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Tag Archives: indian vegetarian

Achari Mushrooms (White Button Mushrooms sautéed with aromatics and Achari spice blend)

Now, there are tons of recipes floating on the cyber culinary world with the pre-fix ‘achari’. For those who aren’t aware, achari or achar refers to pickle in Hindi. The Indian pickles, unlike the Western counterparts, are an indulgence of spices and these very spices are used to flavour other dishes too, which have ended up being labeled ‘achari’.

You might have read the ‘achari okra’ recipe that I had posted on the blog a while ago. In that dish, I used a spoonful of the pickle itself to add flavour to the okras. But in today’s dish, achari mushrooms, I made the achari spice blend and this was used to add flavour to the white button mushrooms.

The achari spice blend is a flavourful and fragrant medley of mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, carrom, dry chillies, dry mango and nigella (the seeds, not the diva!)

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It is an extremely versatile blend that can be used for flavouring barbecues, meat skewers etc…apart from of course, Indian dishes. Do take the effort to make the spice blend from scratch, it’s not a difficult one and you can store the extra in an airtight container for a few weeks.

I used mushrooms only because I found some great ones at the market but you can use just about any vegetable or meat for this one. I have tried it with chicken and the result was delicious.

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Achari mushrooms would make a great starter. The fragrant and delicious spice blend flirts with the onions, aromatics and tomatoes to coat the mushrooms lovingly in a flavourful thick sauce. A squirt of lemon, the freshness of chopped coriander and a pinch of dry fenugreek leaves, all add to the delicious drama unfolding….

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Adapted from a similar dish by Meera Jayaram.

Ingredients:

Achari spice blend:

1. 2 tbsp mustard seeds
2. 2 tbsp cumin seeds
3. 2 tbsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
4. 2 tbsp fennel seeds
5. 2 tsp fenugreek seeds
6. 1 tsp carrom seeds (ajwain)
7. 75 gms dry red chilli
8. 2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)

For the dish:

9. 500gms white button mushrooms; washed, dried and halved
10. 3 tbsp mustard oil
11. 1 red onion, chopped finely
12. 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely
13. 1 inch ginger, chopped finely
14. 1 large red tomato, blanched and pureed
15. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
16. 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
17. 1 tsp achari spice blend
18. ¼ tsp dry fenugreek leaves
19. Salt, to season
20. juice of ½ lemon
21. ½ cup chopped coriander leaves

Method:

• Dry roast all the spices except the red chillies and dry mango powder. Keep aside to cool. Roast the chillies separately taking care not to burn it. Cool and grind all the spices together. Mix in the dry mango powder and you have the achari spice blend.
• In a pan, heat oil and sauté the chopped onions. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
• Meanwhile blanch and puree one tomato.
• To the onions, add turmeric, Kashmiri chilli and achari spice blend. Saute on low flame for a minute and add the tomato puree. Continue to cook on low flame till the puree thickens and the gravy comes together.
• Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes on high heat; season with salt. The mushrooms release a bit of water which helps to bring the dish together. Taste at this stage and adjust seasoning accordingly. Do not cook the mushrooms for too long; it should still have a bit to it when finished.
• Take off flame and add the fenugreek leaves, lemon and coriander leaves.
• Serve hot.

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Why I write ….. And a recipe for Bengali Sweet and Sour Dal

‘Why I write’ is a blog hop event that was created to build blogger camaraderie and also enable you to bring out your creative best. I was invited to this event by the very enterprising Nova Morgan of Locavore Intentions. Now if you are intrigued by the term ‘locavore’, do stop by at her page; I am leaving it to the expert!

Why do I write?

I write, because it is the best way to express myself. I might seem to be socially outgoing but I am quite a ‘private person’ with my thoughts. Writing helps me to bring out the deepest thoughts instead of letting it build up inside. It makes me a happier and more positive person because I know how unsaid thoughts often take a negative tangent and before long, it gets out of control leading to depression, anxiety and a host of other problems.

I write, because I am a creative person. I am creative in all aspects of my life, be it writing, food, home décor or even raising my child. A dash of colour, a pinch of spice, a splattering of words….it keeps me happy and content.

What am I working on?

I am working on drawing inspiration from all things around me and then reflect it on my cooking. I want to better myself at photography, learn new cooking techniques, come up with new spice blends and cook with new ingredients.

How does my writing differ from others?

I believe my biggest quality to be ‘honesty and genuineness’ and for this very reason, my writing would be different from others. I believe that I am unique and a part of God’s plan just like every other soul on earth and no two people can write the same.

How does my writing process work?

I do not have a set process in place. I write at all times of the day, anywhere and everywhere. When the mood is right, I am either in front of the comp or with a pen and paper in hand jotting down my thoughts.

Blog Hopping….

And now it’s time to pass on the baton and I have two very capable hands;

The Adam and Eve of cooking aka Jofy and Satish Abraham of Foodie Adam and Cookie Eve.

This beautiful couple celebrates food, writing and photography and hence the perfect duo to pass on this baton.

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A mum, freelance writer and blogger, Amrita Mukherjee of Amrita Speaks was a journalist and has a rich writing experience. She is just the perfect person for this blog hop event.

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Today’s dish: Bengali Sweet and Sour Dal (Sweet and Sour Bengal Gram/Lentil Stew)

And after that long read, we are finally here for today’s dish.

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This dal preparation is adapted from the famous vegetarian cookbook, India-the Vegetarian Table by Yamuna Devi. Split Bengal gram is the lentil used for this preparation which is sweet, sour and mildly spiced.

The aroma that wafts from the spices and aromatics is heavenly; a dash of brown sugar sweetens the lentils and the addition of yoghurt makes it sour and tangy. And the addition of coconut lifts the flavours of this lentil stew making it a rich, hearty and comforting dish.

Have it as a soup or with a bowl of steamed white rice (and now a beautiful Bengali babe tells me that they usually have this with puri or laccha parathas), this dal preparation is one to be enjoyed and cherished.

 

Ingredients:

1. Split chana dal/Bengal gram – 2 cups
2. Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
3. Ground ginger – ¼ tsp
4. Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
5. Ghee – 2 tbsp
6. Brown mustard seeds – ½ tbsp
7. Cumin seeds/jeera – 1 tsp
8. Hing/asafoetida – ¼ tsp
9. Brown sugar – 3 tbsp
10. Fresh grated coconut – 3 tbsp
11. Zest and juice of 1 medium-sized lemon
12. Salt, to season
13. ¼ cup yoghurt
14. Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves – ½ cup, finely chopped

Method:

1. Wash and soak the lentils for at least 2 hours. Cook with turmeric powder, ground ginger, red chilli powder, 1 tsp ghee and salt till soft and mushy.
2. Heat ghee in a small pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. As it beings to splutter, reduce heat and add sugar and asafoetida. Stir for 15 seconds and add to the mashed dal.
3. Place the dal on medium heat and add coconut, zest and juice of 1 lemon and season with salt if necessary. Bring to boil and then simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Taste to see if you have got the right balance of spice, sweet and sour or adjust seasonings accordingly.
4. Remove from heat and garnish with yoghurt and coriander leaves.
5. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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If you are a few extra seconds to spare, do hop over to my Facebook page and show a bit of ‘like’ love.

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