- Fungi are ‘border-case’ organisms – plants, but unlike plants they do not photosynthesize. (First thought – non-veg?!)
- Fungi are generally found growing on dead, decaying organic matter. (why do they not mention that some are cultivated?)
- Molds and lichens were focused on so much that fungus automatically pointed to ‘fungal infection’!
- The poor mushroom got introduced as a poisonous organism that feeds like a parasite and grows anywhere. To top everything it is addressed in most languages by non-endearing terms such as toad stool, kukurmutt(Hindi) and naikodai (Tamil) [that which grows where a dog has relieved itself!!], putting off every possible chance of falling in love with this delicious vegetable.
- Fairy tales we read as little children referred to mushrooms as a place coveted by ugly, evil toads (Bufo can be very cute and grumpy too). We did have cute little red capped mushroom dotted with white on which fairies sat and Big Ears dwelled. Doesn’t that make it yummy? Well, it turns out that the white polka dotted one is amongst the poisonous variety but at least they feel good, don’t they?
- Deesha – the Happy Cook gave another explanation which is something that I have heard from many. In most dishes mushrooms are overcooked and resemble non-vegetarian food!
White button mushrooms (fresh, not canned) – 2 packets (about 30)
Onion (chopped fine) – 1/2 cup
Green chillies (minced) – 1
Ginger juice (grate and squeeze) – 1/2 tsp.
Garlic (optional) – 1 clove, grated
Rosemary(fresh) – 1/2 tsp. (I use dried/fresh oregano, rosemary, basil or mint chopped fine)
Salt and chilli powder to taste
Fresh bread crumbs – About 1/2 cup
Cashew cream (soaked and ground cashew) – 2 tsp.
Oil – 1 tsp.
Clean the mushrooms thoroughly and destem them carefully retaining the caps.
Chop the stems very fine. Slit the stem into half vertically. Slit each half into three pieces and then place them together and chop into little bits.
Have your green chillies and ginger juice ready. I am not very fond of garlic but sometimes I grate a pod of garlic too. Heat oil, add the onions, minced chillies, ginger juice, garlic and a little salt. Saute a minute or so and chopped mushroom stems. Saute till the mushrooms sweat out all the water and the mixture is dry, add the herb and mix. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile dip a finger in oil/melted butter and baste the caps on the outside. Using your finger ensures that there is hardly any oil. You may omit this altogether to have it completely fat free.
Fill a little of the stuffing into each cap, and top with a drop of the cashew cream. Spread it and seal the hollow and top with some bread crumbs.
Pre-heat oven on grill mode for 10 minutes in the highest temperature. Grill the mushrooms till the crumbs turn a light brown, or the cheese melts, and the mushrooms start developing streaks of brown. The first batch takes about 5-10minutes, and the others will be done much faster.
You do not require anything to serve them with if you are a die-hard shroom fan like me but you could have them with vegan tandoori marinade or green mint chutney.
Earlier I used to add grated cheese for my family in place of the cashew cream, but they told me that the cheese makes no difference, and that the cashew cream tastes the same!
P and I had these to go with some wine, and they pair very well!
If you would like to serve these as starters at a get-together, you could do the stuffing an hour before you need them. Grill them just as your guests arrive, and they will be ready in no time at all.
Pair with a soup for a light dinner.
Realizing that these are tapas which essentially mean starters and seeing that the June theme of WTISIM has been extended upto the end of July.