Posts Tagged ‘Mushrooms’

Meaty Pasta and Mushrooms in Pink Sauce



Like most American kids my boy too could live his whole life eating only macaroni and cheese. I do indulge him occasionally, most often at restaurants, where of late better sense has prevailed upon me and I have begun accepting the fact that once in a while, it is ok to refrain  from wrestling veggies down his throat. At home however, over a period of 3 years I gradually gave Mac & Cheese  a complete make over. Today my innocent little lad eats a version that looks and tastes like anything but Mac & Cheese. A variation of elbow pasta that has veggies, meat and way less cheese and cream, . But every time I serve him this, he delightfully screeches MAC & CHEESE and wipes out the entire bowl!  I know he’s going to call my bluff in a year or two. But I’m counting on the fact that by then he would have acquired a taste for all the intruders in his bowl and would care less about the deception his trusted mother put him through ;).  

My two cents –

1. Nish and most other young kids I have noticed don’t like too many surprises in their food. They love familiarity.

When I introduced veggies into this dish I started with mushrooms. Mainly because mushrooms easily blend in with cheesy food and Nish always loved them. When I introduced meat, I started first by crumbling in his favorite chicken and bell pepper sausages. Over a period of time I’ve substituted the mushrooms with other veggies like zucchini, asparagus, artichokes, spinach, squash, broccoli etc and the sausages with minced or diced chicken, turkey, beef, shrimp etc.

2. Kids don’t like too much happening in their food. Keep it simple.

I always do only one vegetable and one meat at a time  Never a medley. Too many colors from the veggies and too many textures from the meats annoy them and they end up picking out everything that doesn’t look like a pasta noodle. Also, using single kind of different veggie and meat each time gives the dish different flavors every time you make it. A good thing for adults, since you know how easily we get bored. This same recipe when made with either spinach or zucchini tastes so different from the mushroom version that you could kind of give them their own individual names.

3. And the most important of all. Kids love anything that other kids claim to love.  So always give your dish a popular name and make sure something in it resembles the actual dish ;). Now you know why most of my pasta dishes use elbow pasta noodle ;).



1/2 lb elbow/penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2 cups chopped cremini mushrooms
meat stuffing from 2 links of sausages(I used 2 links(76g each) of Rocky brand roasted bell pepper and garlic chicken sausages)
2 cloves garlic chopped and crushed
1 can (15 oz)  pureed tomatoes (I used S&W vine ripe organic tomato sauce)
white pepper to taste
salt to taste
2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
grated Parmesan cheese to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sautè until onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add mushrooms, sausage meat, salt and pepper and sautè until sausage is slightly browned.
  • Add tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of water and bring to a simmer.
  • Turn heat to low and let simmer until the sauce is thickened.
  • Add basil and  stir into the sauce.
  • Add cream and let it continue to simmer on low.
  • While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water with few drops of virgin olive oil to a boil and add the pasta. Cook uncovered over high heat until al dente.
  • Drain the pasta and toss into the sauce.
  • Garnish with cheese.
  • Serve hot.
  • Mushrooms And Potatoes in Coconut Milk Gravy



    This simple dish goes amazingly well with Indian breads. I’ve used Portobello mushrooms here. But, you can use any kind you like. The mushrooms and the potatoes so readily absorb the sweetness of the coconut milk that every bite of it leaves you wanting more. Though you can make this dish with just mushrooms I’ve added potatoes too, only because I wanted more volume and they being the most versatile of the veggies I knew would remain subtle and not over shadow the mushrooms in this dish.


    1 lb Portobello mushrooms chopped into chunks
    3 red potatoes
    1 large onion finely chopped
    1tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    3 –4 green chilies chopped
    2 tomatoes chopped into chunks
    1 sprig of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp cinnamon-clove spice mix
    1/4 tsp turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1 cup canned coconut milk
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    2-3 shallots finely sliced
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp of lemon zest
    1 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro


  • Cook potatoes in a pressure cooker or boiling water.  Chop into big chunks and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Add cumin and sauté for a few seconds.
  • Add onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add green chilies and ginger-garlic paste until you get rid of the raw smell.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, black pepper, chili, coriander and cinnamon-clove spice mix and sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked.
  • Add the potatoes, salt  and mix it into the dish.
  • Reduce the flame, pour in the coconut milk and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Heat a tsp oil in another pan.
  • Add mustard seeds and when they pop, throw in the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté until the shallots are fried.
  • Pour the mustard seasoning over the curry.
  • Garnish with lemon zest and cilantro.
  • Serve hot with hot Indian breads.
  • Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Asparagus in Chili Garlic Sauce



    The best way to use up left over vegetables that don’t need much cooking time, is to make a stir-fry out of them. You can use any combination of vegetables you like. The ideal way would be to choose vegetables that complement each other in texture and taste.  I’ve used the earthy mushrooms to balance the crunchy asparagus in a full-bodied flavorful chili garlic sauce. I make my own sauce. But if you think it is too much work you could use two table spoons of the store bought kind. There are lots of them available that are very authentic in taste(yeah, like I would know ;)).

    Chili Garlic Sauce


    1 tbsp rice vinegar
    1 tbsp rice wine
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (the Asian kind)
    3-4 dried chilies torn in to 1 inch pieces (I use a combination of the spicy and mild chilies, like- thai, habanero, serrano. paprika and ancho. You can use any kind you prefer)
    1/4 tsp corn starch
    11/2 tbsp chopped garlic
    salt to taste


  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • Add the chilies and  garlic and sauté for about  15 –20 seconds, just about till the garlic begins to cook.
  • Add vinegar, sugar, soy, rice wine and continue to sauté for a minute or 2.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water and let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently. Turn off the flame.
  • When the mixture cools down, grind it into a coarse pasted using a blender.Transfer the ground mixture back to the wok.
  • Add corn starch dissolved in water and let it cook on low heat till the sauce thickens.
  • Use use immediately for any stir-fry or can be refrigerated to use later.
  • Stir-Fry  



    2 tbsp peanut oil
    1 tsp toasted sesame oil
    1/2 a medium sized onion chopped into chunks
    2 bunches asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces (discard the fibrous part)
    2 clumps of beech mushrooms
    2 tbsp hoisin sauce
    2 tbsp of chili garlic sauce
    2 tbsp soy sauce


  • Heat  peanut oil in a wok over high heat.
  • Swirl in the oil to coat the surface and wait 10-15 seconds for it to heat.
  • When hot, add the onions and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Toss in the asparagus and stir-fry for another minute.
  • Add the mushrooms and continue to stir-fry another 20-30 seconds.
  • Add in the chili garlic, hoisin and soy sauce along with the sesame oil. 
  • Toss the wok so that the sauces lightly coat all the vegetables. Stir continously. 
  • Cook until the asparagus is a vibrant green color, tender but crisp.
  • Adjust salt if needed.
  • Mushroom Biryani



    If ever due to some freak occurrence or if at some blessed moment, better judgment were to prevail upon me and I were to turn 100% vegetarian, then in all my recipes, where ever there would be a need for the life of an innocent living creature, I would use  mushrooms instead. Mushrooms to me are the next of kin in taste, for all kinds of meats. I know, I know, there is tofu, I’ve heard nothing is impossible with tofu  and of course I wont deny tofu can help you survive if the sun disappears! But, I simply DONT do tofu. It is my pet peeve when it comes to food. And I’d safely leave it at that. I’m still a greenhorn to blogging and I’m not ready yet, for the scorn of the Internet (may be in a years time I’ll detail out the whys of my dislike ;))

    So my dear veggie friends, if you have been wondering what all this fuss is about  the biryanis, the meat lovers are every so often raving about, try out a biryani recipe and replace the meat with your favorite kind of mushroom. If you like it, you are very close to knowing what all the revelry is about. And, if you don’t like it, you can rest assured, that us blood thirsty sinners are having it no better than you already are.

    In my biryani recipe I mostly use Portobello mushrooms. I find them hearty, earthy and very flavorful, a perfect replacement for meat. You can go ahead and use  any kind you like or have. You wont be disappointed.


    1 lb mushrooms of your choice, cut into bite sizes chunks
    1 large  or 2 medium sized onions finely sliced
    4 large tomatoes, diced in chunks
    5- 6 green chilies, slit length wise
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tbsp grated ginger
    2 tbsp diced garlic
    1/2 tsp black pepper corns
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    3 cups basmati rice
    pinch of saffron
    refined vegetable oil
    2 tsp sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
    1 tbsp chopped mint
    1 cup coconut milk
    1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
    1 tsp lemon juice
    Salt to taste


    • Soak washed basmati rice with 5 cups of water and set aside for an hour.
    • Sauté 3/4th of the chopped onions in 2 – 3 tbsp of oil  in a wide bottomed  hollow pan  until golden brown; make sure the pan can be fitted with a tight lid that doesn’t let steam escape.
    • Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
    • Add in the diced tomatoes, turmeric powder, spice mix, pepper corns, chili powder, chopped mint and cilantro and continue to sauté until oil separates.
    • Add salt to taste
    • Add in the mushrooms and sauté until they are cooked. Then reduce the flame to low.
    • Add one cup of coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and 2 tbsp of sesame oil or ghee to the rice soaking in water and then set to cook until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
    • Gather all the mushroom and the masala mixture together and flatten it at he bottom of the pan.
    • Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to the boiling rice and mix it.
    • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
    • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
    • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
    • Deep fry the remaining sliced onion and sprinkle on the rice as garnish.
    • Serve with raitha or baingan masaledar.

    Egg Wraps



    My Mom always had a full house to run. A bedlam with four girls, a husband , dogs, cats, and at any given time, at least one member of the extended family seeking temporary free boarding while looking for a job or applying for schools in the city. There was never a quiet moment or a dull day and I can’t speak for her, but I loved the melée. Looking back though, now that I have my own house hold to run with just three of us, I wonder  how she managed it all. I work from home mostly, have a preschooler who goes to school, part time and a husband who can eat leftovers, manufacture date of which is beyond the dinosaur era. Yet, at the end of most days I see them cowering around the wife/mother whose exhaustion has transformed her into an ogre at sundown. On very bad days the husband and son, duck from objects hurling at them from out of nowhere and, on not so very bad days, they are ever ready to serve the monstrous brute with back rubs and massages while she bawls and sobs uncontrollably for God knows why!


    My Mother on the other hand, worked a full-time job as a high school physics teacher and traveled to work in a chaotic city using the unreliable Bangalore public transport. Yet, when she was back home, after all day having earnestly tried to drive scientific wisdom into ruffians and naughty rascals, she rolled up her sleeves and magically served a lavish warm dinner for the entire household. Of course, before taking off to work she made sure we were adequately stuffed with hearty stovetop breakfasts and our back packs swollen with heavy lunch boxes. Not to mention while juggling the cooking, cleaning, teaching and tending of beasts and humans (go ahead, roll your eyes) she managed to squeeze time for her vegetable garden, which, in no way was a small affair. With all the coconut, tapioca, drum stick, papaya and lemon trees, gourds, yams and the curry leaf plants she definitely did her farmer Dad, proud. So, it is only fair that I carry suspicions that, she either was a superwoman or she was pumping her self with steroids. PsstI think she sleeps with her cape under her pillow because I haven’t found it in her closet.

    In my saner moments, when I dissect how my mother managed this tall order of a working mother/wife/hostess, apart from her ability to just go-go-go, the huge kernel of truth that strikes me is that, she was a very smart woman who had her priorities right.  She ignored the dust behind the TV and instead prepared for her classes, avoided idle gossip with the neighbors and sought solace in her flourishing garden, helped a failing child with language while folding up the laundry and discovered lots of shortcuts and improvisations in the kitchen to serve fresh at every meal for the family in spite of her ever busy roster. No super human powers just plain – competent.

    This recipe is one of her many easy to make breakfast, that comes together in a matter of minutes but provides all the carbs and proteins you need to get you going for the day. The recipe makes a single serving. You can increase the servings by multiplying all the ingredients with the number of servings you want. The first recipe is an exact of my Mom’s, that uses curry leaves. The herb gives an unusual flavor and aroma to the wrap and I always like to have mine this way. The second wrap recipe is modified to my son, N’s American tastes. I’ve used cheese, mushrooms, baby dill and a flour tortilla instead of roti. The best part about this dish is you can mix/match/omit the ingredients based on an individual’s taste without too much work. Only now I realize why my mom made this so often as breakfast for her big league, where no doubt on any given day, had a minimum of five different orders for breakfast.

    Ingredients (for egg wrap with curry leaves)

    eggwrap32tbsp finely chopped onion
    1 egg
    1 tbsp of milk (optional, helps soften the egg while cooking) 
    1/2 tsp finely chopped green chilies (replace with ground black pepper if you don’t do chilies)
    1 medium sized roti (Indian wheat bread)
    2 finely chopped curry leaves
    *updated on 03-05-2010* 1/5 tsp of ginger garlic paste (if you read the comments below, this one is from my sister. Must say it makes a huuuuge difference)
    1-2 tsp refined oil/ghee
    salt to taste



  • Beat the egg and milk to a fluff.
  • Add salt,  onion, chilies and curry leaves.
  • Smear a hot non stick skillet with oil.
  • Pour in the egg mixture.
  • Top with a cooked roti.
  • Cook on medium heat for a minute or until egg is just set.
  • Turn over so the roti hits the floor of the skillet.
  • Roll up an let it cook for a minute or so.
  • Serve with chili or tomato sauce.

    Ingredients (egg wraps with cheese and veggies)
    eggwrap51 tbsp finely chopped onion
    1 egg
    1 tbsp of milk (optional, helps soften the egg while cooking)
    1/2 tsp finely chopped green chilies (replace with ground black pepper if you don’t do chilies)
    1 medium sized flour tortilla
    1-2 tsp refined oil/ghee
    2 tbsp chopped mushrooms (any veggie that goes well with eggs, like bell peppers, asparagus, tomatoes etc)
    1 tsp baby dill chopped fine
    1 Tbsp. grated cheddar cheese
    1 six inch whole wheat tortilla



  • Smear a hot non stick skillet with oil
  • Sauté onion ,mushrooms & green chilies
  • Beat the egg, salt and milk to a fluff.
  • When onion turns translucent pour egg mixture over the top.
  • Sprinkle cheese, baby dill and top with tortilla.
  • Cook on medium heat cook for a minute or until egg is just set 
  • Turn over so the roti hits the floor of the skillet
  • Roll up an let it cook for a minute or so.
  • Serve with chili or tomato sauce
  •  eggwrap7

    Spinach Mushroom Cheese Folds


    While shopping a day before Thanksgiving at the Asian market, I chanced upon these organically grown, beautiful looking, pearly white and earthy brown Beech Mushrooms or Buna Shimeji. I immediately picked a pack of each because I looove cooking with mushrooms. For me mushrooms are meek and cooperative in any dish. They hold on to their texture and flavour whether sautéed, stir fried or souped. With all the immune boosters and antioxidants mushrooms harbor, delicious eating couldn’t get more healthy.

    So, coming back to my beech mushrooms, I got them during Thanksgiving hoping to stir fry them for the teriyaki cooking I planned during the long weekend. But, like the many things that we plan during holidays the cooking never happened and these 2 packs sat un-noticed for a whole month. Then while rummaging through the fridge just before my Christmas party I noticed these  balls of  pearls sitting fresh and bright as ever. A whole of thirty days and not a bruise or a wrinkle. I at once decided to use them for my spinach folds instead of the baby bellas I normally use. I like to use mushrooms for my folds and puff fillings since they give good body and texture and don’t  feel gooey like the usual spinach and cheese fillings.

    I used bread to wrap the fillings as I had plenty of old bread. You could use puff pastry or pastry shells and instead of frying you could bake them in a pre-heated oven at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until the shells are golden brown.



    10 – 15 slices of buttermilk bread with edges trimmed off
    1/2 cup mascarpone cheese. (You could also use cream cheeses instead, just fluff it up with a little bit of milk)
    10 OZ frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
    2 OZ each of brown and white beech mushrooms ( you can use any mushroom of your choice. the earthy ones suit the recipe better)
    One medium sized onion finely chopped
    2 tsp finely chopped baby dill
    1/2 tsp pepper
    refined oil for frying
    salt to taste



  • Sauté the chopped onions in a tsp of oil  in a shallow pan  until golden brown
  • Add in the spinach, mushrooms, baby dill, salt and pepper and continue to sauté until the spinach is cooked.
  • Put of the flame and mix in the cheese.
  • soak each slice of bread very briefly in water and gently squeeze the water out. Place the filling at the center and fold the bread into half and seal the edges.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or two and  when they are set shallow fry them for a minute or two until they turn golden brown on both the sides.
  • Place the fried folds on a paper towel and gently pat dry the excess oil.
  • Serve with hot and sour chili sauce.