Mushroom “Calamari” Will Be Your New Favourite Appetiser

Umami-rich oyster mushrooms are lightly battered and fried for this squid-free take on a seafood favourite. You can use other mushroom varieties, but the delicate “petals” of the oyster mushrooms get addictively crispy.

Mushroom “Calamari” Will Be Your New Favourite Appetiser
© Suzanne Clements Umami-rich oyster mushrooms are lightly battered and fried for this squid-free take on a seafood favourite.

Yields: 2 servings

Total Time: 55 mins



  • 2 tbsp.

    extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2

    cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/2 tsp.

    chilli flakes

  • 1 tbsp.

    tomato paste

  • 1

    x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1/4 tsp.

    dried oregano

  • 2 tbsp.

    chopped fresh basil leaves, optional

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 350 g

    oyster mushrooms

  • 125 g

    plain flour

  • 50 g


  • 1 tsp.


  • 1/2 tsp.

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tsp.

    garlic powder

  • 1 tsp.

    smoked paprika

  • 240 mL

    nondairy milk

  • 60 g

    nondairy plain yogurt

  • Vegetable oil for frying

  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Make the spicy marinara: In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and chilli flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chopped tomatoes, oregano, and basil (if using). Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes; season to taste with salt and pepper. For a chunkier sauce, leave as is. For a smoother sauce, let cool slightly and transfer to a blender to puree.
  2. Make the calamari: Using your hands, pull apart mushrooms so they are separated into “petals.” In a medium bowl, combine flour, panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. In another medium bowl, whisk nondairy milk and yogurt to combine.
  3. Fit a deep pan or pot with a deep fry thermometer and add canola oil to a depth of 7cm. Place over medium high until thermometer registers 190ºC.
  4. Working in batches, dunk mushroom pieces in milk mixture, shaking off excess. Dredge in flour mixture, making sure pieces are evenly coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray or plate and repeat until all pieces are coated.
  5. Fry mushrooms in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and season with salt. Serve with marinara and lemon wedges.
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