Mushroom cooked in coconut milk is one of my favorite food combinations. Coconut milk imparts perfect creaminess without overpowering their natural flavor. Mix in some cooked rice to that and you have a comforting lunch bowl. Over the years, I have cooked number of variations of this combination. Most often, I prepare it just with a tempering of whole garam masala (with spices such as clove, bay leaves, star anise) and red chili pepper. Today, however, I made some more tweaks to the recipe, using fresh and frozen supplies from our fridge.
MUSHROOM COCONUT RICE WITH MINT
1 cup rice
10-12 Baby Bella mushrooms
1 cup grated fresh coconut (I used frozen)
Handful of mint leaves
1 cup of fajita veggie mix/ half a onion and some chopped bell peppers
1 inch ginger
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoon oil (I used coconut oil)
Salt to taste.
For garnish: chopped scallions and nooch i.e. nutritional yeast (optional)
- Cook rice as per directions.
- Grind shredded coconut, mint leaves, ginger, and garlic with some water to form a paste.
- In a pan, heat oil. Sauté chopped onion and bell peppers, till onion changes color.
- Add chopped mushrooms to it. Season with salt. Stir fry for two more minutes. Mushrooms will start cooking in its own water that is released due to salt.
- Add the coconut-mint paste to the pan and sauté till it loses its raw smell.
- Take off the heat and mix with cooked rice.
- Add garnish of your choice. I used chopped scallions and nooch flakes.
The result is as creamy as its master recipe. Plus, mint adds a pleasant aroma and color.
I was looking for sweet potatoes in the market on Friday, which was Marathi New Year. I got it listed under “yam” but as this article on the Kitchn would explain, it is really a sweet potato. When I bought it I had no idea that it would be so surprisingly orange within, unlike the purplish cream-colored ones I had always seen in India.
Anyway, today I made this dessert which I was planning to make on Friday, about three days late than the new year day! But that’s alright, as long as I get to enjoy this satisfying bowl of dessert. The common Indian recipe would be lacto-vegetarian and would use milk and ghee. However, I was looking forward to make a dairy-free vegan version, so substituted that with coconut milk and fresh grated coconut. For sweetness, I chose to rely upon dates, instead of using any refined sugar.
SWEET POTATO & COCONUT PUDDING or HALAVA
1 sweet potato.
7 dates (yeah, the magic number, like 7 Harry Potter books!)
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (I used frozen)
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom powder (really adds the Indian touch… but can be substituted with cinnamon powder as well)
Chopped nuts like almond/ pistachio for garnish (optional)
A pinch or two of salt
1-2 tbspoon olive oil
- Shred sweet potato into thin strips using mandolin.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Add shredded sweet potato. Sprinkle salt. Stir for 3-5 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, chopped dates, and cardamom powder to the pan. Cover it and let the sweet potato cook. Takes about 10 minutes. It may require intermittent stirring.
- Take care than sweet potato does not become too mushy. It would absorb the coconut milk but don’t wait till it becomes very dry. We need a consistency that is characteristic of pudding or halava.
- When it is time to take it off the heat, mix in the fresh coconut for bringing the extra texture.
- Garnish with chopped nuts.
Like any pudding or halava, you can have it while it is still warm or cool it in fridge before serving. It tastes nice both ways.