The key to getting the most meaty texture from your mushrooms for this recipe is to tear them really thinly. This way as they caramalise in the sugar, they will take on a meaty, almost pulled pork-like texture.
400g oyster mushrooms
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil plus a splash for frying
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp Chinese black bean sauce (can be ommitted but strongly reccomended!)
1 heaped tbsp five spice seasoning
To accompany: fresh coriander, cucumber, pickles, white rice or Chinese pancakes
Discard the dense stems at the base of the mushroom clusters and tear each individual mushroom into thin strips, roughly the width of your fingernail.
Start adding your mushroom strips to the pan, ensuring they are not too crowded - a bigger pan is better, as we want to give the mushrooms plenty of space to crisp up.
Begin to lightly dry fry (i.e. without oil) the strips for a couple of minutes on medium heat to remove any excess moisture.
While the mushrooms dry fry, combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, Chinese black bean sauce and five spice seasoning in a bowl. If you aren't using black bean sauce you can add one tablespoon of peanut butter instead to help thicken the sauce's texture and add depth.
Once the mushrooms start sticking to the pan or appear to have lost some of their moisture, add a splash of sesame oil.
Lower the heat and allow the mushrooms to crisp up over 5-10 minutes, stirring ocassionally. They should start to show some colour and smell delicious!
A couple of minutes before serving, turn the heat up to high and add the hoisin sauce from the bowl. Stir regularly, allowing the sugar to caramalise. Once the sauce has thickened and become glossier, you're ready to serve.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you're feeling fancy and serve alongside fresh herbs and pickles with rice, or as a Chinese pancake filling.