The Greeks and Romans ate mushrooms for strength before battles. And not without reason. In fact, mushrooms have a lot going for them - they are low in calories (250 grams give only 80 calories), have zero fat and cholesterol, deliver good quality protein, and also have lots of the otherwise-difficult-to-find antioxidant selenium.
You might also be surprised to know that mushrooms are a probiotic food and help strengthen the body from inside by upping our natural resistance to diseases. Try to eat them two times a week at least.
Simply sauté and add them to soups, sauces, omelettes, salads, pizzas. And the next time you are making a meat dish, you can replace half of it with mushrooms; the texture is similar and you’ll manage to cut loads of calories, salt and saturated fat with this one stroke.
Try these amazingly delicious and easy to make mushroom recipes:
Desi Chinese Chicken and Mushrooms
Add cornflour and soy sauce to shredded boneless chicken and leave for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, stir fry halved mushrooms in sesame oil on high flame for 1 minute. Remove and keep aside.
In the same oil, stir-fry chicken on high heat for 2 minutes, add the mushrooms, a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste, and some white wine (optional). Cook for 3 minutes. Add thinly shredded capsicum, carrots and spring onions. Cover and cook for exactly one minute. Pairs well with fried rice.
Coconut Mushrooms on Sourdough
Sauté sliced garlic in olive oil, then add sliced onions and cook till nice and soft and pink. Then add the sliced mushrooms, sprinkle salt and herbs (oregano, thyme, paprika) and cook until golden. Add a tbsp of coconut milk or yoghurt, sprinkle a lot of black pepper, and then a squeeze of lemon juice. Pile on top of toasted bread and eat.
Mushrooms and Eggs Toast
Melt butter, add garlic and halved mushrooms, and cook till soft. Add tomato puree, and stir fry till coated nicely. Add salt, pepper and oregano. Keep aside.
Meanwhile, scramble 2 eggs in butter and a little milk, and season with salt and pepper. Layer a toast with egg, then place mushrooms on top. Add some grated cheese and put in the oven for 5 minutes on high temperature to melt the cheese. Dig in.
Melt butter and sauté chopped onions on low flame till translucent. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Add water or vegetable broth, salt, herbs of choice, and pepper. Cover and cook partially on sim for about 10 minutes. Let it cool a bit and then puree the soup in a blender. Return to the pot, add boiled pasta and a little cream. Add a dash of chilli sauce, juliennes of ginger and spring onions on top, and slurp.
Matar Mushroom Curry
Grind tomato, ginger, garlic, green chilly and some cashews into a paste. Heat oil, add cumin, sliced green chillies and fry this paste till done. Add salt, red chilly and garam masala. Add peas and cook for 5 minutes, then add sliced mushrooms and cook till done. Sprinkle kasturi methi on top and a dash of cream. Pairs well with roti.
Heat butter and stir with lots of minced garlic. Add sliced mushrooms, a splash of water and cook for 5 minutes. Then add a mix of grated cheese - feta, cream cheese, cheddar, and cook for 5 more minutes. Switch off the gas. Finally add 2-3 chopped spring onions on top and cover for 5 minutes.
Spicy Fish With Mushrooms
Sauté fish till lightly browned on both sides.
Meanwhile, in olive oil, sauté finely chopped garlic and onion for a few minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and continue to toss and cook for a few minutes. Add tomato puree, a dash of oregano, lots of red chilli flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Put in the pieces of browned fish, add a splash of water, cover and cook on a slow flame for 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar, a few strips of red peppers, and cook for another minute.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)