Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creative Cooking Crew: Vegan Challenge - Mixed Mushroom Yakitori and Mushroom Scallion Potstickers

This is our inaugural month with the Creative Cooking Crew (hosted by Laz of Lazaro Cooks and Joan of Foodalogue)! Doesn't "inaugural" have a nice ring to it?  Just like the President being sworn in on Sunday, this feels a little bit like a swearing in for us, and we are super pumped.

This month's challenge had a vegan theme  -"Choose one of your favorite rich, heavy, fatty animal-protein based meals and give it a healthy VEGAN spin.”

When we heard "vegan," our minds immediately translated that to "MUSHROOMS!" Lots and lots of mushrooms.  So many mushrooms were purchased that the cashier at the market appeared concerned.  He asked "why would we need so many mushrooms, are you making mushroom stew?" We said no - panfried dumplings and teriyaki mushroom skewers.  He asked us if we were serving that with a side of mushrooms. I was irrationally amused by that image.

In my defense, I wasn't sure how many mushrooms to get (after all, things happen and extras are always good!).  We ended up having so many leftover mushrooms from the challenge that I was able to make both a beef stroganoff and a pesto pasta dish with them.  So I guess the cashier's initial concern at the volume of mushrooms making their way down the conveyor belt was well-founded.

We chose to mushroom-ize two meaty dishes that make us crazy for their umami, savory deliciousness.  Two dishes that when placed in front of us, turn us into uncivilized primates, attacking the pile of food with gusto, and never speaking a word to each other until the task of eating has been completed.  Only then will conversation and civilized behavior resume.  These meaty grilled pops basted in teriyaki sauce are one of those dishes.  Here, we swapped the thinly sliced beef for a mix of mushrooms - King Oyster, shiitake, and cremini, and we added pineapple chunks and slices of jalapeno for additional flavor.   Pork and scallion potstickers are another of these dishes.  Dipping panfried, pork and scallion flavored dumplings into spicy, garlicky, soy-vinegar sauce brings us joy.  Utter joy.  So we turned our meaty friends into vegan versions using mushrooms in the filling.  I would just like to point out that I intended to use oyster sauce in the dumpling filling.  But at that very crucial period of time right before dumping some in, I realized that this was not a vegan sauce.  Which now is obvious.  But then, not so much.  So I threw in some tea instead.  

As it happens, we were almost forced to actually turn the mountain of mushrooms into stew - as rain started tricking ever so lightly on the grill.  But somehow, this rain stayed at a gentle drizzle for just a few minutes then stopped, only to resume again once we were done grilling.  Which was lucky, or we would have missed out on some pretty amazing skewers.  The teriyaki mushrooms made us just as deliriously excited/primal as their beefy counterparts.  The mushroom potstickers are good on their own, but don't really taste anything like the pork-based originals.  All in all, a fun experiment that yielded some yummy dishes we may never have tried out otherwise.  So happy "Inauguration Day!"  To us, and the president...  in three days...  And thanks to Creative Cooking Crew for the opportunity to try something new!

P.S. Check out all the great work done by the Creative Cooking Crew team here.

Mixed Mushroom Yakitori

2/3 cup mirin
1 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
¼ cup brown sugar
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 inch strip of orange peel

king oyster mushrooms (we used about 4 oz of each kind of mushroom)
shiitake mushrooms
cremini mushrooms
pineapple chunks (about 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks)
jalapeno slices (we used about 1 jalapeno)
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon water
10-15 bamboo or wooden skewers
5 tablespoons canola oil (for grilling)
chopped scallions, for serving
rice, for serving

Place the mirin in a medium pot and boil over high heat. Reduce to medium low and add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and orange peel. Simmer for 20 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with water. Bring the sauce to a boil and thicken with the cornstarch mixture, constantly stirring. Let the sauce cook for 5 more minutes, tasting to make sure the cornstarch has fully dissolved. Once ready, pour into small bowl and set aside.

Take bamboo or wooden skewers and soak in cool water for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to high (roughly 400°). Just before grilling, take mushrooms, pineapples, and jalapeno slices and thread onto skewers. You want equal parts of each type of mushroom on each one.  Brush canola oil onto both sides of mushrooms, pineapples and jalapenos.  Place canola oil in a small bowl. Using a paper towel or cloth, dip in canola oil and rub over hot grates to prevent sticking. Lay skewers over heat and stay nearby to monitor. Once bottom is a little charred, brush the tops with canola oil, and flip. Brush again with thickened teriyaki sauce. Once the bottoms are slightly charred again, flip and brush with thickened teriyaki sauce, so both sides are sauced. Remove and top with freshly chopped scallions. Serve with rice.

Mushroom and Scallion Potstickers

For the dough:
We made our own dough from Andrea Nguyen's book Asian Dumplings, but you could just use store-bought wrappers

For the filling:
4 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
4 chopped scallions
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground dried mushrooms (run some dried mushrooms through a spice grinder)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup brewed Darjeeling tea
3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon truffle oil
dash of liquid smoke
ground cinnamon, for serving

For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon chile oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 chopped scallion
sesame seeds sprinkled on top

For the potsticker filling:
Mix the mushrooms, scallions, and garlic in large bowl.  In a small bowl, stir dried mushrooms, salt, pepper, soy sauce, tea, vinegar, oils, and liquid smoke.  Pour over the mushroom mixture and stir.  Let the filling sit for 30 minutes to blend the flavors together.  Take a potsticker wrapper and place a tablespoon of the mushroom mixture in the middle.  After sitting, the mixture will be pretty liquidy, so use a slotted spoon to get the mushroom mix out.  Too much liquid in the wrapper will make them difficult to stay shut.  Close the wrapper into a half moon shape, then press a side down on a lined baking sheet, so that it now has three sides and can stay upright.  Repeat, until filling is used up.

To pan fry, place skillet over high heat, and pour a few tablespoons of canola oil in.  Once heated, place potstickers in, flat side down, and let sizzle for a minute or so until you can see the bottoms turning brown.  Reduce heat to low, pour in about 1/4 cup water, and immediately cover with lid.  Once water is almost all cooked off, and sizzling can be heard again, remove lid, and carefully flip dumplings onto one side.  Once that side has browned, flip them onto other side and brown.  Remove, place onto paper towel, and sprinkle cinnamon over top.

For the dipping sauce:
Mix everything together in a small bowl, and serve with the potstickers.


  1. Great job. Welcome to the team. I'd be happy eating all of these.


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  2. I'd totally vote for you both as president. These would make some great bribes....

  3. Such a beautiful meal! I'm a huge fan of mushrooms and looks like a great use for them!

  4. This looks incredible! I'm making the yakitori ASAP.

  5. MUSHROOMS or shrooms like how my niece calls them, are my absolute favourite! I love your take and added your spin to a vegan dish. Yum!!!

  6. Oh!! Going vegan never looked so tempting! :D

  7. These look so amazing. I'm going to make the skewers ASAP!

  8. Both of these dishes look amazing, I adore mushrooms! You snuck (or sneaked) some interesting ingredients in, love the orange rind in the yakitori sauce, and the Darjeeling tea in the pot stickers.

  9. Wow! Great job.... Those look amazing...I love meat, but I would love those dishes!Beautiful pictures!

  10. Loved this post! I never thought a vegan dish (or two) would literally make me drool. Great ingredient list and depth of flavor.

  11. Those sound really good, especially the mushroom yakitori. You might not want it since you're not vegan, but you can actually buy vegan oyster sauce. I buy it from the Asian grocer here. It's mushroom based ;)

  12. What a fantastic pair of recipes! I can't wait to try these out at my next social!


  13. Both the recipes are well-planned and well-executed. I loved these mushroom recipes. The picture is stunning! DROOLING!

  14. I am drooling my friend, spectacular :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. I'm always down for leftovers. Oooh, these look so good. I love me some mushrooms.

  16. Gorgeous dishes and amazing pictures! I love the mushroom skewers. Please send some my way! :)

  17. What a super fun challenge! I love how you've pretty much proved that just because something is vegan, it's boring. Both the skewers and the potstickers look great!

  18. This looks to die for! What a great vegan makeover :) Would love to try this!!!

  19. I'm convinced that you can never have enough mushrooms in your kitchen, they are so delicious! But despite of this I must admit that to use such quantities is a real challenge.
    The recipes are excellent, you certainly met the challenge :),Bravo, Jenn!

  20. I love mushrooms! I'm drooling over the yakitori, what a great idea!

  21. What amazingly delicious looking skewers! You can't even tell there's no meat on them.

  22. As someone who eats a plant based diet, I give you a big fat TWO THUMBS UP!!!!!!!!!!! DELISH! :D

  23. I am not actually vegan, but mushrooms are a must for vegetarians as well. As presented here, they can hold their own in so many wonderful dishes. These look amazing and the flavors are just divine!

  24. Both of these recipes sound fantastic!! I think I could become a vegan if I needed to now.

  25. Looks everything especially the scallion potstickers. Amazing flavors :)

  26. Wow. I sure love mushrooms and both of these dishes are super inspiring! I love the book Asian Dumplings too! A great resource :)

  27. Oh these both look absolutely amazing! Two of my favs :) Anything on a skewer and any sort of dumpling. You would definitely never mix the meat.

  28. wow - impressive beyond words...lets do a pot luck vegan with all the dishes

  29. i used mushrooms too...but what great dishes you came up with. Welcome and I cannot wait to see more of your work.

  30. Love this, especially those pot stickers. But, I would love your beef stroganoff too. An excellent vegan take.

  31. I love yakitori and haven't had it in ages. Mushrooms are the perfect substitute for meat... potstickers are amazing too... really great work on the challenge... delicious.

  32. Amazing blog content! I liked your post, I would like to mention a website selling best quality of vegan Shoes, Sandals & bags online


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