Cooking with mushrooms was almost unheard of in the urban and semi-urban areas of Tamil Nadu. Therefore, there are not many mushroom recipes available. But in the last 30 years or so cultivated mushrooms have come into the market and now button mushrooms are available in all the supermarkets and high-end vegetable markets. Now that it has taken the fancy of housewives, even Tamil recipe books have at least one mushroom recipe. I have always been fascinated by the Coorg area, and when I came across Cuisine from Coorg by Ranee Vijaya Kuttaiah, I immediately looked for mushroom recipe in her collection, and there it was, the Koomu Curry. I have taken the liberty of making it less spicy (less hot) and also changed the method of frying the masala to make it more flavourful to compensate for the earthy taste of the mushrooms. I have also made it easier by using powders rather than grinding whole spices.
Mushrooms are low in carbohydrates and fats but are a good source of fibre. Their energy value is only 40 Calories per 100 g. They are also high in potassium and selenium. Therefore, they can be included in the diet of stroke patients. But caution should be exercised if there is a tendency towards reduced efficiency of the kidneys where high potassium is contraindicated. Mushrooms are also a very good source of the Vitamin B group (riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and Vitamin B12) and thus they ought to find a place in a strict vegetarian diet. Some communities do not consider mushroom a vegetable as it is not a true vegetable, but a fungus. Whatever it may be, it is definitely not an animal.
- 400 g Button Mushrooms
- 1 large Onion, sliced
- 4 Green Chillies
- 2 sprigs Curry Leaves
- 1 large Tomato, chopped
- ⅓ C Coriander leaves, chopped
- ½ tsp Lime juice
- 3 T Vegetable Oil
- 1 ½ tsp salt, or to taste
For the Masala
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder
- ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Pepper powder
- ½ tsp Cumin powder
- 6 cloves Garlic
- ½ C fresh Coconut scrapings
- Grind/pulse all the masala ingredients together.
- Wash the mushrooms thoroughly. Cut the end of each stock and halve the mushrooms.
- Heat the oil in a non-stick pan ,wok or kadai. Add the onions and green chillies and fry till the onions become translucent.
- Add the ground masala, blend and fry. Add the tomatoes and continue frying till the oil separates from the masala.
- Add the mushrooms and the salt and cook on low heat with the pan covered. The mushrooms will give off water; therefore, it is unnecessary to add water.
- When the mushrooms are cooked, add the coriander leaves, curry leaves and the juice from the lime, mix well and remove from heat.
- Since charcoal is used in the cultivation of white button mushrooms available here, the mushrooms always have charcoal grit embedded in their flesh. Soak the mushroom in water for about 5 minutes to loosen the grit and carefully remove it.
- If you do not want the dish to be very hot, remove the green chillies once the curry is removed from heat or else the hot chilli flavour will continue to seep into the food.