The sound of Grilled Portabella on a Bun on the menu at a fancy cafe leaves the wary vegetarian a little less thrilled. The prospect of biting into a meaty middle, even if the bun in question is well-buttered and toasty, does not excite her. And what of the frightfully fleshy Mushroom Fritters? They are best left untouched, she reckons. Even the divine red wine in the Mushroom Ragout couldn’t possibly instill enough flavor in the mean things to tickle her spice-smitten tastebuds. Shrugging, she sticks to the safer bets, ordering her routine Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches and the like. Yet, her head is momentarily abuzz with lines from Shelley’s “The Sensitive Plant” –
And agarics and fungi, with mildew and mould,
started like mist from the wet ground cold;
pale, fleshy, as if the decaying dead
with a spirit of growth had been animated.
And then she looks around, staring in awe at the panache with which her friends are biting into their mushroomy burgers. There has to be a way around the blessed edible fungi, she tells herself. She just has to rub in the right mix of spices, even if it means the outcome is a conflagrant, predictably Indianized version of a wild, western stir-fry creation. And she gets on the case the moment she lays her hands on a box of “triple-washed, pesticide-free” white mushrooms at the local produce store.
Masala Mushroom Medley
1 Recipe Roasted Mushrooms (recipe follows)
1 Large potato, sliced or cubed choicefully
1 Medium-sized onion, sliced thin and long
2-3 Pods of garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon light olive oil
A dash of turmeric
½ Teaspoon cumin
1 Teaspoon each of red chilli powder, coriander powder, roasted methi powder (or according to preference)
½ Teaspoon anardana (dried pomergranate seeds) powder
A pinch of garam masala
Salt to taste
2-3 Sprigs of green onions, chopped fine, for garnishing
In a skillet, warm the oil and add the cumin, then turmeric. Once the cumin sizzles, add the onion and garlic, stir for a few minutes and then add the potatoes. Cover the skillet and let them cook under medium heat. Then add the red chilli powder, coriander powder, roasted methi powder, stir well. Toss in the roasted mushrooms, and add the anardana powder and garam masala, fry for a minute or two and take the skillet off the flame. Garnish with finely chopped green onions and serve hot with rotis, paranthas or even as a side with rice and desired gravy.
1 Pack of mushrooms, sliced (preferably white)
Salt, red chilli powder and cumin powder according to preference
1 Tablespoon light olive oil
Wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel. Lay them on a baking tray, sprinkle the salt and masala powders, drizzle the olive oil and roast in a pre-heated 375 degree F oven for about 30 minutes, or until the mushrooms are roasted well, but be sure to check on them often lest they get burnt.
Our Mushroom Medley is shimmying down to sparkle at -
- Vardhini’s Dish it Out