Friday, November 13, 2009

Spicy Portabella Mushroom & Fenugreek Leaves (Serves 4)

I had a handful of portabella mushrooms in stock. What I like about portabella mushrooms apart from their unique taste is the relatively harder texture compared to the other kinds of mushrooms. They also absorb the spices and oil flavor well.

One of my favorite dishes is portabella mushroom and broccoli rabe cooked in really good extra virgin olive oil and garlic. But I wanted to try something different with the mushrooms this time around, and was a little stumped looking inside the refrigerator for a while trying to find something out of the ordinary that would complement them. I finally ended up with a large bunch of fresh store bought fenugreek leaves, and with a little help from Mr. cayenne pepper, we have a knockout dish people! :-)

4 Portabella Mushrooms (1 lb)

1 whole bunch of fresh fenugreek leaves (sold at the Indian or specialty grocery stores)

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder

3 tbsp olive oil

salt to taste

Wash the mushrooms and fenugreek leaves well. Cut the mushrooms into 1/2 inch pieces. You can even cut them lengthwise into thin long strips. Strip the fenugreek leaves off their stems, cut them fine and set aside.

In a wok or something similar, add 3 tbsp of olive oil, coriander and cumin powder, and fenugreek leaves. Sauté for a couple of minutes and then add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms as well for a few minutes.

At this point when the frying pan is hot, start adding the cayenne pepper powder to the dry sides of the wok, above where the food is actually cooking. As soon as you put the pepper there, due to the heat of the wok, it will start smoking and will release fumes. Immediately mix the powder from the side of the wok with the vegetables. Do this a few times until all the 1 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper powder has been used up.

This semi burning process with the cayenne pepper powder that I just experimented on a whim imparted a smoky hot and spicy taste, and added great flavor to the vegetables. Hope you enjoy it. Serve with chapatti/tortilla or mix it with plain rice for flavorful 'fried rice'.

I did want to mention that I found cayenne pepper rather different than the usual Indian red chilis, in that the heat from the pepper hits your tongue initially like a blast and then quickly subsides down unlike the red chilis where your mouth burns, eyes start watering and you are running around for some cold water.

Health Rating: High

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