted and have almost no liquid left in them. They’ll feel quite dense and fleshy.
  8. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and spice rub.
  9. When all of the mushrooms have been cooked and pressed, place them on a lined baking sheet. Brush barbecue sauce on each side, and allow to marinate at room temperature for at least one hour. I marinated mine for 3 hours.
  10. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  11. Place the mushrooms into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes. Every 5 minutes, brush marinade on one side and then flip them over.
  12. Serve with roasted beetroot, sprinkled with dukkah, and mashed potatoes.

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