Then in high school and later college, I learned that mushrooms were fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies of a fungus and blah-blah-blah. And they were nowhere as attractive as those in my story books. Much, much later I discovered that people ate some types of mushroom, and though some could be fatally poisonous, there were varieties that were considered almost a delicacy.
I could never understand why anyone would want to eat such an unappetising looking thing and a fungus at that? Of course, there’s no rhyme or reason why people across the world eat whatever they do, other than it grows around them and at some time they must have discovered that these things were edible and did not kill them! Sure there’s a lot of “good” fungus out there, but in my book, fungus is fungus and I’m not likely to change my mind about that! And since my husband feels the same way about this, mushrooms were never ever on our shopping lists. Unfortunately for both of us, our daughter discovered that she was rather partial to mushrooms and almost as much as she was to paneer . So every time we ate out when she was younger, it meant that she would search the menu for paneer dishes and mushroom dishes and then order one or the other though paneer did win over mushrooms more often than not. Of course, she would never be able to finish the portions and while we could manage to help her finish the paneer, we would balk at the mushroom. Then at some point, she lost her single-minded affection for mushroom and we heaved silent sighs of relief. For a long time, all was quiet on the mushroom front until sometime a couple of months back, our daughter came vegetable shopping with me to our local market. There were button mushrooms everywhere and she thought it would be perfect if we bought some home so that I could cook them for her. I indulged her, against my better judgement (we might have to eat the leftovers again!) and decided to stuff the mushrooms and the cook them Tandoori style. If we did have to eat mushrooms, might as well eat it heavily disguised by stuffing it, marinating it and then serving it with other more flavoursome ingredients – that was my reasoning behind picking this recipe. Shashlik is Turkish/Russian type of kebab, also popular is some countries of Eastern Europe. Usually meat like lamb is skewered and served with assorted grilled vegetables. In fact, Shahlik is a sort of Shish Kebab, and the word “Shish” means in skewer in Turkish. It is cooked in Northern parts of India as well, and probably came in with the Mughal invaders who came to Indian from Persia and thereabouts. My recipe is a vegetarian version and more of an Indian style Shashlik with mushrooms and paneer (Indian fresh milk cheese) and very Indian flavours. The mushrooms are cleaned, the stalks removed and then the depressions are filled with a potato filling before marinating them in flavoured yogurt. I used what I had on hand to make this kebab which was onions, yellow, green and red bell peppers, and paneer cubes. Pineapple, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower florets are also good options for this Shashlik. If you have a grill or barbecue that uses charcoal, then that’s the best way to grill these because of the lovely smoky flavour you get. Otherwise just cook it in the oven/ grill like I did.
Tandoori Style Stuffed Mushroom Shashlik/ KebabsI am sending the monochrome photographs in this post to Jasmina who is hosting the 87th edition of Susan's Black & White Wednesdays now being co-ordinated by Cinzia.