Mushrooms and hearty coconut greens: Nik Sharma's winter vegetable recipes

Nik Sharma
·3-min read

Besides winter ingredients, these recipes all share one ingredient: nostalgia. Built on the techniques of roasting and braising that develop flavour and texture, they are inspired by some of my favourite childhood comfort foods from India, including vegetables such as cabbage, chickpeas and mushrooms alongside the nutty fragrance of ghee and coconut.

Braised cabbage, cauliflower and carrot with coconut (pictured above)

This dish is inspired by foogath, a Goan dish in which cabbage and sometimes other vegetables are braised and cooked with spices, then topped with fresh coconut. In this version, the carrots bring a spot of sweetness, while the cauliflower adds a contrasting texture to that of the cabbage.

Prep 5 min
Cook 22 min
Serves 4

2 tbsp neutral oil
1
cinnamon stick (roughly 5cm long)
3 whole cloves
1 tsp sesame seeds
5cm piece fresh ginger,
peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 green chilli, seeds, pith and stem discared, flesh minced
3 carrots, trimmed, peeled and finely diced
400g cauliflower florets
One cabbage
(about 700g), shredded
½ tsp ground black pepper
Fine sea salt
20g shredded unsweetened fresh coconut
10g chopped fresh coriander leaves


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, cloves and sesame seeds and saute for 30 seconds, until the seeds sizzle. Add the ginger and chilli and fry for a minute, until the ginger becomes fragrant.

Add the cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots, season with the pepper and salt, then fold over the vegetables to coat them with the spices.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and leave it to cook gently for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are completely tender. Fold in the coconut, remove from the heat, then taste and season, if necessary.

Transfer to a serving dish and top with the fresh coriander leaves before serving.

Mushrooms with roasted chickpea sauce

Roasting the chickpea flour builds a smoky aroma for the sauce in which the sauteed mushrooms bathe. Serve this as a side and, if you do end up with leftovers, they makes a good topping for crostini, too. You can skip the ghee or butter in favour of olive oil (an olive oil-based butter would also be fantastic here) to make it dairy-free.

Prep 5 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

For the roasted chickpea sauce
30g gram flour
2 tbsp
ghee or unsalted butter
1 garlic clove
, peeled and grated
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground turmeric
¾ tsp ground smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground cayenne
, or hot red chilli powder
240ml
vegetable or chicken stock
Fine sea salt

For the mushrooms
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
28
5g fresh mushrooms (I like shiitake or button)
½ tsp ground black pepper
Fine sea salt
2-3 tbsp (10g) chopped fresh
coriander leaves
1 tbsp
lime juice

Heat a saucepan over medium heat, add the gram flour and toast, stirring occasionally, for about four minutes, until the flour becomes fragrant with a nutty aroma and turns light brown.

Remove from the heat, stir in the ghee, then add the garlic, return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the garam masala and turmeric and cook for another 30-45 seconds, until fragrant. Add the paprika and cayenne, followed by the stock, and whisk smooth.

Cook until the liquid thickens – about 15 minutes – taste and season with salt. Take off the heat and set aside. If the sauce is too thick, thin it out by stirring in 30ml water a little at a time.

For the mushrooms, heat the ghee or butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for about three minutes, until they are tender and light brown. Sprinkle the black pepper over the mushrooms, season with salt and toss to coat.

Remove from the heat, fold the chickpea sauce through the mushrooms, add the coriander and lime juice, and serve immediately.