Wild Mushroom Pilau

Make use of earthy, wild mushrooms with this easy dish from Meera Sodha's Made in India. Perfect for the midweek and the weekend.

Made in India: Cooked in Britain: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
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There are over 100 edible types of mushroom, from delicate chanterelles to fat meaty ceps, floaty oyster mushrooms to flavour-packed morels. I make the most of them by throwing them into a delicately spiced pilau, which is perfect to eat all by itself.

Serves 4


300g basmati rice
250g wild mushrooms, such as ceps, chanterelles, girolles, oysters, trompette de la mort (or 80g wild dried mushrooms, such as porcini)
275g cup mushrooms
5 tbsp rapeseed oil
30g unsalted butter
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 bay leaf (optional)
4cm cinnamon stick
2 large red onions, sliced
6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli powder
600ml hot vegetable stock
25g fresh dill
2 lemons, cut into wedges


1. Rinse the rice in at least 3 changes of water, until the water runs clear, and leave to soak in a bowl of cold water. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and cut into 0.5cm slices.

2. Put 1 tablespoon of oil and 10g of butter into a large, lidded frying pan on a high heat. When the pan is hot and the butter starts to foam, add a third of the mushrooms. If you overcrowd them, they’ll steam rather than brown. Leave them to cook for a minute without stirring them, then turn them over. When they’re nicely coloured, season and tip them on to a plate. Use the same amount of oil and butter per batch. Set aside.

3. Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the same pan on a medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaf (if using) and cinnamon stick. Stir for a minute, then add the onions. Cook for around 15 minutes, or until they are soft and have caramelized.

4. Next add the garlic, black pepper, garam masala, chilli powder and 1½ teaspoons of salt and stir well. Drain the rice, add it to the pan and gently stir. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to its lowest setting. If you’re using dried mushrooms, rather than fresh, add them now.

5. Cook the rice for 20 minutes, or until tender, then add the mushrooms, folding them in gently so as not to break the rice up, and put the lid back on for a final 10 minutes.

6. Tear up the dill leaves roughly and scatter over the dish. Serve with the lemon wedges to squeeze over, which will brighten all the spices.

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