When Sam asked if I could cook beef with broccoli but with mushrooms instead of beef, I didn’t have to ask her to elaborate. I knew exactly what she meant — a stir fry with tender-crisp broccoli florets smothered with a sauce thickened with starch.
It was one of Sam’s favorite Chinese dishes before she turned vegetarian. So, I obliged her. And I decided to make her even happier by using two mushroom varieties — meaty and earthy button mushrooms, and the more flavorful and texture-rich shiitake.
To add even more depth to the vegan stir fried mushrooms and broccoli, I took extra time and effort with the aromatics. I cooked the shallots over medium-low heat until caramelized before adding the garlic. I sautéed the shallots and garlic together for another minute and, when the fragrance filled the kitchen, I added the rest of the ingredients. Finally, the sauce mixed with starch was poured in.
- Slice the mushrooms. Not too thin. About a quarter inch thick is just fine.
- Peel and roughly chop the shallots.
- Peel, pound and mince the garlic.
- Cut the broccoli into florets. You should have about three cups.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Over medium-low heat, sweat the chopped shallots until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute.
- Turn up the heat to high. Add the mushrooms. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir fry for a minute.
- Add the broccoli florets. Stir fry for another minute.
- Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, starch and sesame seed oil with half a cup of water. Pour into the pan. Stir quickly. Continue cooking for another minute or just until the sauce is thickened and the broccoli florets are done but still with lots of crisp in them.
- Optionally, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve at once.
In the archive, there is another vegan mushroom and broccoli dish that I cooked especially for Sam just a few weeks before she declared that she was turning vegetarian. More garlicky and less oily. You might want to try it out too.