This creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe makes a vegetarian version of my beef Stroganoff recipe, which I based on my memory of my Russian-Ukrainian grandmother’s beef Stroganoff and the earliest documented Russian beef Stroganoff recipe by Elena Molokhovets in A Gift to Young Housewives, dating to 1861. I also provide tips to making a vegan mushroom Stroganoff.
My creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe will make you a deliciously-rich vegetarian version of my Russian beef Stroganoff recipe that is super easy to make and comes together quickly. This is not one of my Russian family recipes as our Stroganoff, like our traditional Russian beef stew, was always made with beef.
It’s worth noting, however, that historically beef was a luxury for most Russians, eaten mainly on holidays and special occasions. While Russian nobles in the palaces of St Petersburg and Moscow might have feasted on beef, roast lamb, veal, ham, venison, peacocks, swans, cranes, roosters, chickens, ducks, quails, tortoise, and so on, Russia’s peasants mostly ate fish, grains and vegetables, particularly mushrooms.
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Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe for a Vegetarian Take on Beef Stroganoff
Like my beef Stroganoff recipe, which I based on my memory of my Russian grandmother’s beef Stroganoff, my mum’s Stroganoff, and the earliest documented Russian beef Stroganoff recipes, including that by Elena Molokhovets in A Gift to Young Housewives, published in 1861, my creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe is traditional – apart from my addition of fish sauce. We live in Southeast Asia, so I can’t help myself. There are historical reasons too.
Fish sauce is not as strange an inclusion in this mushroom Stroganoff recipe as some of you might imagine, considering the journey that post-World War II Russian refugees made, particularly the Russian emigres who settled in China and Hong Kong and opened restaurants, many of whom later made their way down to Australia.
Although I’m told that the Hong Kong beef Stroganoff is distinguished by its tomato sauce or tomato ketchup. I didn’t get to try it when we were last in Hong Kong and I’m still trying to track down a good recipe. If any of our readers have one, please do share it. I only have a few tips to making this creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe.
Tips to Making this Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe
As usual, just a few tips to making this creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe. I know not everyone is a fan of fish sauce, so do leave it out if you’re not. As someone who has cooked Southeast Asian food for over 35 years, fish sauce makes sense to me in this dish, giving it a bit more depth and colour. But you could always try a splash of soy sauce instead.
When it comes to fish sauce, I use an old artisanal Vietnamese fish sauce that tastes of caramel, which I bought on my last trip to Vietnam. It is so good I could almost drink it. If you’re not in Southeast Asia, we recommend Thailand’s Megachef for a top quality fish sauce, as it’s readily accessible and its sodium levels are always consistent.
Allspice was in the Molokhovets recipe and I love it in this mushroom Stroganoff recipe. Paprika came much later but is also a must as far as I’m concerned.
Molokhovets included Sareptskaja mustard in her 19th century beef Stroganoff – which is widely available in Central and Eastern Europe and outside Europe, in European delis, but the closest we can get is wholegrain mustard.
While sour cream and cream make for a more authentic flavour profile, yoghurt appears to be a popular substitute for the health conscious. Yoghurt is not to my taste in this dish – I have Russian blood after all, which means I’d have sour cream on tap if I could – but do try it if you orefer.
Beef Stroganoff includes beef stock or bouillon and while I don’t think this mushroom Stroganoff needs it, by all means use vegetable stock if you like, particularly if you prefer to reduce the amount of cream or sour cream or skip them entirely.
While most cooks would automatically reach for a deep fry pan or cast-iron skillet for a dish like this, we love using our flat bottomed wok for browning the mushrooms then we transfer them to a fry pan.
How to Making this Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff Vegan
The easiest way to make my vegetarian mushroom Stroganoff recipe a vegan Stroganoff recipe is to leave out the fish sauce and do what Molokhovets did and add two tablespoons of flour to thicken the sauce.
It’s best to create a slurry first by whisking the flour into the warm stock or some hot water (which is essentially what a slurry is!) before you add it to the mushrooms in order to avoid lumps.
It’s rare that Russians would eat a dish like this mushroom Stroganoff alone. Most of my Russian family meals were shared meals with an array of dishes on the table. It was not unusual for baboushka to serve a beef Stroganoff or stew as part of a family feast that included piroshki, Russian pelmeni and vareniki, some stuffed cabbage rolls, a pink beetroot potato salad, and perhaps some chicken kotleti. Those dishes aren’t vegan, I’m sorry to say.
If you’re not feeding a family, at the very least you’ll want to serve it with something like pasta or rice, buckwheat kasha, crispy shoestring fries, or mashed potatoes. A Russian garden salad is a must.
Whatever you do, plate the mushroom Stroganoff with a generous dollop of sour cream and plenty of fresh dill, and serve additional bowls of gherkins and sour cream on the side.
Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 200 g brown mushrooms or a mix of mushrooms sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 150 ml sour cream
- 150 ml cooking cream
- 1 tbsp allspice ground
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- In a flat-based wok, cast iron skillet or large pan, gently fry the onion on low-medium heat in a tablespoon of butter and tablespoon of olive oil for five minutes or so until they soften, brown and caramelise, then set aside.
- Add the finely chopped garlic cloves, a splash of oil if needed, and fry for a minute on low heat. Add another tablespoon each of butter and olive oil, the mushrooms, salt and black pepper, stir the mushrooms so they’re covered in the butter, oil and seasoning, turn the heat up to high and sauté the mushrooms until brown and soft.
- Turn the heat down to low, return the onions, add the cream and sour cream, allspice, paprika, mustard, and fish sauce, stir to combine well, then gently simmer for ten minutes or so. If the sauce has not thickened enough, turn the heat up to medium-high or even high for a few minutes or so to reduce.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary to suit your taste, adding a little more salt, pepper, spices, and even another spoon of fish sauce if you like. Simmer for a few more minutes so the flavours meld together and taste again.
- Dish out into individual bowls, add a dollop of sour cream, garnish with plenty of fresh dill, and serve with bowls of gherkins and additional sour cream, and sides of your choice – buckwheat kasha, pasta, rice, crispy shoestring fries, and mashed potato all work. A Russian garden salad is a must.
Please do let us know if you make my mushroom Stroganoff recipe and how it turns out for you. We love to hear from our readers. I’d also love to hear from anyone who has tried the Russian beef Stroganoff in Hong Kong or China.