This summer was so dry around us that it was a bit of a dud from a mushroom foraging year. That’s not to say that we got shut out, as we did find a glorious Chicken of the Woods in The Catskills…but it wasn’t as bountiful as years past. Well, it’s been rainier the past few days, and while walking on our canal trail the other day, my wife and I unexpectedly happened upon a few Vase Shaped Puffballs! Not having been looking for anything, we didn’t have a paper bag on us, so we collected one of the mushrooms and put it in a clean dog poop bag to bring home.
Once we got home, we got to thinking about what to do with our bounty. Vase Shaped Puffballs have a mild taste and a very unique texture…almost like a silken tofu. Given the unique aspects of this particular ingredient, we decided to cube the mushroom’s flesh, sear it, and then simmer it in a richly flavoured tomato based curry sauce! We then finished everything off with some peas and served everything over brown basmati rice! This one was a big winner when all was said and done!
**Note: When you cut into your puffball, it should be white. If there’s discoloration, it’s past its prime. If there is any gill structure or stem formation, it’s not a puffball.**
Time: 45 Minutes
- Puffball Mushroom. We used a Vase Shaped Puffball.
- For your Sauce:
- 2 Large Tomatoes
- 1/2 Red Onion
- A few Cashews
- A few Almonds
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Fresh Ginger
- Slice your onion, and dice your tomatoes.
- Melt some ghee in a large pan, and add in your spices. Let sit for a few moments until the aromas overtake you. Then, add your onions to the pan, and grate in your ginger with a microplane grater. Stir as your onions cook for a couple of minutes until they become opaque.
- Add your tomatoes, cashews, and almonds into the pan, and stir in. Allow to simmer until your tomatoes sweat and lose their form (15-20 minutes).
- As your sauce simmers, wash your mushroom(s). Then, cut the very bottom end (where it attached to the ground) off of your puffball.
- Slice your puffball into round disks about an inch thick, and then remove the tougher outer skin. Then, cut your mushroom into cubes.
- When your tomatoes have lost their form, transfer them to your blender and puree. Keep aside for later.
- Melt some more ghee in your pan (can use the same one you used for your tomatoes, since it’ll be empty at this point). Then, add your cubed mushroom and peas, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushroom starts to brown a little.
- Pour your sauce back into your pan, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and let sit for a few minutes.
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!