Mushrooms are versatile. They not only come in a whole slew of varieties, they can be used in myriad ways. Stuff 'em, incorporate them in sandies, blend them into a soup, stir fry them to perfection, use them as a pizza topping - the possibilities are limitless! Not to mention delicious!
In India, especially, the mushroom not only has a bad rap considering the most fecund environment for growing it usually tends to be highly unappetizing, but also because people there, inaccurately, consider it to be 'non-vegetarian'! Of course, even in mushroom factories, mushrooms are cultivated in loads of compost which includes a lot of things you might not want to be informed about! So, I won't!
Instead, let me tell you about the health benefits of the magnificient mushroom. These awesome fungii have been used for centuries both as an ingredient in food, and also in medicine. That said, it is important to remember that although there are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, only a few thousand are edible and hundreds of those have medicinal properties.
Mushrooms are made up almost entirely of water - almost 80-90%! What little dry matter they have is mostly fibre, and they hardly have any fat or sodium. This should definitely tickle the fancy of your inner dieter! Apart from this, they are shown to reduce risks of stroke, prostrate and breast cancers, help to fight of infections, cold and flu, and even reduce blood pressure. (find source: here)
The fungi is especially popular with people who have recently shifted to a vegetarian or vegan diet since the texture of some mushrooms make them good replacements for some types of meat. Some mushrooms even are said to lend a fishy flavor some dishes.
So, if its not for the taste, do it for your health - add some mushroom to your diet!!
Personally, I love it in every way possible, in everything possible. Ever since we moved to the US, I have been enjoying making non-Indian cuisine at every given opportunity. This last weekend, however, I was really craving some north-Indian food, and after a quick peek in my fridge, I decided I had everything I needed to make Dingri Muttar Masala. And boy am I glad I did!! Not only was it yummalicious, it was ready in a jiffy!! Shashank, my 9-month-old son (who is eating mushroom for the first time, btw!), and I thoroughly enjoyed the sumptious meal.
Here's the recipe, just in case you are feeling peckish for something spicy and tangy!
DINGRI MUTTAR MASALA
(Mushrooms & Peas in a Spicy Gravy)
- Mushrooms (Any kind; I used white mushrooms) : 100 -150 grams (Sliced or quartered)
- Peas (Fresh or Frozen) : 1 cup (cooked)
- Onion (I used white) : 1 (chopped finely)
- Tomato : 2 (chopped finely)
- Ginger garlic paste : 2 tsp
Fresh ginger : 1 inch piece (finely grated)
Fresh garlic: 2-3 cloves (finely grated)
- Turmeric Powder: 2 tsp
- Red Chilli Powder: 2 tsp (adjust as per your personal taste)
- Garam Masala Powder: 2 tsp
- Corriander Powder: 1 tsp
- Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
- Soy Yogurt: 1 cup
- Vegan Butter: 2 tbsp (optional)
- Canola Oil: 2 tbsp (increase to 4 tbsp, if not using vegan butter)
- Cumin Seeds : 1 tsp
- Corriander/Cilantro/Parsley : enough for garnishing
- Heat the vegan butter or 2 tbsp or oil in a wok/deep pan, and saute the mushrooms in it. Keep this aside.
- In another wok/pan, heat the remaining oil. Once hot, add the cumin seeds to it, and heat till they splutter.
- Add the chopped onion, and saute till it turns slightly transparent.
- Add the ginger garlic paste or fresh grated ginger and garlic and saute till very lightly browned.
- Add the chopped tomato and cook well till the tomato has broken down completely and is well cooked.
- Add the turmeric, red chilli, and garam masala powders and cook for about 1.5-2 minutes more, or until the raw flavor of the spices have disappeared.
- Add the yogurt and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add the cooked peas and mushrooms. Mix well, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Naan, kulcha, roti, chappati, and phulka go very well with this dish.
- Can be served with rice as well.
- Most North Indian curries are best served with a wedge of lime/lemon.
- A soy-yogurt based raita would make a good side dish.
- A lot of Dingri Muttar Masala recipes will ask for you to add about 1/4 cup of cashew paste, and only a few tbsp of yogurt. I find cashew paste much too rich and heavy for my tastes, and hence substitue it with more yogurt. Also, I am sure the soy yogurt is much easier on the hips!! :0)