Oyster mushroom season is peaking and the forests offer an abundance. I’m occasionally foraging and letting forests inspire me. In this case the source of inspiration has been the forest darkness the perfect mushroom habitat.

This dish is often prepared with chicken, pork or seafood and you may know it as ‘garlic pepper X’. ‘Pad Hed Gratiem’ ผัดเห็ดกระเทียม literally translates ‘stir fry mushroom garlic’, but the pepper is also there in a big way.

It is a very simple preparation with a very tasty result. The mushrooms are quickly stir fried in a paste comprising garlic, pepper and coriander root and seasoned with soy and a little bit of sugar. I use at least two different kinds of soy sauce to give the dish more depth and complexity in addition to the optional Thai dark soy for an even darker forest tint. The result is salty garlicky and very peppery and subtly sweet.

Ingredients and preparations

Center wok:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Mushrooms, wild oysters or other
  • Fermented bean paste or miso (optional)
  • Thai soy sauce
  • Chinese aged soy sauce
  • Thai dark soy sauce
  • Sugar

Garlic pepper paste:

  • Garlic
  • Coriander root
  • Black pepper
  • White pepper

Garnishes:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
Method

1.Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Heat some oil in a sauce pan and fry the garlic until lightly browned. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain excess oil.

2.Pound the paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle until coarse consistency, where all ingredients are still distinctively visible is obtained.

3.In a wok, heat the oil until it starts smoking. Quickly add the paste and stir. Add the fermented bean paste (optional) and the sugar. Add the mushrooms for a quick stir-fry. Season with Thai light soy, Chinese soy and Thai dark soy (optional). Turn of the heat, transfer to a serving plate and garnish with additional fried garlic.

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