Yields 20 mushrooms
For best results, don't begin heating the oil for deep-frying until you've applied the batter. This gives the batter time to dry on the mushrooms.
20 fresh mushrooms
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ cup water
¼ cup cornstarch
4 cups oil for deep-frying
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and cut off the stems.
To make the batter: In a medium bowl, sift the baking powder into the flour. Add the sugar, salt, and vegetable oil, stirring. Add the water, and stir into a smooth batter. Add a bit more water if the batter is too dry, or flour if it is too wet. Use a wooden spoon to test the batter — it should drop slowly, and be able to coat the back of the spoon.
Lightly dust the mushrooms with cornstarch and coat with the batter, using your fingers.
Add the oil to a preheated wok and heat to 350°F. When the oil is ready, add about 5 mushrooms at a time, and deep-fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Cool and serve.
If you normally enjoy mushrooms raw in a salad, try adding a little heat. A little known fact is that many varieties of mushrooms contain over 90 percent water. Deep-frying causes the water to evaporate and seals in the mushroom's natural juices.