Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Comfort Food: Pulled Mushroom Burger with Wasabi Cashew Sauce

It has been quite a while since I have done a post. If you don't want the boring details skip to the recipe. It's great, I promise! I'll be doing a series on comfort foods over the next few weeks, and not all of them are the "give me something deep fat fried and smothered in chocolate" variety although those do have their place occasionally. I'm talking about comfort foods that nourish the body as well as the spirit. If you're in Australia remember that ad for Uncle Toby's oats where the kid tucks into a bowl of warm porridge and eating it is "like having a hug"? That's what I mean. Food that gives your body a hug.

To put this into perspective, life has been extraordinarily busy and somehow I lost time to do things for myself. I do a lot of volunteer work which is quite demanding, and this coupled with a Series  of Unfortunate Events  has left me a frazzled burnt out human. Word of warning here folks: self care is not optional. How can we take care of others if we don't take care of ourselves? No matter how demanding the world is, if you don't take time for yourself and recharge, you won't be a help to anyone! You know when you hop on a plane and the flight attendant gives you the instructions for emergencies? The first thing you do is put your oxygen mask on before you assist anyone else. That's what I need to do, and right now that oxygen mask is taking time to do the things I love.

So, about this burger....

Oyster mushrooms when cooked take on a silky texture like slow cooked pulled meat. It's been a very long time since I had meat, but I think it's a fair approximation. Cooked with ginger, garlic, and coriander root it sucks up the flavours to make a great vego version of Vietnamese banh mi thit. With a crunchy slaw it's a pretty healthy looking roll. Admittedly wasabi isn't Vietnamese but with cashews it makes a very tangy dressing. The Beloved really liked them and wants them again, so give them a bash and enjoy!

Makes 6 rolls

Tip: Make everything ahead but slicing up the apple, cover and store in the fridge to make up a snappy dinner or lunch!

6 crusty rolls

For the Filling:
300g oyster mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 thumb piece ginger
5cm piece of lemongrass
1 bunch of coriander (including root and stem)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 sliced Lebanese cucumber
1 shredded apple
1/2 cup sliced spring onions (I'm talking about the long thin variety which some people call shallots).
rice wine vinegar
vegetable oil

For the Dressing:
125g raw cashews
2 tsp veg stock powder (I used massel)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tube wasabi (used in increments to get the desired heat)


1. Put the cashews, veg stock, and water into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it has reached a boil turn down and simmer with the lid on for about 20 minutes, then set aside to cool.

2. While the cashews are cooking, cut off the leafy part of the coriander and set aside. Finely chop the roots and stems and put into a small bowl. Crush the garlic,  zest the lemongrass and ginger, and add to coriander stem with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to make a paste.

3.In a deep frypan or wok fry the spice paste on low heat until fragrant. Add the spring onions, and then add the oyster mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes more.

4. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan  and put the lid on, turning the heat down to a simmer for about 10 minutes.

5. Remove the lid from the mushroom mixture and keep cooking until all the liquid has evaporated (if it hasn't already). Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

6. Shred the cabbage, carrot, chop the coriander leaves roughly and toss together ina bowl with a little rice wine vinegar. Shred apple and slice the cucumber and put into a bowl and toss two tablespoons rice wine vinegar over it, set aside.

7. Blitz the cashews with the stock in a blender until thick and smooth (You can use a stick blender but it will take longer). If it is too thick just add a little more water. Blend the wasabi a little at a time until you reach the "heat" you're after. I put a whole 45g tube in, but you might not want that much!

8. Shred the cooked mushrooms with two forks to pull them apart, it will look a lot like shredded meat.

9. Cut your buns in half and spread a thin layer of margarine if desired. Put a layer of slaw, and then a a couple of spoons of the mushroom, topping with a generous dollop of wasabi cashew sauce. Serve on its own or with chips. Enjoy!


  1. Ooo yes, I want a hug from a pulled mushroom burger! Looks amazing Kate, such a creative take on a pulled burger :D

  2. Welcome back, Kate, from a fellow Aussie Vego! I kept checking in on your blog in 2016 in the hope you would return...good to see you again, take care and happy cooking! :)