Friday, December 21, 2007


"I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town."
Alexandre Dumas, early 19th century

I don't think I can agree with Dumas anymore! Them mushrooms are growing on me by the day. Such a fascinating world too - apparently there are approximately 38,000 varieties of mushrooms (not all of them edible)! And their growth and proliferation is so odd - the fungus thrives in the dark, totally at odds with the whole "plants thrive in the sunlight" story.

Having grown up vegetarian, I had a really hard time getting used to the meaty, chewy texture of mushrooms. And they seemed to absorb flavors in really odd ways. Besides, I started off with the generic white mushrooms that I still have no interest in. But the rest of the mushroom world awaits exploration - oyster, chanterelle, enoki, shiitake, porcini, morels ... mmmm ... even portabello - if they're sliced and marinated :)

Fun tip when working with mushrooms:
A good way to keep most mushrooms clean and bright is to wipe them with a paper towel dipped in lemon juice.

The last delivery from Pioneer Organics had a batch of shiitake mushrooms that seemed to be craving some spice - or maybe I was just craving a spicy mushroom dish? I know I was definitely craving something quick and tasty, especially after all the fabulous flavors encountered in Mexico&Belize (vacation stories coming soon once I wade through the photos). :P

This time around, I used sumac instead of amchur for the tartness - it seemed to bring out the pungent flavors of the mushrooms more than amchur or even lemon juice - less overpowering, but still tangy.

Shiitake 'Shroom Sabji
I promise it'll make you happy!

Servings: 2

8-10 shiitake mushrooms - chopped
1 cup shelled peas
1 leek - thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic - crushed
3 tomatoes - chopped
1 T olive oil
1 t sumac powder
1 t cayenne powder
3 T feta cheese

Heat the oil in a wok and saute the leeks till you can smell them (can't miss it) :)
Add the peas and tomatoes and saute for 4-5 minutes.
Now throw in the chopped mushrooms along with spices and stir for another 8-10 minutes on low.
Season with salt.
Top with feta cheese before serving - this went really well with the middle eastern flatbread stocked at Trader Joe's - Yay! for their wheat goodness.


Happy cook said...

I love mushroom.
I use the a lot, make soups; for sauces, etc.............
Love you shroooommmmms dish

Asha said...

Beautiful photos Kay! Delicious! Happy new year!:)

Mishmash ! said...

Sounds interesting...should give it a try soon!

Namratha said...

I like mushrooms too, but my hubby dearest doesn't so I don't use them much. When I get a chance do :) this looks lovely Kay, esp the last pic is toooo good!

Kajal said...

Wow....great post with tips of mushrooms. Shroom Sabji looks delicious my dear.Thanks for visiting my blog and write lovely words.

Happy weekend :-)

bee said...

sumac instead of amchur? brilliant. i don't like amchur. it's got a funky flavour.

Sig said...

Great dish... And you went to Mexico & Belize... Wow, can't wait to hear the stories and see the pics... Happy Holidays to you and yours..

Anonymous said...

I bought a big bag of mushies this morning! Love your post. It is Xmas Eve here, and time for me to wish all of my blog friends a wonderful time with family and friends tomorrow. May it be a peaceful and blessed day where we can give a lot of joy to those around us. Have a great day.


Very nice recipe with mushrooms and beautiful pictures:)