Everyone goes mushroom mad sometimes. This recipe is perfect for when you’ve bought or foraged a few too many of mother earth’s favourite umami cups. It features the usual pickling spices, plus the Filipino zap of coconut vin – a taste which pairs well with the meaty mushrooms and reminds my inner child of mum’s chicken adobo. Mmm. I used Phoenix Oyster Mushrooms sourced from a lovely small-scale grower @maximushrooms (DM Maxim via instagram to order), based out the backdoor of Sydney – but you could easily get ‘em (or other varieties like shimeji, king oyster, shiitake, saffron milk caps or pine) from a good grocer (especially Asian ones) or grow-at-home kit and it’d be lightyears better than the supermarket. Pro tip: Char the mushies before pickling for bonus smokiness.
(A brief aside on coconut vinegar before we commence – Coconut vinegar doesn’t taste particularly coconutty. I used the type made by fermenting coconut water (suka ng niyog). Generally, the brown-tinged variety is made from coconut sap (sukang tuba).)
No more ado – here’s my recipe for Filipino Adobo Pickled Mushrooms:
Coconut vinegar (Filipino brand preferred, like Datu Putti)
Whole black peppercorns
Small garlic clove, thinly sliced
Non-iodised salt, a pinch
- Sterilise your jars and lids by placing them on a tray in a cold oven, set to 100ºC (212°F).
- Clean your mushrooms – by gently pulling them apart (if joined to a big mushroomy mass), and tearing larger ones in half. Swish them lightly in a bowl of water (no gritty gills here), and allow to dry in the sun.
- Sear mushrooms – Heat an aluminium or cast iron pan on medium high heat and dry-sear the mushrooms till lightly charred (ie. no oil for max char). Don’t overcrowd the pan, otherwise they’ll stew, so doing this in batches is best. Press down the mushrooms with another pan to get an even sear. Flip and do this for all mushrooms on both sides. Set aside mushrooms. Don’t wash your pan! Add some water and boil on medium while scraping all the smoky char add this water to the water portion of the next step.
- Make your pickling brine – Make enough pickling brine to fill your jars. Simmer equal amounts of coconut vinegar and water(add your smoky mushroom pan liquid here) in a small pot.
- Take your jars out of the oven with tongs.
- Assemble – Add 1-2 bay leaves, 4-6 black peppercorns and 2-3 THIN slices of garlic (these pack a punch) per 200ml jar (scale this up or down depending on the bigness of your jars and your flavour preferences). Add your seared mushrooms to the sterilised jars. Pour over the hot hot brine, leaving 1cm headroom. Run a knife around the inside edge of the jar to release air pockets. Tap the jar a few times and repeat. Add more brine if required and pop a lid on.
- Storing – Store in a cool, dark place out of sunlight for at least 2-3 weeks to let the flavours develop. Should keep for a minimum of 1 year. Refrigerate after opening and enjoy.
This recipe was featured as part of a fermentation community celebration for Sandor Katz’ new book ‘Fermentation Journey’s (published by Chelsea Green). This screened as part of a livestream on October 10. Hosted and curated by Cultures Group. Thank you to chef Ken Fornataro from Cultures group for bringing together the fermentation community! It’s a joy to share and document our recipes, pickles and ferments in honour of Sandor’s own journey and learnings alongside many that I admire and learn from myself.