Monday, December 14, 2009

Mushroom Bhaji (Mushrooms in Tomato-Onion Sauce): The Album

PRE-POST NOTE #1: Today on Serious Eats, it’s a holiday gift guide for Healthy Eaters. From nonstick skillets to Zombie t-shirts about the Slow Food movement, the list is sure to satisfy every nutritionally concerned cook you know and love.

PRE-POST NOTE #2: This Wednesday! I’m liveblogging (or running diarying or whatever you want to call it) Food Network for an entire broadcast day. It’ll begin at 9:30am and end when the first infomercial airs 19 hours later. It’d be sweet to read your comments as the day goes on, so tune in! But first, today’s post…


If I released an album about Mushroom Bhaji, it would have the following tracks on it:

"Be My Bhaji"
"Bhajicuda"
"Me and Bhaji McGee"
"Bhajombs Over Baghdad"
"Message in a Bhajottle"
"Bhajemian Rhapsody"
"Knowing You, Knowing Bhaji"
"Bhajilly, Don’t Lose That Number"
"The Bhajattle of Who Could Care Less" (or "The Bhajittle of Evermore," depending on whether you prefer Ben Folds or Led Zeppelin)
and
"The Mushroom Dance"

Of course, songs would be sung by The Bhajeatles, David Bhajowie, and Bhajob Dylan. We would listen to it in Bhajoca Raton and eat bhajananas, but only after seeing our favorite movie, The Curious Case of Bhajimin Bhutton.

All this is a roundabout way of saying that I really liked Mushroom Bhaji. It doesn’t rip your head off with in-your-face flavor, and it’s not a 100% authentic Indian recipe. But it is warm, hearty, cheap, vegetarian, and stupidly easy to make. You can even forget to add the salt ‘til last (*cough cough*), and everything still ends up okay. (Don’t cry, tall, pale, food blogging lady who did that. It’s going to be all right.)

While the taste is earthy and lovely, the real winner here is the texture. You know how button mushrooms usually shrink to an eighth of their size, and lose all semblance of bite in the process? Not these, which remain meaty the whole way through. Their heartiness lends heft to a dish that might have otherwise seemed insubstantial.

Of course, if you should try Mushroom Bhaji yourself, know the following:

1) Don’t fear the jalapeno. I reduced mine, thinking it would be too spicy. In retrospect, I should have used it all, since it mellows in the stewing process.

2) Don’t throw out the mushroom stems! You can chop ‘em up and save them for omelets, where nobody knows the difference.

3) For even better savings, wait until mushrooms go on sale. I bet you can get this recipe under a dollar per serving.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to drive my Bhajentley around Bhajooklyn. Maybe take out a bhajook from the librarbhaj … okay, that one doesn’t work.

~~~

If you like this recipe, you might also dig:
~~~

Mushroom Bhaji
Serves 2
Adapted from The Perfect Pantry via Serious Eats.


14 ounces white button mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon minced green onions or chives
Cooked white rice

1) Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high. Saute onion and jalapeno for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they being to soften. Add garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, coriander, chile powder, and stir thoroughly. Cook for 1 more minute.

2) Add mushrooms, tomato paste, salt, and water. Stir thoroughly and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring after 5. There should be a stew/sauce formed, and mushrooms should be plump and just tender. If not, take lid off and cook another few minutes.

3) Serve over rice. Sprinkle with scallions.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
136 calories, 7.5 g fat, 3.1 g fiber, $1.60
With one cup of cooked white rice: 341 calories, 8 g fat, 3.7 g fiber, $1.72

Calculations
14 ounces white button mushrooms, stemmed: 62 calories, 0.9 g fat, 2.8 g fiber, $2.49
1 tablespoon olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.11
1 medium onion: 46 calories, 0.1 g fat, 1.5 g fiber, $0.20
1 jalapeno pepper: 18 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g fiber, $0.06
2 teaspoons minced garlic: 8 calories, 0 g fat, 0.1 g fiber, $0.09
1 teaspoon ground cumin: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.02
1 teaspoon ground coriander: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.05
1/2 teaspoon chili powder: 4 calories, 0.2 g fat, 0.4 g fiber, $0.03
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $0.01
1 tablespoon tomato paste: 13 calories, 0.1 g fat, 0.7 g fiber, $0.07
3 tablespoons water: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.00
1 tablespoon minced green onions or chives: 2 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g fiber, $0.07
TOTAL: 272 calories, 15 g fat, 6.2 g fiber, $3.20
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 136 calories, 7.5 g fat, 3.1 g fiber, $1.60

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6 comments:

brannyboilsover said...

This looks fantastic!

Nicole M., MS, RD, LD said...

Wow, that dish looks out of this world! Thank you for posting!

Kalyn said...

I thought this looked great when Lydia first posted it, looked great when Nick made it, and your version also looks great! I think it's a winner!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm so glad you liked this recipe. It was a bit of a sleeper; I was surprised at how well it turned out when I first made it. Now it's a regular part of my repertoire.

Patti said...

I tried this tonight (after keeping it around in my recipe binder for plenty of months :D) and it was delicious! The sauce was decent, but the texture of the mushrooms was what really made it stand out. So thick and tender and resilient. Loved it, and I'll be keeping it around for mushrooms-on-closeout days.

Anonymous said...

Loved it! I didn't have any jalapeno so I substituted some red bell pepper then added a little cayenne to make up for the lack of heat.