Mushroom Pakoras with sauce

Mushroom Pakoras with Mint-Cilantro Dip

This recipe is a bit of a globe trotter. The chickpea batter is inspired by Indian pakoras, yet the mushroom pieces emerge from the oil lightly coated, like Japanese tempura. With its mix of mint, cilantro and lime, the sauce could be Mexican. The mushrooms? Grown right here in Canada. Given the diversity of flavours and ingredients, I’m tagging this an international dish.

While you don’t need a passport to make these, if you’re new to deep frying, you might want to familiarize yourself with the territory before forging ahead.

  1. Small pieces deep fry more quickly and evenly than larger pieces. If your mushrooms are tiny, you can deep-fry them whole, but with standard-sized mushrooms, quartered works best in this recipe.
  2. Use a light, neutral oil with a relatively high smoke point. Canola, peanut, safflower, and sunflower oils are good choices.
  3. Make sure your saucepan has high sides and a heavy bottom for even heat distribution.
  4. Don’t fill the pot with oil more than half way. This prevents splashing and wastes less oil.
  5. Oil heat is crucial to a crisp batter. You’re aiming for 375°F. I use a candy thermometer to monitor the oil, but a simple drop of batter will do the trick. Simply drop a bit of batter into the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the surface, the oil is hot enough. If it burns, it’s too hot. If it sinks, it’s not hot enough.
  6. The oil temperature will drop when you add the pakoras. Make sure it returns to temperature between batches.
  7. Don’t overcrowd the pakoras. They need space to cook evenly. Frying fewer pieces will also help maintain a steady oil temperature between batches.

Mushrooms are an ideal ingredient to start your deep-frying ventures. Their dry exterior means they won’t splutter when they hit the oil. Because they cook quickly, these pakoras can be in and out of the oil in minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Charmian Christie of The Messy Baker.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients

Mint-Cilantro Dip

3/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh mint

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

generous pinch fine sea salt

Mushroom Pakoras

3 cups vegetable oil, divided

8 to 10 white button mushrooms, about 2 inches wide

1 cup chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan)

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 cup club soda

Method

Mint-Cilantro Dip

Place all the dip ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour into a small bowl and set aside while you cook the pakoras.

Mushroom Pakoras

  1. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towel. Set aside.
  2. Pour all the oil except 1 teaspoon into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat oil to 375°F while you prepare the pakoras.
  3. Wipe mushroom caps, remove stems and save for another recipe. Cut the cap into quarters. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk chickpea flour, cumin seeds, salt, and cayenne to combine.  Add the crushed garlic and the reserved 1 teaspoon oil. Slowly whisk in the club soda. The batter should be smooth and thick like pancake batter. Add the mushroom pieces and toss to coat evenly.
  5. When the oil has reached 350ºF, use a fork to gently place 6 to 8 pakoras —  one at a time —  in the hot oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, turning once, until golden brown all over. Remove Pakoras with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towels to drain. Continue cooking the pakoras in batches making sure the oil returns to temperature each time.

Serve while still hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

This bite-size snack is perfect for any occasion, from a girls night in to a Super Bowl party. A big thank you goes out to Charmian Christie for sharing this mouthwatering, culinary treat!

 

Sautéed Mushroom Guacamole

With summer upon us, I highly suggest grilling your mushrooms for this recipe. It will beat heating up your house, and the smoky flavour from the grill will only enhance this appetizer. 

Recipe and photo by Kacey of The Cookie Writer.

Prep Time: 10 mins. | Cook Time: 15 mins.

Ingredients

5 medium-sized avocados, ripe (soft ,not squishy)
8 oz white, cremini, or mini bella mushrooms, halved then sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup white wine or vegetable broth for deglazing
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small lime, juiced
1 medium tomato, diced (or 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved.)
1 small red onion, diced (roughly 1/8-1/4 cup)
Salt

Method

1. Set frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot, stir in mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, or until beginning to brown. Sprinkle with some salt.
2. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Pour in wine (or broth) to deglaze, cooking until liquid dissipates. Remove from heat to cool.

Guacamole
3. Cut your avocados in half and remove pit. Spoon out avocado into a medium-sized bowl. Mash until you reach desired consistency (chunky or smooth.)
4. Add garlic, salt, and freshly squeezed lime. Stir to combine.
5. Add mushrooms, tomatoes, and onion, stirring until combined.
6. Cover and refrigerator until chilled, probably a good hour minimum.
7. Give it a taste test to see if it needs more salt or lime.
8. Serve on its own, with tacos, or burritos!

Note: You can grill your mushrooms on the BBQ with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Amount of lime and salt needed is based on preference (so taste as you go!)

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Lemon & Tarragon Mushroom Pâté

This pâté is one of my favourite ways to eat mushrooms in the summer – I crave it all the time and its so easy to make ahead and keep in the fridge to snack on for a few days.

Recipe courtesy of Kelly from The Gouda Life.

Prep Time: 10 mins. | Cook Time: 15 mins. | Makes: 1 1/2 cups of pate

Ingredients

16oz white or brown button mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp fresh tarragon leaves
Zest from 1/2 lemon (about 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup dry white wine
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp cream cheese

 

Method

1. Spoon butter and oil into a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot.
2. Once heated, add the minced shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes taking care not to burn garlic.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring only occasionally, until all the liquid had evaporated and your mushrooms are nice and brown, about 6-8 minutes.
4. Add pecans, salt, pepper, tarragon and the lemon zest and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the white wine and let it cook off, scraping any stuck-on bits off the bottom of the pan.
6. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. Take 3/4 of the mixture and place it in the bowl of your food processor or blender along with the cream cheese. Blend until smooth.
7. Pour into a ramekin or small bowl, top with the remaining 1/4 of the coarse mushroom mixture.

You can eat it as-is or refrigerate until chilled. It will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. And might I suggest a slightly chilled pinot noir or a really cold dark lager to accompany this? I think you’ll like it.

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Pizza “Fun-Due”

For a fun twist on supper or as an appetizer for a family birthday or celebration, this pizza-flavoured fondue is sure to be a hit. Let the fun begin.

Recipe and photo are courtesy of Foodland Ontario.

Prep Time: 15 mins. | Cook Time: 13 mins. | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
1 small Ontario Onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each dried basil and oregano
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) crushed tomatoes
2 cups (500 mL) shredded part-skim Ontario Mozzarella Cheese
Dippers:
4 cups (1 L) assorted Ontario Vegetables (mushrooms, greenhouse sweet peppers)
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) cooked meatballs or bite-size pieces of Ontario Chicken, Ham or Beef
12 multigrain breadsticks

Method

1. In deep saucepan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion and garlic, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in basil and oregano; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring frequently, for 7 minutes or until slightly thickened.
2. Reduce heat to low. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) of the cheese at a time to saucepan, stirring constantly and adding next handful when cheese is melted.
Dippers: Place saucepan on heat-proof trivet on table or, if desired, transfer to fondue pot over flame to keep warm. Serve with vegetables, meatballs and breadsticks for dipping, using fondue forks if desired.

Tip Tip

Cooked wedges of Ontario Sweet Potato or Potatoes make for tasty dippers.  Kids can grate the cheese on a box grater and wash the vegetables.

Nutritional Information

Per serving:
Protein: 10 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrate: 12 grams
Calories: 172
Fibre: 2 grams
Sodium: 320 mg
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Mushroom Nuggets

Recipe and photo courtesy of Diane from Kitchen Bliss.

Prep Time: 10 mins. | Cook Time: 20 mins.

Ingredients

small button or cremini mushrooms (about 325-425 grams)
beaten egg
seasoned breadcrumbs (about 1 cup)
1 cup of vegetable oil

Method

Ensure that the mushrooms are clean. Cut (and discard) a thin slice off the base. Dip each mushroom into the beaten egg. Then coat in seasoned breadcrumbs. “Deep fry” in about ¾” of fairly hot oil – first on one side and then briefly flipped to the other side. The mushroom is edible raw, so you are frying these only to get a nice colour. Additional salt can be sprinkled on them as they come out of the frying oil.

Tip Tip

Breadcrumbs should be as fresh as possible – make at home or purchase from your local bakery. Some bakeries sell seasoned breadcrumbs, but you can make your own with your favourite flavour profile. For 1 cup of breadcrumbs add any/all of the following: 1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 1/2 tsp fresh, chopped), 1/4 tsp dried, crushed rosemary (or 1/2 tsp fresh, chopped fine), 1/2 tsp dried basil and/or oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of nutmeg, sage, and salt to taste – and also consider sprinkling salt on freshly fried mushrooms. Depending upon your mayo dip plans, add a touch of heat to the breadcrumbs with a pinch of cayenne. Although this is Hungarian, best not to add paprika to the breadcrumbs, since it burns when in contact with high heat.
For optimum control I tend to cook only 4-5 at a time and place them on paper towels as they are removed from the oil.
A spider or slotted spoon is great for quick removal from the oil
These are best when made/served fresh.
Mayo Dips:
Serve with mayo dip(s). In Hungary that might be mayo mixed with some creamed horseradish – but one can get creative – and offer guests a small selection. Mayo Dips are all the rage at trend-setting Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. Mayo blended with avocado or guacamole, sriracha, curry, mango, caramelized onion – you are limited only by your imagination and taste buds. Enjoy!
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