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Southern Fried Chickenless Strips

Ever wished southern fried chicken just grew on trees? We’re here to tell you it does…

Laetiporus sulphureus, better known as chicken of the woods, is a beautiful bracket fungus that is quite abundant in the Western Cape near the end of summer. If you or a friend has managed to find (and correctly identify) some of this mushroom, here’s a recipe for some delicious comfort food modeled after the famous “Southern Fried Chicken”.

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Southern Fried Chickenless Strips

Move over KFC…

It should be noted that eating mushrooms you or a friend has foraged must be done with caution. Only eat these mushrooms if you have had them properly identified by an expert and make sure to cook them thoroughly before eating. Chicken of the woods can sometimes cause a bit of nausea in some people so make sure to only consume young specimens, and try out a small amount first before eating an entire meal.

Check out our guide to ethical foraging!

Ingredients

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  • Chicken of the woods (COW)
  • Eggs
  • Flour
  • Cornflakes
  • Cooking oil
  • Cultured buttermilk
  • Spices:
    • Salt
    • Paprika
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder

Method

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1. To prep the mushrooms we first need to make sure they are free of any dirt. You can dust them off with a light brush and then wash them in some cool water. Once cleaned, cut them into equally sized strips. The size is up to your taste, anywhere between 1cm and 3cm is recommended.

2. Next place your strips into a frying pan and cover with water. Add a few pinches of salt and boil on high until all the water evaporates. This is an important step to make sure your COW mushrooms are completely cooked and boiling until the water evaporates completely locks the flavour back into the mushrooms while giving them a distinctly chicken like texture.

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3. Using a mortar and pestle, crush up the cornflakes. It’s up to you how fine you’d like your crumb to be. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, put the cornflakes in a ziploc bag and just bash ’em up with a rolling pin.

4. In the following order, place these ingredients into five wide brimmed bowls: flour; lightly beaten eggs (min 2); flour with healthy doses of garlic and onion powder; buttermilk; crushed up cornflakes with salt and paprika to taste.

Time to get messy….

5. Roll each of your strips into each of the bowls in the above order while making sure to coat the entire strip at each step. Using a fork will help to keep your fingers clean in this process. Handle the strips as gently as possible so as not to break the coating, place on a plate and then chill in the fridge for thirty minutes to an hour.

Southern Fried strips

6. Place your cooking oil in a pot on high heat. Use enough oil that it would cover about 2 of your strips. Use a large metal slotted spoon to place your strips into the hot oil and put as many in as you can fit, but make sure they are all submerged.

7. Because your strips have already been cooked, it’s up to you how crispy you’d like the batter. I prefer a nice dark batter. Once you’ve fried your strips to your desired colour, place in a bowl lined with paper towel and allow the oil to be soaked off.

8. Finally plate and enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce! Look at that strip break apart… mouthwatering!

Next Sticky Oyster Mushroom Noodles with Toasted Sesame Seeds
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