Mushroom 65 – Fiery!!
Andhra Pradesh’s cuisine is known as one of the spiciest in India. And yes, it is true!! This region is famous for its fiery hot food and super spicy pickles. And we totally love it I still remember my first meal at a small hotel in Hyderabad when we had just moved into the city. It was a little late at night and we had been out sight-seeing. We spotted a small hotel and went n for our dinner. There were only plated meals available and we said yes to that. The waiter got us the food and it looked delicious. We were starving. My mom mixed up some rice and dal and fed me. My dad started eating his food simultaneously. After about 30 seconds our faces were RED and I’m sure there was smoke coming out of my nose and ears!! The food was super duper spicy!! We called in the waiter and asked him if he had some ghee or yogurt to coll us off. The answer was no. And then, I have no idea how much water we drank!!!!! We ended up eating plain white rice for dinner as it was too late to go anywhere else!! Such was my first encounter with Hyderabadi cuisine.
But over the years, I have grown to love the food. There are some uniquely Hyderabadi dishes that have gained popularity all over India. Biryani of course tops that list. Next is chicken 65 or the veggie version Mushroom 65. Then there is Gobhi 65, baby corn 65 and aloo 65!! Why 65??? I swear I have no idea!!! All these are yummy dry appetizers and we order them every time we go to a restaurant in India. A lot of people confuse the 65’s with Manchurian. But they are a tad different. In an authentic 65 recipe, we don’t use soy sauce or chilli sauce. Instead green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder and curry leaves are used for flavor. It has a very distinct south Indian flavor because of the curry leaves. I don’t get curry leaves here, so I have omitted that and used some spring onions and cilantro instead.
Mushroom 65 is supposed to be spicy! But if you cannot take the heat, reduce the no. of green chillies and omit the red chilli powder and hot sauce. I used cremini mushrooms (baby portabella) to make this today because I like them a lot and I think they are firmer than regular mushrooms. But you can definetly use white mushrooms also.
Mushrooms – 8 oz (250 gms)
For the batter:
All purpose flour (maida) – 3/4 cup
Corn flour or Corn Starch – 1/4 cup
Pepper powder (white or black) – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 to 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Ajinomoto – a pinch (optional)
Salt – to taste
Water – 1/4 cup (maybe a little more)
For the sauce:
Onion – 1 small (chopped)
Green Chilli/Serrano pepper – 8-10 no. (or as many as you can handle)
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Hot sauce (I use Sriracha) – 1 Tbsp (optional)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic – 3 Tbsp (chopped)
Ginger – 2 tsp (chopped)
Yogurt – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste
Coriander powder – 1 Tbsp
Ajinomoto – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Orange food color – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Oil – for deep frying
- Gently wipe the mushrooms with a wet cloth and clean them. Cut them into quarters, along with the stem.
- Heat oil for deep frying.
- In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients mentioned for the batter. Adjust salt to taste. The batter should be rather thick. You only want to coat the mushrooms lightly.
- Drop all the mushrooms in the batter and toss gently to coat evenly.
- Deep fry the all the mushroom pieces for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat until golden brown. Drain on paper napkins.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and the green chillies. Sauté for 30 seconds. Then add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are softened.
- Mix in the coriander powder, ajinomoto and red chilli powder and sauté for 30 seconds. The add the yogurt, orange food color, hot sauce and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the fried mushrooms and toss to coat all the mushrooms in the masala. Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms absorb all the masala and becomes dry.