Food Talk

Mushroom steaks, desi way

Mushroom steaks, desi way

Photo for representational purpose only. File photo

Pushpesh Pant

This is a dish we fell in love with when our friend Nishant Chaubey, who loves portobello mushrooms, cooked it for us. He has, in the past, cooked a very tempting portobello pulav and khichdi that have vowed guests at the Indus (Bangkok), a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant. Now he has introduced this dish in his strictly vegetarian family restaurant Street Storyss in Bengaluru. The mushroom steak is served with avocado, enhanced chimichurri (an uncooked sauce prepared with assorted herbs, chillis, pepper, and, at times, with avocado), but we think this is carrying things too far. After all, this is an Indian take on a Latin American dish, and while in Argentina and Uruguay, the steak is served with chimichurri enriched with avocado to add body and fibre to it, we do not have to take the trouble of searching for this expensive exotic ingredient.

Don’t despair if large size ‘meaty’ portobello mushrooms are not at hand, you can substitute these with large-sized button mushrooms or fashion a steak mixing these with oyster and shitake mushrooms. The same applies to olive oil and sea salt. The Indian rendering doesn’t suffer if the oil is not extra virgin, and the sea salt is replaced with rock salt.

The Latinos like to use balsamic vinegar and roasted paprika. In our experience, non-synthetic malt vinegar works fine and India has enough chillis to use flakes that suit your palate. Just take care that the black peppercorns are freshly ground and the cumin seeds dry roasted. You can use any readymade barbeque sauce available off the shelf, but if you insist on a DIY, you may combine equal measures of tomato sauce, mustard sauce and liquid jaggery.

Ingredients

Portobello mushrooms

(Stems removed) 3 large
Malt vinegar 3 tbsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds 1/2 tsp
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Whole red chilli (dry) 1/4 tsp
Garlic (minced) 3 cloves
Barbeque sauce 1 tbsp

For Chimichurri
Coriander (chopped) 1 ½ cup
Garlic (minced) 2-3 cloves
Spring onions (medium) 1
Red chilli flakes 1/4 tsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 2 tbsp
Black pepper 1/2 tsp
Sea salt To taste

Mushroom steaks: Cooking instructions

Put mushrooms into a shallow baking dish and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the malt vinegar, olive oil, cumin, black pepper, red chilli, garlic and barbeque sauce. Add this sauce to the mushrooms and ensure that it coats all the sides evenly. Marinate for 8 to 10 minutes.

Prepare chimichurri by mixing green coriander, garlic, spring onions, red pepper flakes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Use a fork to combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the flavours as needed — adding more lemon juice for acidity, salt for flavour, or red pepper flakes for heat. Add the avocado and toss it to combine. Keep aside.

Heat a grill pan or a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes. Pour the remaining marinade while cooking to add more flavour to the dish. Before serving, top the steaks with chimichurri.

Mushroom steaks can be enjoyed as a light vegan meal or as an accompaniment with bread rolls or steamed rice and sauteed vegetables. However, some people relish them more with potato wedges or mashed potatoes.

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