We don't Finely Chop vegetarians... Funghi Fellini (stir fried mushrooms)



Being a Bengali, married to a Parsi, and a Bourdain fan, it's no surprise that I am a card carrying non vegetarian.

I don't have anything against vegetarians. Though the ones which tend to pontificate and bully others into going to restaurants of their own choice or not allow others to order non vegetarian food take my goat.

Last Sunday we had a kosha manghso (slow cooked mutton) party for a group of Bengalis. We had one non Bengali vegetarian amongst us. But he's all right. He used to be a non vegetarian once. More importantly his Mom sends us lip smacking Maharashtrian crab and prawn masala. And he designs wonderful templates for my presentations.

I was going to lift the phone and dial for idlis for him. When better sense prevailed. Rustled up an embarrassingly easy vegetarian dish for him. This seemed to kindle a dormant love for food in him. He had lost 35 kilos recently and had not gone to the police about it. He stays away from the sins of the belly. It was a pleasure to see him dig into this dish with gusto. He claims that he had three servings. Though I am bit sceptical given that he ran out to have some frozen yogurt after we were done.

The most vital ingredient for this dish is to have someone else, in my case Banu, to chop everything. The rest is really easy. Ironically I made this vegetarian on one pan and a bheja (goat's brain) masala on another at the same time. And yes, I kept my ladles separate.

So here's the recipe for my Italian inspired stir fried mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, 1 yellow bell pepper, 3,4 bland/ non spicy green peppers, 500 g button mushrooms, 1 tomato, 1 bunch of basil leaves - all finely chopped
  • Slivers of fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar/ lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon oregano powder, ditto chilly flakes, ditto crushed black pepper: spices

Process

  • Heat the olive oil in a pan
  • Put the mushrooms in the pan
  • Let the mushrooms cook till the water comes out and then dries
  • Add the fresh ginger and tomatoes, stir
  • Throw in the bell peppers, stir
  • Once a bit soft, add the spices + the lime/ vinegar + salt, stir
  • Add the basil leaves, switch of the flame, cover with a lid and let the dish stew in its juices
  • Finito
The basil gave it a sharp, cooling bite, the chilly flakes spiced it up for Indian palates while the mushrooms left one with a peaceful, easy feeling as only mushrooms can.

Incidentally all the non vegetarians dipped into the dish and one had to really protect our out numbered veggie friend (in the blue shirt).

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