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Asian Vegan Kitchen
by Hema Parekh
Mushroom Balls with Plum Sauce
(Nam vien chen voi sot xi muoi)
This is a popular takeout snack in the vegetarian shops and restaurants in the bustling business districts of Ho Chi Minh City.
• 8 dried shiitake mushroom caps, reconstituted and chopped
• 2 reconstituted, dried wood ear mushrooms, chopped
• 1¾ ounces (50g) straw mushrooms, halved
• 1/2 carrot, finely chopped
• 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1/2-inch (1-cm) cube fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 fresh hot chilies, green or red, finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon castor sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup (160ml) water
• Vegetable oil for deep-frying
• 1 cup |100g) bread crumbs
• 1 cup (240ml) plum sauce, to serve
1. In a bowl, combine the mushrooms and carrot with the flour. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chilies, sugar, pepper, and salt. Gradually add the water, stirring to make a coarse mix.
2. In a wok, heat the oil for deep-frying to 350°F (180°C). Take spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture, roll in the bread crumbs, and shape into balls. Gently slide the balls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, a few at a time. Drain on kitchen paper.
3. Place the bowl with the plum sauce in the center of a plate, arrange the mushroom balls around it, and serve.
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