Enoki Mushrooms Make The Best Vegan Fried Chicken

Even if fried chicken looks a little different around the world, chances are you'll be able to find some that suits your fancy no matter where you go, whether that's Kentucky, Korea, Guatemala, or Japan. That is, unless you're vegan. For many vegans, the closest thing to fried chicken on the menu is frozen faux-chicken, often in the form of processed patties or nuggets. It's not exactly satisfying in the same way a hot, crispy piece of golden fried chicken is, but there is a way to approximate that experience that beats any frozen "chick'n" you can get in the freezer aisle.

In the past, we've seen things like seitan (wheat gluten), green jackfruit, and oyster mushrooms used as a vegan ingredient that can mimic the texture and flavor of fried chicken, but for an even more delicious option, some innovative plant-based chefs are using enoki mushrooms instead. Enoki mushrooms grow in bunches, and have long, skinny stems and small white caps. They're popular in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisines, and they retain an al-dente texture even when cooked in soups and stir-fries. Their firm bite and long stems make them ideal for replicating the texture of poultry in vegan fried chicken recipes.

Making enoki mushroom chicken

How can you make vegan fried chicken with enoki mushrooms? It's actually really easy. First, wash your enoki mushrooms, dry them well, and cut them into chunks vertically, leaving some of the base intact. Then, you can prepare them just as you would chicken, whether that means dredging the mushrooms in soy milk and seasoned flour, or dipping them into a batter. Fry until the mushrooms are golden brown and crispy on the outside, and they'll still be juicy and "meaty" inside.

You can eat this fried enoki mushroom vegan chicken with your favorite sauces and dips, or turn them into the filling for a tasty vegan fried chicken sandwich or po'boy. What else can you do with a pack of enoki mushrooms? They're also Tabitha Brown's game-changing substitute for vegan shelled seafood, and this umami-packed enoki mushroom recipe is an easy weeknight dinner. Just make sure to use proper food safety procedures — enoki mushrooms were named the most recalled food of 2022 thanks to listeria risks. The CDC says that enokis should be cooked thoroughly before eating, and you should wash your hands and any surfaces that the raw mushrooms have touched, which honestly will give vegans the same experience meat eaters have when preparing raw chicken. Now that's a realistic meat substitute!