Shahi Mushroms and a local food rant.

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I visited Southern Ontario this past weekend to attend a family wedding and I took the opportunity to visit some of my old haunts. At the Kitchener Market I bumped into an old friend, Dean, who has just set up a booth to sell mushrooms there.   He’s been selling at the St Jacobs Market for years and decided to try his luck in Kitchener.

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I bought a pound of mixed mushrooms and he gifted me a pound of portobellos. Tonight they became dinner.

I’d been craving Indian food all day and a Google search turned up a recipe for Shahi Shrooms.

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Shahi means royal referring to the Imperial Court and generally refers to a luxury  food cooked with butter, tomatoes,  cream and spices. I had most of the ingredients in my cupboard.

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While the mushrooms slowly cooked down in the butter I roasted and ground up a Shahi masala mix. Cinnamon, pepper, cumin, coriander, fennel, star anise, nutmeg and cardamom.

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When the time came I sautéed ginger, garlic, onions, chilies and curry leaves then added some more spices – turmeric, chili flakes and more cumin. Water and tomato puree turned it all into a sauce and tahini, cream, lime juice and the masala mix finished it off.

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After adding the mushrooms back in, I simmered it for 20 minutes while the rice cooked.

I’d absolutely make this again. The mushrooms were big and meaty and gave the dish a substantial feel and while the flavors were ‘loud ‘,  they worked perfectly together.

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And now for the shameless plug for my friend’s mushroom stall and a wee rant about saving the world.  If you find yourself in Kitchener on  a Saturday morning make the effort to go out and support your local market and Dean Nafziger’s mushroom stall. Markets survive and vendors return only when people buy things. If you find yourself somewhere else on the world on a Saturday, find out where your closest market is and shop there. This year I’ve been to markets in Killaloe, Barry’s Bay, Combermere, Lakefield, Cobden, Stafford, Maynooth, Ottawa, Kitchener, St Jacobs, Haliburton, Bancroft and Fort Myers.

Eating local food is probably the single biggest impact any of us can have on reducing our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.  Supporting local businesses builds community. And local food tastes better. Win-win – win.

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Support your local markets and save the world.

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