There are some days you just don’t feel like preparing an elaborate meal. Or you get bored by the usual stuff. What? No?! It’s just me, then? I.do.not.believe.that.
I was running errands one day, reached home by noon and just could not bring myself to cook the usual stuff. At our house, it is mostly rice, some curry like dal, vegetables and maybe fish. Or maybe chapatis and curry. That day, I wanted to cook something with mushrooms, because I’d just bought them. And everybody knows that the most important rule with mushrooms is to use them up as quickly as possible, while they are super fresh. Unless you bought the dried ones. Who buys those anyway?!
I wanted something quick, spicy and of course, different. So like any self-respecting Indian who grew up in the 90s, I craved Chinese. That is the decade when Indo-Chinese fusion food peaked in popularity and every restaurant/roadside eatery/mom served them. So I made chilli mushroom or mushroom chilli or whatever one may call it.
I battered and fried the mushrooms first. You can skip this step if you wish, though it would alter the texture and flavor of the dish. The final flourish is typically provided by a generous sprinkle of freshly chopped spring onions on top. But I used cilantro, as that is what I had on hand.
The lunch (and subsequently hubby’s dinner) ended up being a truly multi-cultural experience. I did not want rice, I did not feel like making chapatis and I had a pack of soft flour tortillas in the fridge. You know where I am going with this, don’t you?!
Yep, I wrapped the chilli mushroom in the tacos. I was feeling fancy, so I added a squirt of lemon juice and a dash of ranch dressing too. Just to freshen things up a bit. Ranch is quite an unconventional choice for tacos, I understand. Sour cream would be more appropriate. But remember I told you I was feeling
CHILLI MUSHROOM OR MUSHROOM CHILLI (DRY)
You will need:
- Button mushrooms – 12-15 large ones
- Egg – 1 (optional)
- All purpose flour – 3 tbsp
- Rice flour – 1 tbsp
- Baking soda – a pinch
- Salt 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – for frying (around 3-4 tbsp)
For the chilli mushroom sauce
- Whole dried red chilies – 3-4
- Onion – 1, roughly chopped
- Ginger – 1 tbsp, chopped
- Garlic – 1 tbsp, chopped
- Green chilies – 2-3, cut in rounds
- Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp
- Tomato ketchup – 3 tbsp
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Cilantro leaves or spring onions – to garnish
- Wash the mushrooms and pat dry with a paper towel. Chop the mushrooms into halves or quarters.
- Mix the other ingredients for frying (except oil) in a bowl. Add water as needed to make it into a batter.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Dip the mushrooms into the batter and fry till light golden. Keep them aside while you make the sauce.
- In the same pan (there should be 1-2 tbsp oil left in it), add the red chilies, onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Saute till the onions turn translucent.
- Add the soy sauce and tomato ketchup. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. The soy sauce and ketchup will be really salty, so be very careful. (If you’d rather not use ketchup, use 2 tbsp of tomato paste and 1 tbsp of vinegar. Just cook the tomato paste for a few minutes). At this stage, if you decide to make chilli mushroom with more sauce/gravy, add the leftover batter (from frying the mushrooms) and some water. Bring to a boil and cook till you get a nice, thick gravy.
- Add the fried mushrooms and mix gently till evenly coated in the sauce.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves or chopped green onions. Serve hot with fried rice, chapatis, hakka noodles or even tacos.
- Follow the same procedure with cauliflower florets, soft Indian cottage cheese (paneer), strips of chicken, beef or even fish.
So, there you have it. A truly different meal experience!
What do you think?
Tell me, do you put elements from different cuisines together in a meal? Like a Chinese inspired vegetarian or meat dish and Mexican tacos? Do let me know in the comments.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn