Hot Agave Chick’n Sandwich
February 19, 2020
Nope – it’s not really chicken! It’s that old faithful king oyster mushroom. For this recipe we break the mushroom apart (instead of slicing) to achieve an irregular strip, much like chicken tenders. They’re then battered and fried before being glazed with chilli-spiked agave syrup makes for a really tasty vegan chicken sandwich.
You can eat these bad boys on their own or packed inside my dream sandwich, filled with sliced gherkins and drizzled with a tangy, smoky house sauce. Best served with a cold beer and a big bunch of napkins!
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
For the Hot Agave
- 190 mL water
- 150 g agave syrup
- 2–3 medium heat chillis
For the Chick’n Strips
- 5 king oyster mushrooms
For the Batter
- 140 mL soy milk
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 100 g plain white flour
- 1 ½ t fine sea salt
- ½ t ground black pepper
- 2 t Old Bay seasoning
- 1 t dried thyme
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the House Sauce
- 4–5 T vegan mayonnaise
- 1 t sriracha
- 1 T gherkin juice
- ½ t liquid smoke
- 4 soft white bread buns
- Sliced pickles/gherkins
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 T flaky sea salt
To Make the Hot Agave
- In a medium saucepan, combine the water and agave. Slice each of the chillis in half length-ways and add to the saucepan. Place over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium/low and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture has reduced in volume by around ¾.
- Once reduced, remove from the heat and sieve out the chillis and any loose seeds. Allow the agave to cool completely to room temperature.
To Make the Chick’n Strips
- Remove the tops and bottoms of the king oyster mushrooms. Reserve for another recipe.
- Score a cross into the bottom of each mushroom stem and use it to pull the mushroom apart into four lengths. Repeat with all the mushrooms. Set aside.
To Make the Batter
- In a medium bowl mix together the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar. Set aside to thicken.
- In a second medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper, Oold Bbay seasoning and dried thyme. Set aside.
- Fill a medium, high-sided saucepan about 2-3 inches full with the vegetable oil. Place over a medium heat and, using a probe thermometer, bring the oil to around 170c. If you don’t have a probe thermometer, just test with a small amount of batter. If the batter sizzles immediately when it hits the oil, then you’re ready to fry.
- Working with one strip at a time, coat the mushrooms in the flour mixture, followed by the soy milk mixture and back to the flour mixture. Once well coated, carefully place the mushroom into the hot oil. Fry the mushrooms in batches of no more than three.
- Once browned and crispy (around 3 minutes) remove the mushrooms from the oil using a spider or slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with kitchen towel. Repeat with all of the mushrooms.
To Make the House Sauce
- In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the House Sauce. Set aside.
- While still hot, use a pastry brush to glaze each chick’n strip with the hot agave.
- Split open the bread rolls and spread a little house sauce on each side.
- Fill each bread roll with fried chick’n strips and sliced gherkins, before sprinkling with salt and fresh thyme.
- Top with a little more house sauce before serving.
There are a fair few steps to the process, so here’s a quick break down with pics to help you out.
The Hot Agave
The aim here is to infuse the agave syrup with a mild kick of spice. First, you mix the water and agave together in a saucepan, before adding the chillis. You then need to bring to a boil over medium heat to really infuse that chili kick. The steam which comes off will have a bit of chili heat to it as well, so be sure to have your extractor on for this one. Once the mixture is nice and reduced, sieve out the chillis and leave to cool.
We won’t be using the top or tough bottom of the king oyster mushrooms, so you can slice these off and reserve them for another recipe. It makes life easier when pulling the mushrooms apart to score a cross into one end of the mushroom. That way, when the mushroom breaks apart, it’s guaranteed to break into quarters.
Once you’ve broken all your mushrooms into strips, set them aside.
This is a two-part batter, so you’ll need two medium bowls. One will contain your “buttermilk” mixture (made from soy milk and apple cider vinegar) and the other will contain your dry flour mixture. Heat up some neutral oil in a saucepan or deep fryer. If you have a probe thermometer, you’re aiming for 170c. Once your oil is hot, roll a strip of mushroom in the flour mixture before dropping in the “buttermilk” and then back into the flour. It’s now ready for frying. Be sure to fry in batches of no more than three as you’ll reduce the temperature of the oil too much and your strips won’t brown.
Using a pastry brush, glaze each of the strips with a little of the hot agave. Sprinkle with some fresh thyme and a little flaky sea salt. You can serve these guys however you’d like – on a platter with some gherkins and plenty of hot sauce, or in a soft white bun with some house sauce. The house sauce couldn’t be easier – just mix together the vegan mayo, sriracha, gherkin juice, and liquid smoke.
These guys also work really well baked, with just a few tweaks. Instead of the flour in your batter mixture, use 200g of very stale bread (ideally sourdough). Place the bread in the cup of a high-speed blender or food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Stir in the salt and spices. Roll the mushroom strips in the “buttermilk” mixture first, then in the bread crumbs before placing on the wire rack of a grill tray. Bake at 180c for 30-40 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.