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


  • 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


  • 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).


Harshad said…
This vegetarian, with hand on his tummy, states that this was indeed one of the finest, tastiest salads he has had! :) Dhanyawaad Bondhu!
Anonymous said…
Indeed a very quick and easy recipe! Since my husband is too fond of mushrooms (though he is strictly non-vegetarian), I'm thinking of trying this sometime. :-)
i had a hearty laugh at you trying to be nice to the vegetarian people...
Scarlett said…
Pls ask him how he lost 35 kgs!!!!!

Like you, I too am OK with vegetarians as long as they live & let live.
Sharmila said…
Story of my life ... constantly juggling between pure veggies and pure non veggies ... in both food and feelings and sentiments. Being nicey nice to rude veggies makes me want to "aaaarrrrgggghhhh" sometimes. :-)
Sharmila said…
Dish tar kothai likhte bhule gelam ... looks wonderful and sounds easy ... just the kind of stir fries I love. :-)
oh gosh. this vegetarian has amazing will power. and i should know. i've seen him not quite so slim, and not quite so determined!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Harshad, that's it. I am taking Marathi lessons from you :)

Arundhati, all the best, from what i gather. the non vegetarians liked it too. Healthy stuff

Somoo, a rare moment

Scarlett, Sharmila... I hate rude vegetarian fascists.

Sharmila let me know how it goes

Scarlett, he lost it thru dieting and exercise and from what I understand is quite willing to share his secrets

AGG, mystery woman :), yes he is quite disciplined and doesn't sin
Miri said…
This seems like a great recipe - especially the basil!
Kalyan Karmakar said…
Thanks Miri. I love the fresh and light touch with Basil gets to a dish