Summer is for grilling, so when I heard that the joint party for my mom and my niece’s birthday will be held at a park, I decided to make my grilled vegan Isaw.
Isaw (pronounced “ee-sao”) is a popular Filipino street food. Sometimes it’s made of pig parts, sometimes of chicken parts. It is marinated in simple ingredients then grilled. For the AstigVegan version, I used oyster mushrooms.
The first time I tried my vegan Isaw was when I catered for my friend’s wedding party with the theme of vegan Filipino street food. I remember that night, the Isaw was the most in demand dish for both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, which was why I was excited to serve it again at my family’s event.
VEGAN ISAW RECIPE
What you need:
- 2 lbs. oyster mushrooms (organic preferably)
- bamboo skewers
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 3-4 tbsp organic sugar (or Agave syrup)
- 8 oz. tomato ketchup (or banana ketchup)
- 1 cup cooking oil
- Few drops of liquid smoke (if grilling indoors)
- No need to marinate ahead of time. The oyster mushrooms absorb the marinate instantly.
- No need to slice or cut the oyster mushrooms in chunks. The mushrooms will shrink its size in half.
HOW TO MAKE IT:
- Wash the oyster mushrooms before use.
- Skewer the oyster mushrooms 2-3 pieces per stick. As I’ve mentioned in the notes, you don’t have to cut the mushrooms to pieces. Not only will they shrink eventually, they will also fall off the stick if they become too small.
- Prepare the grill. It’s best if you use an outdoor charcoal grill. But if you prefer indoor grill using a stove or a George Foreman grill, you’ll need liquid smoke to attain the same taste.
- Combine the marinate in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. The secret to making the flavors of vegan Isaw delicious and authentic is the super simple yet winning combination of : sweet (sugar), tang (ketchup), and fat (oil). This is the winning formula Filipino street vendors use to make their grilled food tasty. I simply added vegetable broth to the mix.
- Brush the marinate to the mushrooms and turn the skewer over. Wait 5-7 minutes or until the heat caramelized the marinate before turning it again to repeat the procedure on the other side.
- Remove from the grill and serve hot.
The Isaw was a hit at the party. In fact it didn’t even made it to a serving tray. People were picking the skewers from the grill. I had to take pictures quickly hence the poor plating (sorry).
*Below are some scenes from the party (where I also brought vegan red velvet cupcakes and the birthday cake from “The Sweet Art of Cake“). The party had a carnival theme.
Happy Birthday to my mom and my niece. I wish you all the happiness in the world!