Chettinad mushroom gravy
March 10, 2017, 7:07 p.m.

Mushrooms in a sea of south Indian aromatic spicy chettinad sauce




Mushrooms in a sea of south Indian aromatic spicy sauce






















                No disappointment guys. Yes it is a confession, not to my love but to my love’s love. What confused?  To people who query “Jofy, care to explain”? Here comes the answer. Well to say I married a smurf would be an understatement. The only difference being that Smurfs dwell in mushrooms while my husband fell in love with them.

                It was during his teenage years, he changed his track gradually towards vegetarian meals. He calls mushrooms “ THE MOCK MEAT”, as it is considered as an alternative to chicken, mutton and stuffs like that. I was totally repulsed by this idea of what he calls mock meat or rather I may call it an alternate way of directing my irrational dislike towards mushrooms. So I guess, now the intro makes sense. All I wanted was to say some weird reasons and skip cooking those little munchkins. But my hubby wanted me to give it a chance. Me, being me, never did I allow him to convince me. But him, being him, he challenged my cooking skills.

                He just told,  “Jofy, why not prove your skills using your enemy Mushroom, and I’ll never pester you to cook it again”. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.


Mushrooms in a sea of south Indian aromatic spicy chettinad sauce

               And then goes the story of me browsing recipes to cook it for what I thought ONE LAST TIME. But ALAS, I won and lost at the same time. I won by cooking a gorgeous meal but lost by falling for it. Yes my husband did keep his word. Now he never pesters me to buy them for it is me who runs behind it.

               Well enough of story time. Time for the recipe. While hunting for good mushroom recipes, I also researched the history of this species. The French are considered to be the first to use these in their cuisine. While mushrooms contain a good dose of protein, potassium and polysaccharides required for a good immune system, it also has low fat, salt and carbohydrate content. So no fear of weight gain. GOT IT.

               But before consuming mushrooms, double chick its edibility of consumption for some mushrooms can be deadly poisonous. Hence expiry date of mushrooms it a critical factor to be cross checked while purchasing and cooking. So about this recipe, I wanted to try a good meal but with a south indian taste especially one that is immersed in a sea of aromatic spices . so a Chettinad  Cuisine is opted unintentionally.

 Mushrooms in a sea of south Indian aromatic spicy chettinad sauce


Here I would also like to share some tips implied while preparing Chettinad Masala that can be used in a wide variety of Chettinad and normal dishes.

Tips to prepare the best chettinad masala:

  •  Finely roast the spices which are the  key ingredients of the masala. These include chilli, jeera, sombu, dhaniya, Bengal gram and especially pepper.
  • Dhaniya and Bengal gram require more roasting time compared to other ingredients due to their hard nature.
  • Use a heavy base iron pan or mud pan for good results, as the chance of the ingredients getting burnt is less in these pans. Burnt ingredients give an overall bitter taste to the cooked meal.
  • Once the pan gets heated. Low the flame and start roasting till you get a strong aroma of the heated ingredient. This might take a minute or two.
  • Roast each ingredient separately , coz each one requires different time to attain perfect roasting. While fennel seeds (sombu) require the least time, Bengal gram (kadalai paruppu) requires a relatively longer time for perfect roasting.
  • Once roasted, allow the ingredient to cool by setting it in a paper beside.
  • Now you can either grind it into a powder form or into a paste by adding water while grinding.
  • The main purpose of roasting is to get an intense flavor as well as a perfect aroma. The smell of a meal plays an important role in making the dish attractive. Moreover. Roasting removes moisture, thereby a fine texture can be got while grinding them into a paste or powder. It also makes them eligible for long time storage.
  • Now store this Chettinad Masala in an air tight container and use it when needed.

        HMMM  now coming to  the actual dish, the dark brown color of the gravy is the result of a perfect blend of spices that include red chilli, pepper, dhaniya , jeera and fennel seeds. The richness of the gravy is the result of the added cashews and coconut. This meal would promise you a balanced taste man. Asking how? Well here comes the answer. The sweetness from caramelized onions, sourness from tomato and hot pepper provide an exotic flavor. Having doubt? There is no other way of proving it unless you cook it . OK ?

         As told in my previous recipe, Chinna vengayam muttai masala, saute-ing is an important aspect just like roasting. Sauting and roasting are the two eyes of this gravy. So even when you perform one in the right way while missing the other, I’m sorry Better Luck Next Time. So patience while doing both. When you follow it perfectly, I promise you, the dining table will sing your praises till the last morsel of food. The partners of this spicy gravy are of course chappathi, plain rice, idly and dosa.

   So here comes the long waited Recipe of Chettinad Mushrooms gravy

                                                            Course: Side dish  |  Cuisine: Indian

Preparation Time             30 minutes   |    Cooking time: 15 minutes   |    Servings: 3-4 people


 To roast and grind

·        5 red chillis ( varamilagai)

·        3 teaspoons of dhania

·        1 teaspoon of pepper

·        1 teaspoon of jeera

·        1 teaspoon of sombu (fennel seeds)

·        1 teaspoon of pottu kadalai ( roasted gram)

·        4 to 5 cashews

·        3 table spoon grated coconut

For gravy

·        ½ teaspoon sombu

·        8 – 10medium sized curry leaves

·        2 big onions chopped

·        1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

·        2 tomatoes -  finely chopped

·        200 gms of sliced mushrooms

·        Pinch of turmeric powder

·        Salt as required

·        Gingelly oil for tempering


Step 1. Roast chilli , dhania, pepper, jeera, sombu, roasted gram, cashews and coocunut all separately and set it aside to cool.

Step 2. In a mixer grinder, grind the above roasted ingredients into a fine paste by adding water little by little. Keep this paste aside.

Step 3. In a pan, pour some oil and add ginger garlic paste. Once it turns into a golden brown color add sombu and wait until it pops. Add curry leaves and finish the tempering process.

Step 4. Now add the chopped onions and saute it. PATIENCE PARTICIPANTS.

Step 5. Once it attains a golden brown colour, add chopped tomatoes. As told earlier add crystal salt as required and finish sauting easier and faster.

Step 6. Once sauted, and the cleaned mushrooms, don’t forget to slice it into small chunks. Now roast it in high flame. You can see the juices coming out, making the mixture watery. This is the correct time to add the chettinad masala paste that we’ve prepared earlier and a pinch of turmeric powder.

Step 7. Add water as necessary, some 2 to 3 cups as most of it gets vaporized during the cooking process.

Step 8. Cover the pan with a lid and continue cooking in low flame for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 9. Sprinkle  corriander leaves as necessary for flavoring.

Step 10. Switch off the stove and now your would- be – favourite Cettinad Mushrom Gravy is ready.

Mushrooms in a sea of south Indian aromatic spicy chettinad sauce

                This is one of the most welcoming dishes loved by my vegetarian guests. So next time when you have guests, whether veg or non veg, just prepare this mouth watering Chettinad mushroom and present a lavish dinner. So I guess it is apt to call my love’s love ( also mine ;-) ) “ MEAT OF THE VEGETARIAN WORLD”. And please do tag me #foodieadamcookieeve when you post pictures of your creations in instagram or facebook. I would love to see them and give a virtual hug:)    

BON APPETITE My readers.  

#FoodforSoul - We all have negative emotions. But we have to take a choice that I am going to protect what I allow in. Every morning you wake up, its important to empty out the negatives from the past day. Hurts , offense take up the space you need for the good things that moves you towards your destiny. Empt that hurt, envy, jealousy, disappointments, stress and give space for God. Give room for God to fill you with healing. God doesnt run out of favor. He never does a limited supply. When you empty that negatives out, He will open doors that noone can shut. If somebody got what you wanted that simply means it was not meant for you. God knows what He is doing. Bottom line, what has your name on it, will be yours eventually. God promises if we will make room, He will not only fill with what we need, He will keep us young and strong in spirit. Worry will make you weak. Staying worried will give you wrinkles, take away your passion. Let things go and laugh it out. Offenses come, Worries come, keep emptying them out. Nobody gave you credit? Empty out that self-pity. You make a mistake? Empty out that guilt. You did not do well? Empty out that regret. You had a bad break and you dont understand? Empty out that questions. Jesus said 'Blessed are the one who is pure in Heart', He is saying you are being blessed when you learn to release the bitterness in your spirit. Impurities come but we are supposesd to flush them out everyday. More peace, More joy to you :) Hear here for more meditation on Joel Osteen's Emptying out negativity.






Jofy Abraham
Food Stylist, Food Photographer, Food Enthusiast
my foodgawker gallery