Maitake Pot Roast

Delicately pleated, gigantic (rivaling a large cauliflower in size) maitake mushroom is certain to catch your attention. It had to be split in half –alas– to fit into the greengrocer’s brown paper bag. A simple overnight marinade, whole-cooked and voilà!! Enjoy.


Large kerai/wok with lid.


  • 1 lb Maitake mushroom
  • Marinade overnight in ziplock bag: 3 tbsp EVOO + 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce + 3 tbsp garlic-miso spice (optional) + dash of salt


The ziplock bag helps in getting the marinade all into the mushroom which absorbs the marinade line a sponge. Heat a wok to medium-high, place the maitake mushroom delicately and cover the wok. Let brown for 5 min. Flip over and brown other sides for 5 min. When it starts to ooze liquid, turn heat-down to slow-medium and let steam till all the liquid dries up.

Slice and serve.


  1. Of course, you can pull apart the maitake into smaller parts (the stems are delicious too). But cooking it whole is an interesting treatment. I am not a big fan of whole cooked cauliflower, but the whole maitake blew my mind!
  2. Note that since the marinade has oil, it does not need more oil and it also browns neatly.
  3. The miso-garlic spice was again from the farmer’s market, but you could used any other spice mix of your choice– or none at all. The less the distraction with spices, the more you appreciate the fungus!

Rye Maitake Strata in Eggplant Sauce

The impulsive purchases from a local Farmer’s Market is transformed to a delectable Savory Bread Pudding, inspired by the Italian Strata. The depth of flavor is from the Rye Batard from the local baker; umami from maitake (hen of the woods) and morel mushrooms from a CSA farmer; je ne sais quoi from baba ganoush (eggplant sauce) from a Mediterranean stand. Simple to slap together with a few more pantry ingredients. Enjoy!


Blender; Loaf pan, parchment paper.


  • Building Block Layers:
    • 1 maitake mushroom (sliced into 4 steak pieces, 1.5 cm thick, browned on each side on a dry pan for at least 2 minutes)
    • 8 slices of rye batard, each about 3/4 inch thick
  • Flavor base: maitake mushroom crumbs + 4 morel mushrooms diced + 1 quarter onion diced (dry roasted on thick bottom pan, deglazed with a little dry white wine from your cellar)
  • Liquid: 1 cup baba ganoush + 2 cups milk + 3 eggs + 1/4 cup chili EVOO
  • Spices: 2 tsps harissa powder + garlic salt to taste


Add all ingredients, except building block layers, in the blender and liquify until smooth.

In a sealable (tupperware box) lay the bread and maitake steaks in alternate layers. Pour the liquid over the layers to cover. Seal the box and let soak overnight or for about 4 hours. Turn the box around for the liquid to penetrate evenly on all siders. Or, soak until all the liquid is absorbed.

Unload onto a parchment paper and transfer with the parchment onto a loaf pan (or any other baking dish of your choice). Bake at 350 F for 1 hr, or until done and lightly browned on top.

Let cool for 10-15 mins. Slice (or spoon).


  1. The traditional strata uses stale bread and the sauce is usually cheese and eggs to hold it all together. This is very delicious too. I wanted to experiment with alternatives here and it turned out to be a hit!
  2. The one above is a quick one with fresh Baba ganoush from the Farmer’s Market, but you can make your own eggplant sauce. Eggplants are not be frowned on- recall their French elevation, aubergine caviar!
  3. The baking time may depend on the kind of baking dish you use– if you use a large bottom baking pan, it will take a shorter time, so keep an eye on it. The compact loaf pan that I used, takes a slightly longer time.
  4. The parchment paper is both a convenient way of moving the content from the soaking pan to the loaf pan and also helps brown and unmould.

Wild Mushroom Chicken Achari

Most Indian pickles (achar) are sour, salty and spicy. Salty ? Yes, like Feta, or preserved black olives, or even salty pretzels. While many find achar irresistible, it is undoubtedly an acquired taste. Even the most ardent Indophiles, if untrained, are known to have tapped out.

Driven by the need for a quick yet toothsome meal for a hungry, fussy bunch, I had cobbled this up which met with stunning success. But, it was so embarrassingly easy, that I had closeted it. Emboldened by the presence of an achari dish amongst “100 essential recipes” in The Flavor Equation (a book I received from secret Santa this year), I am having mine step out of the closet. I have added locally grown wild mushrooms and Fall carrots to elevate the humble chicken breasts. You don’t even have to be an Indophile to enjoy this spectacular briny-spicy dish. Enjoy!

Special tools:

Steaming baskets.


Makes two servings.

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cut thin into 4-5 pieces (or, thin chicken cutlets)
  • veggies: 2 cups loosely packed Maitake mushrooms + 1 cup julienned carrots carrots
  • 1/3 cup store-bought Mango Pickles
  • Seasoning (optional): 1 tsp panch phutana, toasted and powdered
  • Garnish (optional): micro-greens


Mix the chicken with the pickles; mix in the carrots and then gently the mushrooms. Portion out on two plates, add 1 tbsp water in each and sprinkle seasoning on top. Steam for 15-20 mins, till chicken is done.

Garnish and serve hot with grains or bread.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. I adapted the Chinese technique of steaming and I love their bamboo steaming baskets. You may wrap the chicken in aluminium or parchment packets and place directly in your steaming basket.
  2. You can increase the amount of pickles in this recipe to 1/2 cup or more for a more assertive flavor.
  3. Although rice is a friendly accompaniment, buckwheat groats (or even freshly baked rye bread) goes very well.
  4. Pancha phutana is a mix of whole spices. Equal parts by volume of fennel, nigella, cumin, mustard, fenugreek. My grandmother’s secret formula added 1/8 part of dried chilli seeds. I use this here to accentuate the achari-ness.