Try these Indo-Chinese Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms. Crispy mushrooms coated in panko breadcrumbs and tossed in a spicy, aromatic sauce.
It’s no secret that mushrooms are one of my favourite things in the world. There’s a reason they feature so heavily across my entire website, recipes, and my menus. I grew up with a family of mushroom lovers, it’s safe to say we were obsessed with them. I can’t remember a single day when we didn’t have some form of mushrooms in our refrigerator.
We used them regularly for a whole variety of meals. Mushrooms are so versatile, they’re umami rich, and they have a wonderful texture when cooked properly. I’ve always been surprised when someone says they’re not a fan of mushrooms! It’s baffling to me. There are so many varieties out there with different flavours and textures. There literally is a mushroom for everyone.
One of my favourite things to order at Indian restaurants are chilli mushrooms. This dish is usually button or closed cup mushrooms coated in a batter and deep fried. These fried mushrooms are then tossed in a spicy sauce full of garlic, ginger, chilli, soy sauce and occasionally ketchup. It’s absolutely delicious. However I’ve always felt that the dish was never taken to its full potential when there are so many other varieties of mushrooms out there. So I took to creating my own version, and frankly I’ve never looked back.
Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms
Prior to starting this website I used to share my recipes through social media. These crispy chilli panko mushrooms were one of those recipes and this was actually my most popular recipe for a very long time. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it’s an absolute crowd pleaser. It’s a dish that many would assume is only achievable in a restaurant by a trained chef. I’m here to show you otherwise.
This dish consists of mushrooms coated in a mixture of panko breadcrumbs and sesame seeds. They’re then deep fried until perfectly golden and crispy. A simple, but incredibly flavourful and aromatic sauce is then made. This sauce is spicy with a hint of sweetness, saltiness, and acidity. The crispy mushrooms get tossed in this sauce along with a generous handful of spring onions. It’s restaurant worthy, but in your own homes.
Different types of mushrooms can be used here, my favourite being oyster mushrooms. They have a wonderfully light texture with a subtle chew. I’ve also used king oyster mushrooms in the past as well as chestnut mushrooms. Each provides a different texture and flavour. I’ll cover this in more depth below.
These Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms are:
- Perfect for impressing friends and family
Types of mushrooms
As mentioned above, each type of mushroom does in fact vary in texture and flavour. You may already have your own preference, or this may be dictated by availability. I’m certainly quite spoilt for choice as I do have a wide variety stocked in local supermarkets. My first choice for this dish are oyster mushrooms which can often be sold in a cluster. However please feel free to use whichever mushrooms are available for you and do not feel pressured into using the same ones as myself.
Let’s cover some of the types of mushrooms that I’d recommend for this dish:
- Oyster mushrooms (my 1st choice) – which can be sold separately or in a cluster. They often have a creamy/brown colour and a fan like shape with frilly striations on the underside. They have a delicate texture and flavour which works well for this dish. Once cooked they develop a smooth velvety texture with a slight chew
- Chestnut mushrooms (a very close 2nd choice) – these are a tan/brown relative of the well known white closed cap mushrooms. They have a much stronger flavour in comparison to white closed cap mushrooms and also have a much firmer texture. I find that they tend to also retain less water too which makes them a far superior choice of mushroom
- King oyster mushrooms (I’d have to say this is a tie with the chestnut mushrooms for 2nd choice)- these are large mushrooms with a meaty texture. They’re umami-rich and packed with flavour. They’re quite thick mushrooms so make sure to slice these if you intend to use them. Once cooked they soften beautifully but retain a fibrous texture which adds a lovely chew
- White closed cap mushrooms – most definitely my last choice here. These, in my opinion, are quite bland and texture less. The flavour is incredibly mild and they tend to retain a lot more moisture than other types of mushrooms. This can often lead to the mushrooms becoming soggy. These are however the most accessible and it is perfectly fine to use these. I’ll give you some tips below to make sure you get the most out of these, or any of the mushrooms you decide to use.
Are these all the types of mushrooms?
There are MANY other varieties, I could be here all day talking about them. But the above list should be a good starting place as all those are usually accessible and available in most supermarkets (in the UK at least). East Asian specialty supermarkets tend to have a much larger variety so it’s worth visiting one if there’s one near you.
- The first one is perhaps one you’ve heard many, many times. Do not wash your mushrooms. Mushrooms are like sponges and they’ll readily soak up any liquid. This is great when it’s sauces and things with flavour. But it’s not great when it’s water. Instead I’d recommend wiping them with a damp towel just to clean off any dirt you do see. However if you do find you’ve got a batch of mushrooms that are exceptionally dirty, give them a quick soak/rinse before patting dry. Allow them to then sit on a wire rack to dry out for at least 30 minutes
- Try and buy the freshest mushrooms. The fresher they are, the more flavourful they’ll be and the less water they’ll retain
- When selecting the packs of mushrooms in the supermarket, have a good look to see how much dirt there is. The less dirt, the less work. And we love less work!
What you’ll need to make these Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms
(The full recipe card is at the end of the blogpost)
- Mushrooms – probably the most obvious one. I recommend oyster mushrooms or chestnut mushrooms but see above for more information
- Panko breadcrumbs – I’ll explain these in more detail below
- Black sesame seeds
- Plain flour
- Neutral flavoured oil for deep frying – e.g. sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed
- Red chilli – I recommend using a red bird’s eye chilli but this is optional. My chilli sauce is quite spicy so I don’t add any extra chilli on top
- Shallots – these are milder and sweeter than onions, however a white onion will work as a substitute
- Light soy sauce
- Chilli sauce – I always use my Szechuan Sauce as that honestly is my favourite chilli sauce. Feel free to use that or any of your preference
- White pepper
- Cornflour – this will be corn starch for US readers. Its purpose is to thicken the sauce
- Spring onions – for garnishing
Panko breadcrumbs vs Regular breadcrumbs
One of the most frequent questions I get is about panko breadcrumbs and whether regular breadcrumbs can be used instead.
Panko breadcrumbs are more like bread flakes that have been dried, and because of this they absorb less oil during frying and produce a lighter coating. They also tend to crisp up more readily than regular breadcrumbs. Personally I find the panko texture far superior, however feel free to use regular breadcrumbs if panko is not accessible for you.
You can pick up panko in most supermarkets in the world foods aisle, or your local East Asian supermarket. I purchase mine from my local Sainsburys and it’s quite a large bag.
How to make these Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms
Let’s start with the mushrooms
1) Cut/tear the oyster mushrooms into large chunks
2) Dunk mushroom in the wet batter
3) Shake off excess wet batter – I find this easiest to do with a fork. The excess will just drip off
4) Then place the mushrooms straight into the breadcrumbs mixture and toss to coat
5) The mushrooms should now be well coated in breadcrumbs
6) Leave aside on a wire rack whilst you prep all of the mushrooms
7) Deep fry the mushrooms in 180’C oil. This may splatter a little so be careful and use a splatter guard if needed
8) Deep fry until golden brown, then leave aside
Next let’s prepare the sauce
1) Sauté the shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil until it resembles 2)
3) Then add the light soy sauce, ketchup, chilli sauce and white pepper
4) Mix to combine
5) Add the cornflour slurry (cornflour mixed with water) and continue to mix
6) The sauce will thicken and develop a shiny glossy surface
7) Add the crispy mushrooms to the sauce
8) Toss until all the mushrooms are evenly coated in the sauce
9) Add the spring onions green
10) Briefly mix together and serve immediately
Can these be made vegan?
They already are vegan!
Can the mushrooms be air fried?
For air frying: 185’C in the air fryer for ~15mins. Bare in mind it’s not going to be the same texture as deep frying – but it does work.
Can I prepare these in advance?
These crispy chilli panko breadcrumbs are best served immediately. The reason for this is that the panko coating will absorb the sauce and become soggy if left. Soggy mushrooms are most definitely not the one.
If you really want to prepare the mushrooms in advance, either flash fry (a quick deep fry) just to set the outer coating and leave aside. These can then be frozen or kept aside if using on the same day. They can then be completely deep fried or air fried till golden when you want to use it. You can even freeze the mushrooms without flash-frying however it doesn’t tend to work as well.
Alternatively you can partly air fry these just until the breading has set, and then pop them back into the air fryer until golden right before tossing in the sauce.
Crispy Chilli Panko Mushrooms
- 300 g oyster mushrooms see blogpost for suggestions on other types of mushrooms
- Neutral oil for deep frying
- 70 g panko breadcrumbs
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 75 g plain flour
- 25 g cornflour this will be corn starch for US readers
- 1 tsp salt
- 125 ml water added gradually and whisk until a pancake batter consistency
- 2 tbsp neutral flavoured oil e.g. sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 inch piece of ginger minced
- 1 birds eye red chilli sliced (optional, for extra heat)
- 2 shallots finely sliced, or 1 small white onion
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp chilli sauce I use my Szechuan Sauce (on my website), but feel free to use your favourite chilli sauce, Sriracha/Gochujang work well here
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp corn flour dissolved in 5tbsp cold water
- handful spring onion greens to garnish
- chilli oil to garnish (optional)
- To prepare your mushrooms, clean them with a paper towel, try and avoid washing them (see blogpost for tips). Then cut or tear into large chunks
- Mix together the panko breadcrumbs, black sesame seeds, and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the wet batter ingredients and whisk until smooth. The batter should be thick but pourable
- Dunk each mushroom in the wet batter, I find this easiest with a fork as it allows the excess batter to drip off
- Next immediately place the mushroom into the breadcrumb mix and toss to coat. Leave the coated mushrooms aside on a wire rack whilst you get them all breaded
- Deep fry the mushrooms until golden brown, then leave aside on a lined tray (air frying instructions in notes and blogpost)
- To prepare the sauce, sauté the shallots, garlic, ginger and chilli (if using) in the oil until fragrant
- Then add in the light soy sauce, ketchup, chilli sauce, and white pepper
- Prepare your cornflour slurry by whisking together the cornflour and water until completely dissolved. Pour this into the pan and mix on a medium-high heat until the sauce thickens slightly and has a shiny glossy appearance
- Turn the heat off and add in your crispy panko mushrooms. Toss until they're evenly coated in the sauce
- Garnish with spring onion greens and chilli oil (optional)
- Best served immediately
If you enjoyed these, be sure to check out some of my other Indo Chinese recipes! Tap the image below to check out my chilli paneer!