Rahul’s friend was oh-so-kind to get us some beautiful, huge, mushrooms from the pristine valleys of Kashmir! These are from the Portobello family of mushrooms. They have such an earthy smell that I got transported straight to a woody forest. Keeping with the forest-y essence, this dish calls for a variety of whole spices.
I’m no expert in recipes from the valley. This recipe is credited partly to a Kashmiri acquaintance, my obsession of ordering Nadru (lotus steam) in Yakhni gravy at every opportunity and my research of various blogs and write-ups on Yakhni gravy and its evolution from Turkish/Greek cuisine to Kashmiri cuisine.
A slow cooked dish, without our strong masalas, Indianized over time, yet maintaining its origins, that’s Yakhni Gravy for you. My version is sans any onion or garlic.
Note: If you’re not lucky enough to get access to these mushrooms, try it with other varieties (Portobello/Shitake) and let me know how it turns out 🙂 I did try it with regular brown mushrooms as well and it was equally good.
Mushrooms: 250 gms
Thick Curd: 250 gms
Bay leaves: 2
Cinnamon stick: 3 inches
Cardamom: 4 pods
Caraway seeds (Shahi Jeera): 1 tsp
Saffron strands: a pinch
Asafoetida powder: 1/2 tsp
Crushed Fennel Seeds: 1 tbsp
Dry ginger powder: 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
Garam masala: 1 tsp
Kasuri Methi: 1 tsp
Dry mint: 1 tsp
Neutral Oil/Ghee: 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Add oil/ghee in a heated wok. Once the oil is heated, add all the whole spices – Bay leaves, Cardamom, Caraway seeds, Cloves and Cinnamon. Let it steep in the oil/ghee for 2-3 mins on low heat. You will notice the aromas filling up your kitchen!
In the meanwhile chop mushrooms into 1 inch blocks (in case of Kashmiri mushrooms, you can even keep it whole with just a slit on the head). Add the mushrooms to the spices, add salt, and cook on medium flame till the water oozes out of it. Now lower the heat and cook for 8-10 mins.
For making a broth of all those lovely spices and the earthy mushrooms, we add 200 ml of water and transfer the spices and mushrooms from the wok to a pressure cooker.
Add fennel seed powder, black pepper powder, dry ginger powder and pressure cook for 4-6 whistles depending on your pressure cooker. Then lower the flame and cook for 15 mins.
Once the steam settles, open the cooker and transfer the contents back to the wok. Add garam masala, mint and kasuri methi to it and cook for 2-3 mins.
Beat the curd to make it smooth and lump free, add saffron strands and add this to the wok. Keep the heat on low and keep stirring continuously to avoid the curd from splitting. If you find that the gravy is watery, you may add 1 tsbp of cornflour or rice flour dissolved in 2 tbsps water.
Switch off the flame and let it sit for 10-15 mins.
Serve with chappati or rice!
If you try out this recipe, please write to us in the comments or share your pictures with us!