This Hen of the Woods Recipe is filled with meaty, juicy flavors coated in a Kentucky spice blend. Foraged, store bought, or grown- Hen of the Woods is a medicinal fungi that is amazing breaded and fried, air fried, or baked!
I updated this recipe to include fried, air fryer, and oven instructions to make a healthier options for preparing this mouth watering recipe.Try out all 3 ways you can make these Kentucky Fried Hen of the Woods
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Hen of the Woods aka, Maitake Health Benefits
The star of this show is the Hen of the Woods, a delicious, and nutritious mushroom.
Hen of the woods or maitake, is an earthy, meaty fungi that grows on hardwood trees in the forest. The Japanese call it the dancing mushroom because of foragers happy response to finding it because of the wonderful health properties. It’s considered a medicinal mushroom by improving your immune system, helping prevent and potentially kill cancer cells -all while tasting amazing.
Where to find them?
I was able to find this uncommon mushroom at the farmers market in Denver- if your local farmers market has a mushroom vendor they will most likely have it!
Another place I have found it is at my local international/Asian grocery store. I live in Westminster, Colorado, so I go to H Mart and Pacific Ocean Marketplace for medical mushrooms like this. Most traditional grocery stores won’t carry it unfortunately, but every Asian grocery I’ve been to carries it! That being said, some health food stores might carry it. I’ve found it at Natural Grocers and various Co Op health food grocery stores.
Another option is to forge for them.
Mushroom forging is like it’s own special kind of treasure hunt- you never know what you will find! If you are curious how to find free food in the wild consider going on a group foray to learn some of the basics on mushroom identification. There are many look-a-likes and many mushrooms can be deadly. However, there is a huge assortment of mushrooms that cannot be grown- they must be found. Truffles, morels, and Chanterelles are all gourmet mushrooms that are incredibly difficult to grow- most often they are found. Check out these websites to learn more about foraging and how to grow your own mushrooms.
The Flavors at Play
Not all fungi are created equal- this recipe will not be the same if you substitute the mushroom for a different variety. This Hen of the Woods recipe works perfect with Chicken of the Woods and Oyster Mushrooms.
All three taste amazing in this- but hen of the woods will have the most meaty- yet juicy flavor. The chicken of the woods will have a more chicken like flavor, but is much drier than hen of the woods. The oyster mushroom is the easier to find- foraging or at the grocery store. It has a more metallic, yet meaty flavor- and is very juicy. It is great in this recipe- but the hen of woods really is king here.
The main ‘Kentucky’ flavor in this Hen of the Woods Recipe comes from the flour mixture you dunk it in.
The combination of nutritional yeast flakes, mace, black salt, and smoked paprika has that effect.
This seasoning blend is savory, rich, and really brings out the meaty flavors of the mushrooms.
Black salt can be found in Indian grocery stores, vegan specific grocery stores, and online.
It commonly used in Indian recipes, tofu scrambles, chickpea omelets, plant based cheese recipes, it adds a savory sulfur flavor. It adds an extra depth to savory recipes- perfect for curries, stews, and savory dishes. Be mindful that is is powerful, a little goes a long way. Too much can easily overpower and ruin the best recipe. Since sulfaur is similar to an egg flavor you’ll want to be mindful to not use it in place of sea salt. Rather a pinch can add a meaty element of depth. Use just the right amount and you’ll ground your savory dish into a meaty masterpiece.
I also love Black Truffle Salt for this recipe- however that is a specialty item you would need to buy from a gourmet cooking store or order online. It is not necessary but it is a great ingredient to have on hand. Black truffle salt has this earthy savory flavor that pops with black pepper. White truffle salt on the other hand has a wine like earthy flavor, like a earthy white wine. I would save the white truffle salt or oil for a savory dish that needs a little lift. Not in this dish. Stick with black truffle salt or oil if you have it.
Ways to Serve it
Max out with this Kentucky Fried Hen of the Woods Recipe with all these ways you can serve it up
- With soul food like mashed potatoes, corn, kale, coleslaw
- With mac and cheese and buffalo sauce
- In a sandwich with hot sauce and coleslaw
- In a sandwich with ranch, cheese, lettuce, tomato
- In a wrap with sprouts, red peppers, cucumber, with poppy seed dressing
- Over a buddha bowl with brown rice, peppers, tempeh, sprouts, and bock choy
- Over a buddha bowl with black beans, quinoa, salsa, guacamole, and lettuce
- On top of this Vegan Chicken Alfredo Pizza
Find some Chicken of the Woods?
Try out this Fried Chicken of the Woods Wings recipe!
Kentucky Fried Hen of The Woods
- 16 Ounces Hen of the Woods, aka Maitake
- 2 Cups Water
- 4 Tbs Flax Seed Powder
- 2 Drops Liquide Smoke Optional
- 2 cups Refined Coconut Oil, Sunflower oil, or Canola Oil
To Air Fry*
- Oil to brush or spray on wings
Prepping the Wings
- Clean your mushroom, lightly scrub base to remove any dirt
- Slice the mushroom longways at about 1/2 to 1 inch slices (or close to 13-20mm)
- In a wide bowl whisk your flax seed powder with the liquide smoke, then set aside
- In another wide bowl add all your dry ingredients and mix well
- Take your mushroom slice, dunk it in the flax egg, then in the flour mixture- repeat 2-3 times for a thicker breading
Pan Frying Directions
- Using a non stick pan heat up enough oil to thoroughly cover the bottom surface, about 1 inch deep on medium heat The amount will vary based on the size of your pan
- Fry for about 4-5 mins on medium heat while covered, then flip and repeat
- Place cooked mushroom on parchment paper or a clean towel to absorb excess oil
Air Fryer Directions
- Freeze for 20 minutes to ensure the batter doesn’t seep through the air fryer basket
- Brush or spay oil over the frozen wings
- Put in Air fryer, allowing space between each wing. Do not over crowd
- Cook at 370 for 20 minutes in the air fryer, flipping half way through
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Freeze for 20 minutes, then brush oil over them For oil free wings skip this step, do not freeze
- Bake for 30 minutes or golden brown, flipping after 15 minutes
- Allow to cool and serve
Chia and flax seeds are a great source of omega 3, give it a try!
However it can be a bit dry on it’s own if there is no oil, if it’s in something you wouldn’t notice at all.
Another option is to add 1/2 tsp liquid smoke or 1 tsp black truffle oil to the Flax Dip
If you don’t have either of those, as a last resort, use 1 tsp soy sauce The nutritional yeast flakes add a umami depth to this recipe, it adds a savory punch.
Love this recipe?
Check out more plant based recipes, eco-friendly lifestyle tips, and more on wild/grown food below!
- Sourdough Discard Tortillas
- Strawberry Rose Cupcakes
- Vegan Raspberry Muffins
- Vegan Blackberry Lavender Muffins
- Roasted Hen of the Woods