Growing up, the only mushrooms I ever had were the ones my Mom drained out of a can to spread on pizza. It may sound completely appetizing, but I loved it. So much so, that I would actually fish out and pieces I could find on leftover slices of the pizza. And yes, sadly, pizza was the only time my Mom opened the can of mushrooms.Â It wasn’t until I actually moved to Canada that I had my first taste of a real, fresh mushroom. One bite, and I was blown away. The canned stuff felt like rubber and I was instantly obsessed. Still am, to this day, mushrooms remain a favourite vegetarian option for me. Only second to the humble eggplant, of course!
When my parents were visiting during the early months of Baby Dear’s birth, my Dad had a craving for mushrooms. Like many people from Indian households back home, where mushrooms were a very rare sight at the dinner table, he wanted to know what they were like. He had often heard and read of recipes where mushrooms were cooked in a thick, almost dry masala base. He asked me to cook up a batch for him. I was more than than eager too!
It was almost too simple to put together. Like most Indian recipes, I started with a base of onions and tomatoes, slowlyÂ sauteingÂ it till all moisture evaporated and the flavours of the various spices had a chance to deepen. Next came the mushrooms, a few more minutes of slow cooking, and voila! Dinner was ready. My Dad had waited a long while to eat mushrooms cooked this way, and his expectations were pretty high. He took a bite, looked at me, and said that I HAD to teach my Mom this recipe. My Mom’s retort – they didn’t sell mushrooms at the vegetable market she shopped at!
This is a recipe I often fall back on on days when the heart desires something meaty, rich and lip-smackingly good! I’ve made it for fancy dinner parties, used it as an extravagant side for a simple Dal-Chawal, and also as a filling for sandwiches and wraps.Â I chose white button mushrooms since they easily take on robust flavours and shine through. I suspect creminis and oysters would alsoÂ workÂ well, but honestly, I have yet to try them this way.
Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 30 min | Serves: 4
15-20 white button mushrooms, quartered
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp amchoor powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp light cooking oil
fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
salt, to taste
Heat oil in a deep wok or kadhai and saute onions till they turn lightly brown. Add in ginger-garlic paste, spices and tomato paste, and fry for a minute to blend well. Add in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally till all moisture evaporates and becomes a thick sauce.
Throw in mushrooms and mix well with the masala. Let mushrooms cook through, until all its water dries up. Season with salt, and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.