Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sautéed Mushrooms--The Afghan Way

I always associate fall with mushrooms, especially the wild one that we picked in Polish forests, and later cooked, dried or preserved in vinegar. I hardly eat wild mushrooms in America, except dried porcini which I bring from Poland, or chanterelles which periodically appear at our local Costco. Maybe because fall is a mushroom season in Poland, I also like those cultivated white mushroom to serve most during this season.

When I saw my Afghan friend in September, I was happy to hear that she had for me a mushroom dish recipe, perfect for the season. She recalled these sautéed mushrooms while visiting the farmers market in Connecticut, where she bought these very fresh white mushrooms and cooked them the Afghan way. But, as she said, this recipe is good for any mushrooms. For instance, a mix of white and baby bella would be a perfect combination.

It is a very simple dish and, as almost all Afghan recipes, uses the same method and basic spices. I tried this recipe on a cold weekend in September and I was surprised that this dish tasted more like wild mushrooms that I know from Poland than the regular white mushrooms. It was well fried and aromatic thanks to dried spices and fresh coriander. Served with Afghan bread made a simple but delicious lunch.

Afghan Mushrooms
(Serves four)

2 lb white mushrooms mix (or a mix of white and baby bella),
one large onion, chopped,
3 garlic cloves, minced,
2 tsp ground coriander,
1 tsp turmeric,
1 tsp chili pepper,
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves,
3 tbsp olive oil,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Wash and dry mushrooms. Cut then into thin slices.

2. In a large heavy duty frying pan heat the olive oil. Add onion and garlic and fry until they become transparent.
3. Add mushrooms and fry until the water they released evaporates and mushrooms become dry. At that moment add ground coriander and turmeric, salt and pepper mix. Fry mushrooms on the medium heat until they become slightly gold.
4. Sprinkle tops of mushrooms with chopped coriander and chili pepper. Cover and let the coriander to release the flavor to the mushrooms. It will take about 3 minutes.
Serve mushrooms with fresh, preferably Afghan bread.