Saturday, 23 June 2012

Mushroom Masala

Mushroom Masala

You can’t turn on the tv these days without seeing Dr. Oz giving sensible advice on what we should be eating.  BOM—that’s what we need to eat!  Berries!  (Yes, I had fresh blueberries and strawberries with plain yogurt for breakfast), Onions, (yes, I had some in my grilled cheese sandwich for lunch) and more in this dinner dish, and Mushrooms, which is what this dish is all about. 

I’ve always liked mushrooms, but thought of them as frivolous.  I mostly saw that they had 0% of this and that, and though they tasted mighty good, I thought of them as delicious nothings.  But our good doctor has more to say on the subject.  Apparently a day without mushrooms is like, I don’t know, a day without oxygen?  We are supposed to be eating them, it turns out!  For a complete breakdown on all the nutrition that mushrooms have to offer, peek at this for a few moments, then come right back!

Meanwhile, I’ve had mushroom masalas that I never quite approved of, so I had to think long and hard before I could sort my way through the mushroom masala maze.  Here goes:

The Masala
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
¼ teaspoon black cumin seed
¼ teaspoon ajwain seed
¼ teaspoon fenugreek seed
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
2 cloves
1 flake of mace
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Roast all of the above spices excepting the last two in a wide non-stick pan at medium high heat.  As soon as they give off a wisp of fragrance and smoke, pour them into a spice grinder along with the turmeric and paprika.  Buzz to a fairly fine texture and set aside.

2 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 small red onion, cut in half and sliced
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
3 fresh Thai chilies
2 tablespoons ghee
5 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 small lime, juiced
salt to taste

Isn't red onion beautiful?
In that same wide non-stick pan, heat grape seed oil.  You need a wide pan because you want the onions and mushrooms to brown and caramelise.  Mushrooms have a lot of water, so they need a lot of space to get golden.  They can’t be too crowded!

Once the onion is cooked, push it away!
Once that grape seed oil is hot, add the onion, ginger and chilies.  When the onion is looking good and a bit golden, add the ground masala.  At this point, add 1 tablespoon of ghee and stir.  Cook for a few minutes, then lump the onions into a small area of the pan.

Add the rest of the ghee to the empty part of the pan.  Add enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan.  Leave them alone!  You want them to cook and caramelise without being pestered too much.  After about five minutes, you can peek, and if some golden bits show, then you can stir, and add the next small batch of mushrooms.
Continue on in this fashion, adding a few mushrooms at a time, pushing the caramelized ones away, and giving the newest batch a chance to caramelise.  Once you have all your mushrooms cooked, add the pomegranate molasses.  Cook another five minutes or so.  Just before serving, add the lime juice and salt to taste.

I served these with plain basmati rice (necessary to keep it plain after all that ghee in the mushrooms) and rutabaga masala, otherwise known as Curried Oxymorons, formerly known as turnips.  (Although I added a couple of sweet red peppers to that recipe.  Had to make up for my linguistic faux pas.)
It’s wonderful to know that mushrooms are worth the effort!  Not only is this dish insanely delicious, it’s also very healthy!  BOM, anyone?

PS  the great dairy free yogurt experiment continues!  Today’s products were somewhat thin, though one tasted quite good.  The experiment will continue tomorrow!


  1. the mushroom masala looks so yummy..I miss the Dr. Oz show here in India. I never missed it while I was in USA.

  2. Thanks both of you for visiting the blog. Meg, I think you can still catch some of his tv on his website if you click on certain links. He is so popular here, wouldn't be surprised if he got syndicated all over the world.