Mushroom and Spinach Sandwich – The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea: The Literary Kitchen #3

“Still immersed in his dream, he drank down the tepid tea. It tasted bitter. Glory, as anyone knows, is bitter stuff.” 
– Yukio Mishima, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea

Spinach and Mushroom Sandwich

The book is utterly disturbing, but absolutely well written. A bunch of 13 year olds look at the adult world as hypocrite and delusional. They brutally murder a cat to attain objectivity and drain themselves of all emotions. When the mother of one of them starts dating a man – a sailor who they idolize – they see it as an act of betrayal and plan to retain his glory through death.

I also read about Mishima before reading the book and the book resonates the darkness and destruction within him especially once you know what he did to himself (Mishima performed a ritual Samurai suicide after completing his famous tetralogy The Sea Of Fertility).

It was pretty weird cooking a dish from the book that’s so dark, but I had to keep up with the project. So here’s my rendition of the sandwich that the boys eat before they – very nonchalantly – murder the innocent cat.

Also Read: Kale Chane ki Ghugniyan aur Bhuna Mutton – Dyodhi by Gulzar: The Literary Kitchen #2

Mushroom and Spinach Sandwich
Yields: 8 Sandwiches

Ingredients:
Mushroom (chopped) – 200 gms
Spinach (chopped) – 100 gms
Bread slices – 16
Readymade garlic bread seasoning – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp for sautéing mushrooms and extra for grilling the sandwiches

For white sauce:
Butter – 20 gms
All purpose flour – 2 tbsp
Milk – 1 cup
Salt to taste
Pepper – a pinch

Method:

White sauce
1. Heat butter in a pan.
2. Mix in flour when the butter starts melting.
3. Stir for a minute, add milk and stir constantly.
4. Mix in salt and pepper and keep the sauce aside.

Sandwich:
1. Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and throw in mushrooms to sauté them.
2. Add spinach halfway through and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Pour in the sauce and garlic seasoning.
4. Place the filling on a slice spreading it equally, cover it with another slice.
5. Apply oil on griller and cook on both sides till crisp and brown.

Credits
Cooking and styling – Shirin Mehrotra
Photography – Vishal Kapoor

How to make a perfect Sabudana Khichdi

Sabudana khichdi (or tehri as we call it in Lucknow) is easily a unanimously favourite dish during fasts. Sabudana is not a grain or pulse and is full of carbohydrates which fills you up really fast. Top it with dahi and it makes for a complete meal. I still remember, when my mother used to fast she’d cook sbudana khichdi for all of us; even if we weren’t fasting. I always loved the way she made it, slightly sticky and spicy. When I came to Bombay I ate the less spicier version with curry leaves. I didn’t like it initially but then developed a taste for it. This khichdi becamr my go-to Sunday meal while I was living alone. Eventually I learnt the process of how to make the non-sticky khichdi. Here’s my mom’s recipe. Take note of the first two steps, they are the most important ones.

Ingredients:
Sabudana (tapioca pearls) – 1 cup
Potato – 1 medium size
Green chilli – 1
Peanuts (crushed) – 1/4 cup
Amchoor (dry mango powder) – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Juice of half lime
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish
Dahi to serve with

Method:

  • Soak sabudana in water and leave it for half an hour.
  • Drain excess water, cover and leave it overnight. This will result in beautiful non-sticky khichdi.
  • Finely chop potato and green chilli.
  • Heat oil in a kadhai and fry peanuts.
  • Add potato, chilli, amchoor, red chilli powder, sugar and let the potatoes cook.
  • Now add sabudana and salt, mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Make sure you don’t overcook it or it’ll get sticky.
  • Mix in lime juice, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with dahi.

Beetroot chops recipe

Do you know how I love making bread rolls, aloo tikkis and chhole bhature on Sundays? Deep fried Indian snacks are my guilty pleasures hence I try adding healthy ingredients in my recipes. The lowers the guilt factor to a certain extent. I stuff bread samosas with seasonal vegetables or make aloo tikkis stuffed with peas. In one of the issues of BBC’s Good Food India, I saw this recipe of beetroot or chukandar chops. I liked the idea and thought of trying it. The original recipe is sourced from the magazine to which I added some dry mint powder and mixed roasted seeds. I’ve recently grown fond of seeds (flaxseed, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, cucumber seeds) and try consuming them on a daily basis. While I like to eat them plain, straight from the bottle, the husband throws a fit. So I sneak them in tikkis, salads etc (please don’t tell him). In this recipe I used the roasted mixed seeds from Godrej Nature’s Basket’s Healthy Alternatives section


Ingredients
For patty
Potatoes (boiled, peeled and mashed) – 3 medium sized
Bread slices (I used brown bread) – 3 slices
Dry mango powder (amchoor powder) – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Green coriander (chopped) – 1 tbsp
Green chillis (chopped) – 2
Salt to taste

Cornflour – 2 tbsp
Water – 1/2 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp

For filling
Beetroot (peeled and grated) – 2 medium
Carrot (grated) – 1 medium
Dry pudina powder – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Ginger (chopped) – 1 tsp
Raisins – 1 tbsp
Roasted peanuts (crushed) – 2 tbsp
Mixed roasted seeds (flax-seeds, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, cucumber seeds) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tsp

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients of the patty together and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they splutter add ginger and saute for a minute.
  3. Throw in beetroot, carrot and rest of the ingredients and saute for 4-5 minutes. Let it cool.
  4. Divide potato mixture in 6 equal parts. Flatten each one on your palm, keep a little filling in the centre, close it and roll them into flat patties.
  5. Mix cornflour in water to make a paste.
  6. Heat little oil in a nonstick pan, dip each patty in the cornflour paste and place it on the pan.
  7. Fry till they turn golden on both sides.
  8. Serve with green mint chutney and sliced onions.

Fried Rohu in Mustard and Ajwain

Given that I am such a big fish eater it only makes sense to start the blog year with a fish recipe. Rohu is a river water fish and it’s taste in itself is so sweet that you don’t need too many spices to prepare it. This one is a very Bengali/UP preparation with just mustard and ajwain seeds. Cooking in mustard oil creates some magic in the kitchen and I for one cannot resist the aroma. The recipe is simple. Try it and thank me later.

Ingredients
Rohu (cut into small pieces) – 500 gms 
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Ajwain seeds – 1 tbsp
Mustard oil – 4 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon – 1/2
Method:
  1. Wash the fish, marinate in turmeric powder and salt, keep aside for half an hour.
  2. Wash away the turmeric powder and salt.
  3. Mix salt, red chili powder, mustard seeds and ajwain seeds together. Add this mix to fish pieces.
  4. Heat oil in a pan. Add fish pieces and shallow fry till they are crispy on the edges.
  5. Sqeeze lemon juice on top and serve with green chutney.

Suhaal with boiled potatoes – A snack from Uttar Pradesh

If you’ve ever wandered in the bylanes of Lucknow, Banaras or any other city in Uttar Pradesh you must have found people snacking on something beyond kachori and samosas. These crispy, savoury pastries called suhaal. Since its eaten with spicy boiled potatoes you can also call it a disentegrated samosa. Now, we don’t have enough places that make decent UP style samosas or kachoris in Mumbai so finding suhaal is out of question. So this Diwali when I was craving for some I thought of making it for brunch. Sharing the recipe was the obvious next step after we gobbled down all the suhaals with the yummy potatoes. By the way they can also be eaten with pickle or boiled, spiced white peas (also know as ragda in Mumbai). But trust me, potatoes are the best. So go ahead, try the recipe and let me know how they turned out.
Ingredients
Maida or all purpose flour –  250 gms
Oil – 4 tbsp for flour and 500 ml for frying
Ajwain – 2 tsp
Salt 2 tsp
For potatoes
Potatoes (boiled) – 3 medium sized
Spring onion – 1
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 1/2 tsp
Fresh coriander (chopped) – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Method
  1. Mix maida and oil till all of it is soaked in oil.
  2. Add ajwain, salt and water and knead it in a tight dough.
  3. Make small balls and roll each one into thin disks.
  4. Prick them with a fork. This is to avoid them from puffing up while frying.
  5. Now cut each disk into halves, fold every half to form a triangle. Use a little water to stick the corners together.
  6. Heat oil in a wok and fry the triangles till they turn crisp and brown. Don’t fry more than 5-6 at a time.
  7. Remove and keep aside. Let them cool down.
  8. Peel and mash the potatoes, add all the ingredients and mix.
  9. Serve the crispy suhaal with spiced, boiled potatoes.