These tasty crispy enoki mushrooms are going to become one of your favorite ways to enjoy mushrooms! Lightly breaded and fried up simply and easily in a pan, they make a great garnish, appetizer, side dish, or meal! They're not only fun to eat, they're also fun to look at!
One of my favorite mushrooms to eat is enoki mushrooms.
Like almost all mushrooms, they're loaded with savory umami flavor, but I also love their texture...how there's a bit of squeak to them when you chew them. And they are also substantial to eat despite their light and stringy appearance that would seem to indicate otherwise.
One common to enjoy them is to put them in a soup, and I will often add a bunch to a bowl of noodle soup.
But did you know that you can also fry these babies up into the coolest looking "trees" that taste totally delicious while also being fun to eat?
Preparing the Mushrooms
Enoki mushrooms are often sold in a bundle sealed in a plastic package, often times about 200g, but this can vary. The mushrooms are connected at the bottom with a dirt clump still intact from where they were harvested.
The first step is to cut off this bottom section and discard it, removing about 1 - 1 ½ inches. You want to cut off just enough to get rid of the bulk of the dirt part.
Separate the large bundle of enoki mushrooms into smaller bundles, keeping them attached at the bottom. If your bundle of enoki is quite loose and falls apart so that you aren't able to make small bunches, don't worry and simply continue to make small bundles.
DO NOT WASH THE MUSHROOMS UNDER WATER. If you see any bits of dirt in the mushrooms, use a damp paper towel, fine brush, or your finger tips to remove them. The mushrooms will soak up the water if they get wet and will not crisp up when fried...and crispy enoki mushrooms are what we are after!
How To Get the Crispy Coating
To help make the enoki mushrooms crisp, we need to give them a thorough dusting in a dry floury mixture. The coating is a mixture of tapioca starch, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, white pepper, and paprika. I use tapioca starch not only because it's gluten-free, but because of its very fine texture, it sticks well to every surface of the mushrooms.
Dredge the mushroom bundles in the starch mixture, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, gently shake off the excess, and put the mushrooms aside until you are ready to cook.
Pan-Frying the Mushrooms
While deep-frying the mushrooms would undoubtedly give them a crisp and texture all around, I am choosing to shallow fry them in a skillet. It is much easier to shallow fry them and it uses far less oil than deep-frying.
I add a couple tablespoons to a hot skillet that has been heating over medium-high heat. As always, I use extra light olive oil because of it's neutral flavor and high smoke point, but other neutral flavored oils, like canola, will also work.
Add a few enoki bundles to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd them. Slide the mushrooms around in the oil to make sure the underside gets coated and let them fry for 1-2 minutes, until the bottoms are golden.
Flip the mushrooms over with chopsticks or tongs, adding a bit more oil to the pan if necessary. Without enough oil in the pan, the mushrooms will simply char and not brown and crisp nicely.
Flip the mushrooms again as necessary to achieve a nice golden color on both sides. Once done, transfer them to a wire rack set over paper towels or in a baking dish. Continue with the remaining enoki bundles, remembering to add fresh oil to the pan as necessary.
Can You Bake the Mushrooms?
Baking the enoki mushrooms does not yield the nice crisp texture you get from frying them directly in some oil on a hot skillet. You also run the risk of the mushrooms releasing liquid as they bake which will only result in soggy mushrooms...exactly what you do not want.
How To Serve The Mushrooms
Sprinkle the crispy enoki mushrooms with some coarse salt and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds and they are ready to devour!
They are delightfully crisp on the outside without having a heavy batter on them. They have their signature squeakiness with every bite, and besides being innately loaded with umami, they have an extra boost of flavor from the seasonings.
I like dipping them in some Thai chili sauce for some extra kick, and I also like wrapping them up in lettuce leaves for some extra crunch and freshness in each bite.
Can't Get Enough Mushroom Recipes?
If you enjoy eating mushrooms like I do, you might also want to check out my recipe for Pan-Fried King Oyster Mushrooms, a delicious and hearty dish. Or for a cool and refreshing take on mushrooms, my Cold Asian Greens and Mushrooms with Sesame Vinaigrette is a great option.
And while Buddha's Delight (Jai) is not all about mushrooms, it does contain a few ingredients that are part of the same edible fungus family! They each contribute texture and umami to this traditional vegetarian Chinese dish and if you love mushrooms/fungus, you have to give it a try!
While I, personally, love enjoying these crispy enoki mushrooms as a meal, you can serve them as an appetizer or a side dish to a salad. You can also add one or two crispy bundles as a garnish to an entree or hot bowl of soup.
Any way you choose to serve them, I think you're going to love this different way of cooking enoki mushrooms. Fun and delicious, this recipe might just make you love eating them more than before!
Crispy Enoki Mushrooms
- Remove enoki mushrooms from packaging and cut off about 1-inch off the bottom connected to the dirt. Discard the dirt section.
- Brush off any bits of dirt with a damp paper towel, brush, or your fingertips. Do not wash the mushrooms in water.
- Carefully separate the enoki mushrooms into small bunches and set them aside. If possible, leave the small bunches attached on the bottom, but don't worry if they separate.
Coating the Mushrooms:
- In a dish or bowl, combine the tapioca starch, salt, onion powder, white pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and whisk together.
- Add a few bunches of enoki mushrooms to the tapioca starch mixture and gently toss to fully coat. Shake off the excess and set mushrooms aside on a plate or pan and continue with the remaining mushrooms.
Cooking the Mushrooms:
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add approximate 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the enoki mushroom bunches, a few at a time, to the skillet, sliding them around in the oil. Do not overcrowd. If the enoki mushrooms are loose and separated, bunch some together into a small bundle and lay them in the pan. They will stick together as they cook.
- Fry the mushrooms for approximately 2 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom. Flip them over. Add more oil to the pan, if necessary.
- Once mushrooms are golden brown on both sides, transfer them to a rack over paper towels or in a pan. Sprinkle coarse salt over the mushrooms while they are still hot, if desired. Continue frying the remaining mushroom bundles, adding oil to the pan as you go.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a dish and garnish with chopped green onions, sliced chili peppers, and sesame seeds, if desired. Eat them as they are, wrapped in lettuce leaves, or dip them in a Thai chili sauce.
- Most packages of enoki mushrooms are 200 grams, but they can also vary. The ingredient measurements for the coating is meant to be enough to coat 200 grams of enoki mushrooms.
- Do not wash the enoki mushrooms in water. Clean off any bits of dirt with a damp paper towel, brush, or your fingertips. They will absorb the water if rinsed and will not crisp up when fried.
- The mushrooms will absorb the oil in the pan as they cook, so be sure to add fresh oil to the pan as necessary between batches. If there is not enough oil, the coating on the mushrooms will not crisp.
- You can flatten the mushrooms slightly in the pan so that they cook more evenly and quickly.
- Use tongs or chopsticks to lightly handle the mushrooms in the pan because they will become a bit sticky as they fry.
- Cornstarch can be substituted for tapioca starch.
- Add chili powder to the tapioca starch mixture to add spice, or adjust the seasonings to taste.
- If the mushrooms have separated into individual strands, simply bunch several of them up into a bundle and lay them into the pan to fry. As they cook, they will stick together.
- You can toss all the enoki mushrooms loosely with the tapioca starch mixture and lay them all at once in the skillet like a nest, flattening them to cook evenly and flipping as one pancake. Cut them into wedges to serve.
- They will not be as crisp as cooking the mushrooms in small bundles because the pancake will be thicker and there will not be as much surface area being fried.
- If you notice the mushrooms browning too quickly or beginning to burn, reduce the heat slightly.
- They are best eaten right away.