05 April, 2008

Some Like it Hot: Mushroom Chettinad

Spicy & Tangy Mushroom Chettinad
Aunt S: Are you sure this is what you want to eat.
Me: Absolutely. This looks like a spicy dish. This is exactly what I want to eat. I am tired of eating tasteless hostel food.
Aunt S: This one is really spicy. Do you think you can handle it?
Me: That’s what my taste buds are begging for after eating bland food all these days. Please Aunt S. Cook this one for me.
Aunt S: Ok, as you wish. Then don’t blame me later for not warning you.
Me: ~chuckles~ I am not a kid anymore. In two year’s time even our government will give me my voter’s card!!!
Aunt S: ~smiling~ As you wish dear niece.
It's Lunch time & lunch is served.
Aunt S: Sia, are you OK? Your nose just turned red.
Me: Of course Aunt S. It’s just that I have little cold!
Aunt S: ~trying to hide her smile~ Oh, then why are you crying?
Me: ~wiping her eyes~ He he… I am not crying. It’s just that I miss Amma and just realised how you both look alike and cook in a same way.
Aunt S: ~trying hard not to laugh~ That’s very sweet of you. Let me serve you little more of this dish you like so much.
Me: I read some where that too much of spicy food is not good for our health. Don’t you think everything should be eaten in moderate? Can I have another glass of water please?
Aunt S: ~chuckles~ That’s right. Spicy food is not good for kids. But you just said that you are not a kid any more and grown ups can handle this kind of spicy food.
Me: Oh yes, I looooooooove Spicy food. I am just worried about uncle as he is missing such a wonderful dish. I don’t want to end up licking the dish clean and disappoint him!
Aunt S: ~laughs out loud~ OK dear, we don’t want to disappoint uncle. Is there anything you would like to eat?
Me: How about that ice cream you said you bought for me? And also your special Shrikhand?
That was the day I was introduced to fiery, hot and spicy Chettinad Cuisine by my Aunt S. That day she made spicy Garlic Kulumbu on my request and it was like fire exploding in my mouth and then in my tummy. The flavours just hit you hard and you are left with smoke coming out of your mouth! First it hits your tongue and then you can feel it sharply spreading to your stomach. I would be lying if say it was love at first bite. It took me quite few years to actually enjoy this fiery hot Chettinad Cuisine. Little high dose of red chillies, peppercorns with tamarind gives it very unique flavour.

Although predominantly Chettinad cuisine is famous for its non-veg fair, it has good collection of Vegetarian menu to choose from. With a spice blend of ginger, garlic, mint, dry red chilly, cumin, curry leaves and ‘king of spices’ peppercorns it is something you need to try to experience the real pleasure of flavours bursting in your mouth. One favourite of mine is Mushroom Chettinad which my Aunt made quite often. Chewy mushrooms cooked with fiery dry chillies and a pepper corn is sure to win every spicy food lover’s heart. While the roasted channa dal gives it a nutty flavour, tamarind gives it tangy punch and flavourful mustard and curry leaves temper just makes it finger licking good. I followed recipe from this site which very much looks like what Nupur has posted. Increase or reduce the chilli and peppercorn depending on your spice scale you can handle. But boy, do I like it hot it or what!!! I am sending this to Lisa and Holler's No Croutons Required and this month's theme is Mushrooms.

Mushroom Chettinad (Spicy, Tangy Mushroom Curry from Chettinad)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2-3

12-14 Mushrooms, roughly chopped (I used Button Mushrooms)
¾-1 tsp Tamarind Paste
2 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

For Spice Powder:
1 tbsp Channa Dal (Split Yellow Peas)
3-4 Dry Red Chillies, halved (Adjust acc to taste)
1 tsp Black Pepper Corns (Adjust acc to taste)

For Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Oil
Roasted Spices for Mushroom Chettinad

Wash, pat dry and chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and keep them aside.
Dry roast channa dal, dry red chillies and peppercorns in a skillet on a low-medium flame till dal turns golden brown (Approx 2 mins). Cool and grind them to smooth powder and keep aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop and splutter, add curry leaves and sauté for few seconds.
Now mix in chopped mushrooms and sauté on medium heat. When they start to sweat add salt to taste, ground spice powder and mix well. Sauté gently on a medium flame for 1-2 minutes making sure that spice mixture doesn’t stick to bottom of the pan.
Add tamarind paste and sprinkle little water if necessary and mix well. Cook for another minute or so on medium flame sautéing in between.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with Chapatti or plain steamed Rice or stuff it bewteen bread for spicy sandwich and enjoy.

Mushroom Chettinad

Other way to serve this spicy mushroom dish is to layer in between whole wheat bread with salad greens and serve as one spicy sandwich. The spicy, meaty mushrooms goes very well with crisp salad green and bread and makes one complete, satisfying meal.
Other Spicy and Tangy Chettinad Recipes blogged in Monsoon Spice are


  1. What an unusual dish! Looks delish! Must be high on the "hot"ness scale with the red chillies and peppercorns. Nice recipe there, Sup! Your moong chila looks yum too.

  2. I love Nupur's Mushroom Chettinad. One of the best mushroom preparations. The spicy peppercorns and chillies clear even a sinus-struck nose.

  3. I still can't eat little more spicier food Sia. Still a kid I am :)) .
    I never heard of it but your pic is so tempting that I think I will try it with some little amount at first at least. May be D will like it :) .
    Classic pictures agian....

  4. forgot to say check out garlic pickle on my blog for events .. I know your love all kinda pickles too much :) .

  5. wow!looks so yumm sia:))and loved the conversation too

  6. Wow!!!! This has to be the first time that a picture has made me sooo hungry (I really thought I was safely immune to advertisements or pictures of food, but this is seriously drool-worthy)
    Ever since one of my doctor friends took pains to convince me that mushroom is a relative of the fungi that grow on leather shoes, I have been staying away from it ( he also compared palak paneer to a green marshy swamp with white pieces floating on it, so you can imagine the graphic detailing of such a description, which I'm going to spare you, really)
    Now I am pro mushroom again - this is some seriously powerful photography!

  7. I am not kidding - I laughed till I cried reading this post. I am sending you tight hugs for making my day!

  8. Looks spicy and mouthwatering..Nice pics Sia..Nice sory too

  9. Drooling over this spicy chettinadu dish... It should be fiery ....

  10. That looks soooooo good..Got to try it, since I love spicy food :)..

  11. ehmm...that bowl does look very fiery!...nice picture...btw are you still crying over eating this?

  12. Wow...this looks delicious!!! Very pleasing to the eye and I am sure to the tastebuds :)


  13. Chettinad recipes sure wake up the taste buds. This one I am sure will do the same, looks delish.

  14. looks spicy alright Sia....But will try out the other Chettinad recipes since P hates mushrooms.

  15. What a flavorful recipe, Sia. I have always loved the pepper-tamarind combination in Chettinad recipes. I have to try this!

  16. Sups, this is one hot deal :). One of my favorite mushroom curries of all times. You know its really good when the nose turns good :-D.

    And girl, don't worry about replying individual comments or being able to visit blogs regularly.

    Have a beautiful weekend.


  17. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I've had Nupur's version and that was super delicious! Yours look great and loved that intro story :)

  19. Sia,
    Am feeling like to take it from the monitor.Just like real.I too love to eat spicy dishes,but I prefer green chillies.. :)

  20. mouthwatering!!

  21. looks so appetising... love those chettinadu dishes :)

  22. Hi Sia,
    The first time I had a Chettinad dish was in a restaurant where we came across Paneer Chettinad. I had always thought that I would never be able to taste Chettinad as I had only heard about Chicken Chettinad & being a vegeterian could not have that. So a veg Chettinad dish made me jump with joy & I ordered it right away. The experience was almost what you describe as your first one.

    But doesnt this have cloves in it? I thought I distinctly tasted cloves in the restaurant version. But then you never know, they are all fusion these days anyway...

  23. Boy! that does look spicy and hot indeed!! I'm not sure I'd be able to take that spice level, but it sure looks yummy:)

  24. Looks mouthwateringly good, Sia!! Gorgeous pics and recipe! :)

  25. This is a perfect entry! Not only is it a mushroom dish, it's spicy too! I would be sure to love this. Thanks for participating.

  26. lovely lovely. i love chettinad dishes, esp chicken ones

  27. Sia,

    Gorgeous. I am sure I would love it. Spicy.... yum!

  28. sia, is this served as an appetizer or a side dish? I think I will try this. I love mushrooms and spicy food... ;) Perfect recipe to try & taste... :)

  29. @myspicykitchen,
    as far as i know its served as a side dish with rice or roties.

  30. sia,

    I tried this recipe on monday and wanted t pst it yesterday. I was a little busy and did not get a chance to post it on my blog and send it to T&T.

    Measurements and instructions are perfect & very clear. It came out very well. The only ingredient i would cut back is chana dal. I used 2 tbsp and it was too much. After preparing the dish, when i looked at ur recipe, u had indeed called for only 1 tbsp. don't knw where my mind was when i prepared the dish, and it was my fault that i used more chana dal... thanks for sharing this recipe..

  31. It was a treat to make and taste this recipe. The simplicity and flavours of this dish made it an instant favorite. Thank you :)

  32. @Archu, yayyy... that's wonderful :)


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