Madhur Jaffrey’s newest cookbook, Vegetarian Indian: A Journey Through the Best of Indian Home Cooking is a guide for regional cooking throughout her home country.
Madhur discovered this recipe for broiled mushrooms during a visit to Coorg in the southwestern part of India. During the four-month rainy season there, locals sustain themselves by foraging for ingredients in nearby forests.
“It is an age-old tradition followed by the rich and poor alike,” she writes. “It is at this time of year that delicacies such as wild mushrooms, young bamboo shoots, unfurled colocasia leaves and ferns suddenly become available.”
During her stay in Coorg, Madhur witnessed wild mushrooms the size of dinner plates being cooked over a wood fire and garnished with crushed chilies, lime juice and salt.
Here she has adapted the recipe to use portobello mushrooms, which are easily accessible in the States.
Broiled Portobello Mushrooms in the Kodaga Style (Chutta Kumme)
Yield: Serves 4
4 (12–13 oz each) portobello mushrooms with large caps, about 5–6” in diameter (use smaller mushrooms if large ones are not available)
2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
4 tsp lime juice, or to taste
¾ tsp salt, or to taste
2 fresh hot green chilies, pounded to a paste in a mortar
or 1–2 generous pinches of nice red chili powder (such as Kashmiri)
To Prepare: Preheat the broiler until very hot, making sure the shelf is 4–5” away from the heat source.
Break off and discard the mushroom stems. Wipe the caps with a damp paper towel and leave to dry for 5 minutes. Put the caps, gill side up, on a baking sheet. Brush all the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Place the mushrooms under the broiler for about a minute or until well-singed. Turn the caps over. Brush with the remaining tablespoon of oil and broil for another minute.
To serve: Transfer the mushrooms to a large plate, placing them gill-side up again. Sprinkle with half the salt, half the lime juice and half the chili paste or powder. Spread gently with your fingers. Turn the mushrooms over and sprinkle the remaining seasonings over the tops in exactly the same way. Serve hot or at room temperature.
From Kaveri Ponnapa
Excerpted from VEGETARIAN INDIA by Madhur Jaffrey. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.