Friday, August 18, 2006

Roasted Mushrooms

I have a taste for rare and unusual vegetables/fruits/flowers cooked in even more unusual ways.. For instance.. Mushrooms, soya flakes, Bamboo shoots, Plantain flowers and shoot, Pumpkin flower bhajiya, barbecued bananas. Well...thats a partial list.

My cooking style is contemporary and experimental, not taking more than ten minutes to cook. I am hoping to graduate to more complex ways of cooking courtesy Varsha.

Mushroom Musings

People have varied ideas and attitudes towards this marvelous fungus. Few people have a misconception that it is non-veg, few others feel its not safe to have it. Thanks to companies like Mafco and Weikfield, we now have the privilege of having fresh button mushrooms in most part of Mumbai.

I have eaten different recipes of mushrooms, most of them doused with pungent spices that dominate and totally veil the authentic mild taste of Mushroom. I was once watching Sanjeev Kapoor when he was showing the way to saute mushroom while making a pasta salad. Inspired by that i decided to take a try and discovered the best way to enjoy mushroom with its taste absolutely preserved. The method i am going to discuss will give you ample flexibility to enjoy the mushrooms.

Finally... the recipe

Main Ingredients: 200 Grams fresh button mushrooms and salt to taste.

Optional Garnishing:
Cheese, butter, Chilli Garlic Sauce, oregano, black pepper powder.

Chop the mushrooms longitudinally at the most about 4 pieces a mushroom. Please note that the mushroom pieces will shrink upto 50% of their size once roasted.
Heat a shallowpan ..absolutely dry! you got me right! Absolutely dry... no ghee .. no oil butter. For best results use a non-stick pan.
Toss the mushrooms occassionally to ensure that the pieces are evenly heated. You will soon see mild fumes coming out of the pieces.

Here comes the magic moment.. Just when you wonder if you need any oil or liquid medium... Ad salt pinch by pinch over all the pieces of the mushrooms over the pan.. Guess what!! the Mushrooms release water immediately and the aroma that comes will make you wonder whether its just mushrooms thats on the pan!! Thats the true aroma of mushroom which you wouldnt otherwise get if you add too many spices. Mix the mushroom evenly on reduced flame and let the excess water evaporate.

The mushrooms have just been graduated to basic roasted mushrooms. Beyond graduation, you may choose to add specialization to it as per any of the ideas below.. or any inventive ideas of your own!

a) Chilli Garlic Sauce... Well if you are ready to compromise the taste of mushroom, a little bit, then you can add chilli garlic sauce to the mushrooms.

b) Cheese and pepper... just when the mushrooms with the salt are on low flame, spread it evenly on the pan. Grate a cube of cheese using the finest grater you would have in your kitchen, straight over the mushrooms and switch off the flame. When the cheese melts and settles on the surface of the mushrooms, sprinkle pepper or oregano seasonings (i usually poach it from pizza hut or dominos)

c) Use it as a filling: The mushrooms prepared like this can be used as basic ingredient for sandwiches, toasts (i like the open varieties), Pizzas, rolls, Salads..etc..etc.

Ahh that was my first attempt at writing a recipe which i have actually tried :-)

So never do the mistake of boiling or frying mushrooms anytime!! enjoy 'em roasted!

New Entry :-)

A Big hello to viewers of Varan Bhaat. I have been recently recruited by Varsha as a partner in this lovely blog. Nah! i am not a chef like Sanjay Kapoor or anywhere close to mastering the fine art of cooking. But what draws me to write here is my undying love for good food, and appreciation of sense of humor of those who say "we eat to live" :-) (you can't be serious to say that :-))

Being a foodie, I have also had my share of culinary experiments, not so big, with varied outcomes - none of them fatal so far. Hope i have not scared you out of your socks. i will love to see amateurs like me try out surprises the way i have done and enjoy the looks on peoples faces before and after eating the meal! So have faith in me because all the recipes that will be highly scarce as compared to Varsha's (she is a great cook!), will be easy to make and good to eat :-)

Fasten your seat Belts! and get your fork and knife!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Boondi Raita

There are two methods by which I like to make this simple yet tasty dish.

Method 1
1 cup dahi/ unflavoured yoghurt
Salted Boondi-- just enough for the dahi. Too much boondi will turn the raita to a boondi paste and too little will be no fun. Use your judgement.
1 green chilly finely chopped
Corriander/ Parsley for garnishing-- finely chopped
Salt-- remember the boondi too is salted, so use less than usual salt
Pinch each of dhania/ corriander seed powder and jeera/cumin seed powder

Beat the dahi well. Add chillies, powders, salt and mix well. Add boondi 5-10 minutes before serving so that they don't become too soggy nor do they remain too crunchy. Add corriander. Serve.

Method 2
1 cup dahi
1/2 tsp each of-- Red chilly powder, jeera powder, dhania powder, rock salt/chaat masala/jaljeera
Salt to taste

Mix all powders and salt with beaten curds. Add boondi before serving.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Varan Bhaat

My favorite.....

Your usual rice.....basmati rice tastes better than the others with varan... and if I have it with the usual kolam rice, I prefer the rice to be cooked soft so that it mixes well with the varan.

Here comes the star....

Cook 1 cup toovar/tur/arhar dal/Split Red gram in the cooker with little water. Mash well once cooked.
Transfer into a stove top vessel and add
a pinch of Hing/asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2 to 1 tsp Jaggery grated

Bring to a boil. Remove from the flame and add ghee and lemon juice, and serve piping hot with rice and mango/lemon/chilly pickle/ lasun chutney/ gawar mirchi.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gawar Mirchi

Gawar/Guar/Cluster beans and Chilly--This is an original recipe from my grandma (or so I believe). It lies in the spectrum between being a pickle and a vegetable preparation. Meaning that you serve it in a small amount as a pickle but its shelf life is just 7-10 days in the refrigerator.
More information on gawar.

For Gawar Mirchi you need tender pods of gawar. The tender pods are dark geen, thin, shorter than the more mature pods, soft and do not break with snap. We prepare gawar mirchi when we buy gawar to make the bhaji.

Tender gawar pods broken into 0.5 inch pieces- 1 small wati/cup or roughly a handful
Green chillies chopped into 0.5 inch pieces- 2 to 3 chillies
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric/Haldi- 1/2 tsp
Salt- as per taste
juice of 1/2 a lemon
cooking oil- 2 tbsp

Heat oil in a kadai/wok. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add hing. Then add gawar and mirchi. Doesn't take much time to cook. After a minute or 2 add turmeric powder and salt. Remover from the flame once gawar is cooked. When it cools down, add lemon juice. Transfer to a glass or plastic container and store in the refrigerator. Stays good upto 10 days but will get over long before that :)

My personal name for this dish is "phataka".....coz its hot and yummy....and a hit!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A little more introduction

Here's more about my food blog.

After going through the long list of food bloggers, I decided to try my hand here too. But I don't have a fancy camera or superb skills to take fotos of my preparations. My blog will be more of a quick fix recipe index. Being the daughter of a busy career woman cum excellent cook, thats the only kind of cooking I know.

About Varan Bhaat... for the uninitiated, it is the traditional maharashtrian way of eating dal chawal. Simplest food to make and probably the first thing each maharashtrian girl learns to cook. That will also be my first recipe...varan bhaat.

So here I end the intros.....


Sunday, August 06, 2006

First Post

This is my new food blog. Inspired by Shilpa I decided to take this plunge :)

Here I intend to post tried and tested recipes. I am not a full fledged great cook but nevertheless I try...

Also will be posting reviews for food places I like and my culinary misadventure....

Wish me Luck