Hooooly mooooly. These mushrooms. All I feel I need to say about these mushrooms is – my husband hates mushrooms, but even he was loitering around while I was taking these photos, asking when he would be able to have another one (I felt very cruel). These things are the bomb.
I am honestly shocked that this beer batter was so easy to make. I used to work in a (rubbish) restaurant, and we would literally use a bag of pre-prepared batter mix, which we would combine with a pint of beer to make our batter. I am now wondering why on earth the restaurant owners didn’t realise that plain flour is much cheaper, much more authentic, and tastes just as good as the processed stuff – and it’s just as easy. You literally just mix your flour with some beer and whatever spices you fancy, and you’re done. It takes about twelve seconds, and ends up just incredible – light and crispy, and just wonderful in every way.
I usually avoid deep frying things, because of a) the whole health thing and b) The Fear. But I can well and truly say that The Fear is now just a little mini fear that I have pretty much overcome.
Turns out, deep frying isn’t actually that hard. Of course it will still only be a very rare treat for me (see the first reason above), but at least it doesn’t petrify me any more. I definitely still winced every time I added another mushroom to the pan, but after a few seconds, it was more like a ‘huh, that wasn’t so bad’.
A few tips for deep frying: wear an apron to protect your clothes from any stray spits of oil (I speak from experience). Don’t overcrowd the pan, or your mushrooms will all stick together and end up looking absolutely nothing like mushrooms (as you can see). And, wipe up any drips of batter from your counter top before they dry, because it’s sooo much easier that way (again… experience).
I only used about two thirds of an inch of oil so as not to be too wasteful – it doesn’t matter if the mushrooms aren’t 100% covered, since you can flip them around a bit anyway. You can also keep the oil for another occasion if you can’t bring yourself to throw it all away (I am already fantasising about what else I can deep fry). If you have any excess batter, that will keep for a few days in the fridge too.
(if you need one more reason to make these babies: this recipe only takes a cup or so of beer, so you’ll have half a can left to keep all to yourself. I may or may not have polished mine off just before writing this, so I apologise for any glaring errors)
- 100g plain flour
- 100ml beer
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp hot chilli powder
- Black pepper
- Oil for frying
- 200g medium-sized mushrooms, quartered (or whole button mushrooms if you prefer)
- Combine the flour, beer, spices and seasonings in a large bowl, and whisk well until smooth.
- Heat between half an inch and one inch of oil over a medium heat in a large pan or wok. Drip a tiny amount of batter into the oil, and when it starts sizzling, you can add your mushrooms.
- You will probably need to cook your mushrooms in two batches to avoid overcrowding your pan. Dip a mushroom in the batter, making sure it is fully covered, and then carefully drop it into the oil. The oil should audibly sizzle. Repeat with the rest of the first batch of mushrooms.
- After a couple of minutes, use a slotted spoon to flip the mushrooms over. Continue cooking, turning as necessary, for around 5 minutes, until the batter is a deep golden colour. Remove the mushrooms from the oil, and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.
- Repeat with the other batch of mushrooms.
- Finish the mushrooms with a bit more salt if they need it (mine did), and serve with your choice of dipping sauce.