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Asian Vegan Kitchen
by Hema Parekh
Deep Fried Mushroom Balls
(Shi jing zha chu)
These crunchy mushroom balls were served to us as a savory snack between dim sum courses in a Chinese restaurant in the trendy St. John's Wood neighborhood of London. My nieces, nephews, and children were all surprised to see me go through so many of them!
Serves 4


    • 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, drained, and finely chopped
    • 5 fresh shiitake mushroom caps, minced
    • 3½ ounces (100g) water chestnuts, minced
    • 2 scallions, finely chopped
    • 2 fresh hot green chilies, finely chopped
    • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
    • 2/3 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon castor sugar
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • Vegetable oil for deep-frying
    • Chili Garlic Sauce, to serve (see below)


1. In a deep bowl, combine all the ingredients except the oil and mix well. Roll the mixture into small balls and set aside.

2. In a wok, heat the oil for deep-frying to 350°F (180°C) and slide in the balls a few at a time. Deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with Chili Garlic Sauce.

Makes 1/4 cup (60ml)

    • 5 fresh red chilies
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 teaspoon castor sugar
    • 3 teaspoons rice vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

Using a food processor, blend the chilies, garlic, sugar, vinegar, and salt to a smooth paste. Add the onion and mix. Store in an airtight jar. Keeps for 1 week, refrigerated.


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