Mushrooms – A Nutritional Powerhouse

The Latin word for mushroom is fungus (plural fungi), and I think it’s one of the most awesome vegetables (that’s what it is more commonly known as or classified as). It’s a nutritional powerhouse – a low-calorie source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that will benefit your health in all sorts of ways. However, that Latin name is what makes my husband and my daughter run the other way when it comes to eating it! They both do not believe in eating the delicious fungus. I, on the other hand, absolutely devour it in any and every shape or form! It is used in almost all the cuisines of the world, and I really love to eat it every chance I get. I often create recipes using it as a star ingredient, like this South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala!

South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala

South Indian Mushroom Pepper Masala

I often make for myself the mushroom kheema, a lemony mushroom pasta, or the mushroom and barley soup during soup season and get creative by using it in recipes like upma, bruschettas or as a filling in pastries. Whenever I eat out, if there is a mushroom something on the menu of a restaurant, like mushroom lasagna, mushroom pizza, mushroom fried rice, etc. whatever I find, I order it! Of all the mushroom dishes I have had at the different restaurants, one of my favorites is the south-Indian style Kalan Milagu Varuval i.e. Mushroom Pepper Masala. 

South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala

It’s a simple, spicy stir fry made with mushrooms as the key ingredients and spiced with fine ground black pepper, along with other aromatics like ginger, garlic and lots of fresh curry leaves. It’s usually served as a side dish along with dal and rice or rotis. Some variations include sliced bell peppers mixed in along with the mushrooms. In my version, I mixed in some crunchy, sweet baby corn!

South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala

My Take on the Traditional Kalan Milagu Varuval

After loving it at a local restaurant, I was excited to recreate the classic South Indian mushroom dish in my kitchen. As always, I put my own spin on the south Indian classic by stirring in fresh baby corn along with the mushrooms. I love baby corn, especially when it’s fresh and I had some handy in my refrigerator from a recent grocery haul. Growing up in India, I remember having fresh baby corn all the time! It made appearances in quite a lot of dishes at Indian-Chinese restaurants but I also have vivid memories of having a curried concoction at Indian restaurants, in the form of Baby Corn & Mushroom Masala. That was the inspiration behind this recipe.

South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala

Give it a try and I bet you’re going to love it as much as I do! I have outlined step-by-step details below that you can follow and easily whip up this signature concoction in your own kitchen. Of course there is a pre-req: you have to love both baby corn and mushrooms 😄 But no worries if you don’t! Just use my basic recipe and substitute mushrooms with any other ingredients that you like, ex. cubed paneer or thinly sliced chicken thighs, lamb or beef, shrimp and baby corn with sliced bell peppers.  

Special Ingredient in my Pepper Fry Recipe

I created my recipe using the Pepper Spice Mix from Flavz Spices. It’s a small business based out of Tempe AZ, creating hand pounded, small batch Indian spice blends, dry rubs and pickles. They were kind enough to send me a bunch of samples, including this one, that I’m slowly using to create some unique recipes, just like their unique spices!

South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala

This Pepper Spice Mix is a perfect blend of various spices to make the pepper spiced stir fry! Of course, you can substitute by making your own mixture of garam masala,  fine ground black pepper, turmeric but it would be great if you ordered this spice mix and some others that this lovely small business makes and show your support for them. 

Please note: I am in no way incentivized by your purchase of the spice mixes. I really loved the product and am recommending them to show my support for this WOC owned and operated small business.

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South Indian Baby Corn & Mushroom Pepper Masala


  • Author: Vasanti
  • Yield: Serves 2-3 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz (227 g) white mushrooms, sliced (see Variations)
  • 6 oz. (170 g) fresh baby corn, cut into 1-inch pieces (see Notes and Variations)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or any other neutral cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 68 curry leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small green chili, thinly sliced (alternatively you can use a dried red chili broken into pieces)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tsp Pepper Spice Mix from Flavz Spices (see Notes)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 45 sprigs of cilantro/coriander, chopped, for garnishing

Instructions

  • In a deep sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the cumin and mustard seeds along with asafoetida, ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves.

  • Sauté for a minute till the seeds crackle and the ginger and garlic turn light golden. Add in the onions.  
  • Sprinkle some salt over the onions to help them sweat.
  • Continue sautéing for 5-7 minutes till they turn soft and translucent.
  • Add the Pepper Spice Mix or other spices if using.
  • Sauté for about a minute to let the spices bloom.

  • Add in the tomatoes. Give them a good stir and add ¼ cup of water. Let it cook, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes cook and most of the moisture evaporates.

  • Stir in the baby corn and mushrooms and toss well to combine.
  • Add in the remaining ¼ cup of water and let it cook uncovered for another 5 minutes till the mushrooms soften and the baby corn is al dente (cooked but still has a slight crunch to it).
  • Adjust seasonings, if needed.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander and serve hot.

Step-by-Step Details

Step: 1

In a deep sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the cumin and mustard seeds along with asafoetida, ginger, garlic, green chilies and curry leaves.

Step: 2

Sauté for a minute till the seeds crackle and the ginger and garlic turn light golden. Add in the onions.

Step: 3

Sprinkle some salt over the onions to help them sweat. Continue sautéing for 5-7 minutes till they turn soft and translucent. Add the Pepper Spice Mix or other spices if using.

Step: 4

Sauté for about a minute to let the spices bloom.

Step: 5

Add in the tomatoes.

Step: 6

Give them a good stir and ¼ cup of water.

Step: 7

Let it cook, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes cook and most of the moisture evaporates.

Step: 8

Stir in the baby corn and mushrooms and toss well to combine.

Step: 9

Add in the remaining ¼ cup of water and let it cook uncovered for another 5 minutes till the mushrooms soften and the baby corn is al dente (cooked but still has a slight crunch to it). Adjust seasonings, if needed.

Step: 10

Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander and serve hot.

Recipe FAQ’s and Notes

No Baby Corn?

If you can’t find baby corn, you can substitute with regular corn kernels or used frozen corn. You don’t need to thaw the frozen corn, simply toss in and it will thaw during the cooking process.

Use a Can

You can also use ½ of 15 0z. can of baby corn, drained and rinsed well

Spice Mix Substitute

You can substitute the spice mix with ½ tsp garam masala, 1 tsp fine ground black pepper, ½ tsp turmeric.

Recipe Variations

Substitute mushrooms with any other ingredients that you like – frozen or fresh green peas, cubed paneer or thinly sliced chicken thighs, lamb or beef, shrimp.

Substitute the baby corn with frozen or fresh green peas or sliced medium bell pepper of any color.

Happy cooking
Vasanti

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Hi I’m Vasanti
…and I ❤️cooking ‘n clicking!!
I share a modern take on Indian cuisine made using nontraditional techniques and ingredients, while staying true to its authenticity. You’ll also find classic recipes from my beloved Maharashtrian culture and heritage.



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