Mushrooms in a spicy coconut sauce or Mushroom ambat

Mushrooms cooked in a spicy coconut gravy and then tempered with onions is one of the best. The combination of mild earthy flavor of mushrooms mixed with spicy coconut gravy and then tempered with browned onions can be only delightful, aromatic and appetizing! This dish or Ambat's in general are made spicy, so you can adjust the spice level according to your taste buds.
You can use small button mushrooms and cut into half Or large white mushrooms chopped into bite size pieces. Back home where I grew up, in rainy season we used to buy those small mushrooms which were round in shape and also they had a thin shell on the outside which had to be peeled off, and inside was a pure white soft edible mushroom. The aroma was very different than the cultivated ones. Since they were so seasonal and I must say the availability was only for a month or so and also they were quite expensive. In this recipe I have used the large button mushrooms; at my place we always have mushrooms in our refrigerator, because we like mushrooms a lot.

Recipe follows..


4 to 5 large button mushrooms cut into bite size pieces.
1 small onion finely chopped
2 tbsp cooking oil

For masala:

¾ cup fresh shredded coconut
5 roasted red chillies
½ tsp or less tamarind concentrate
Salt to to taste


1. Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel or cloth and chop them into bite size pieces. In a sauce pan add little water and cook the mushrooms.

2. Finely chop onions and set aside.

3. In a blender grind to a fine paste coconut, roasted red chillies and tamarind paste with little water.

4. Now add the coconut masala/paste, salt to the mushrooms and bring it to a boil, and turn the heat to low.

5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a frying pan and to this add the finely chopped onions and fry till golden brown.

6. Add the fried/browned onions to the mushroom curry and mix one last time and turn the heat off.

7. Serve with steamed rice.

Ready for some Indo-chinese..?

Gobi Manchuri is a well-known appetizer that’s loved by everyone. Gobi or cauliflower is deep fried and then coated with a spicy and tangy sauce. It’s a fusion of Chinese recipe, however, its Indianized now by all the fancy restaurants. So it’s now known as an Indo-chinese food. I prepare this dish usually when we host get-togethers or just another time when the craving kicks in.

Here’s an easy recipe:

For the sauce:

3 tbsp cooking oil
2 medium sized onions finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste/minced
2 garlic cloves paste/minced
2 green chillies chopped
1 tsp dark soy sauce(optional)
½ green bell peppers chopped (optional)
4 to 5 tsps Tomato ketchup for a thick sauce and also it gives a sweet and tangy flavor.
3 to 4 tsps of Asian chilly garlic sauce (available in most of the Indian stores)
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves chopped for garnish.

For the batter to fry the Cauliflower florets:

25 to 30 Cauliflower florets (pre-washed, and drain excess water on a kitchen towel/paper towel)
1 cups of All purpose flour/Maida
3 to 4 tsps of Rice flour or corn flour (makes fried florets crunchy)
Sufficient oil (canola oil for) deep frying
½ tsp garlic minced or add ½ tsp garlic powder
Few shakes of chilli powder


1.Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add onions and start sautéing add minced ginger, garlic and sauté firther till the onions become golden.

2.Now add the green chillies and fry for a min or two followed by the green bell peppers and fry till they are crisp and cooked thru.

3.Add salt, soy sauce, chilli garlic sauce, tomato ketchup and about ¼ cups of water to make thick sauce. Cover and let it cook for sometime. (make sure the spice level and salt is fine, else adjust accordingly)

4.Switch off the heat and set this aside.

5.Now to prepare the batter for frying the cauliflower fries, combine in a mixing bowl –all purpose flour, rice/corn flour, minced garlic, salt, chilli powder. Make a smooth batter just like how you prepare the Besan batter to fry pakoras.

6.Heat enough oil in a deep dish/kadai to deep fry the florets. When its smoking hot, dip the florets in the Batter and deep fry on a medium heat till golden.

7.Add these fried Florets into the sauce and with a flat wooden spoon mix gently so that it coats the florets. Be gentle while mixing the florets if not they will break and become mushy.

8.Garnish with coriander leaves and serve as an Appetizer or along side fried rice. Yummilicious!

Note: Don’t make the Sauce watery, it should be thick and just enough to coat the floret, else the florets will loose their crunchy texture.

Instant steamed Rice cakes or Sanna khotto

This is an authentic Konkani style dish, its called Sanna khotto. It’s typically made with a combination of coarsely ground rice, lentils (toor dal), coconut, chilles and mixed with chopped onions, cabbage or drumstick leaves and flowers. My mom usually makes it this way which is relatively quick. Back home we used to prepare this in Jackfruit leaves which were folded and sewed like cups and it gives an unusual aroma to this dish. You can steam it using a wide steel dish, just like steaming Dhoklas.
This recipe fits in right especially when your craving for Sanna khotto kicks in and this can made in like 45 minutes! I like to make this with onions, fenugreek leaves/methi and shredded cabbage. It’s made spicy and it usually devoured with a hint of pure coconut oil.

Before Steaming

For the above quantity you will need:

1 cup cream of rice or Rice rava/idly rava
¾ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup shredded cabbage
½ cup shredded coconut (fresh/frozen)
¼ tsp asafoetida(hing)
5 to 6 roasted red chillies
½ tsp tamarind paste
½ tsp brown sugar/jaggery (if you add fenugreek leaves)
Salt to taste


1.Firstly in a wide mixing bowl add the cream of rice/rava and wash it in 1 or 2 changes of water. Add just enough water to soak the cream of rice and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

2.In a blender add the coconut, red chillies, hing, tamarind and salt to a coarse paste with little water.

3.Chop the onions, cabbage and keep aside.

4.Add the ground paste into the cream of rice and mix well followed by onions and chopped cabbage. Mix everything so that all 3 ingredients are incorporated.

5.Check the salt and spice level and adjust accordingly and let it sit for another 15 to 20 minutes. (It’s usually made spicy so adjust the spice level to suit your taste buds.)The consistency of the batter should be thick like idly batter and not watery.

6.Pour the batter into a round steaming vessel, just like Dhoklas and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. You can also use Idli moulds to steam this.

7.We usually serve this with steamed rice and Dalitoy.

Note: You can substitute cabbage with some fresh picked and roughly chopped fenugreek leaves/methi leaves.