Wild mushroom pilau – Meera Sodha


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: Serves 4 - 6

Before I came to Dubai, Indian cuisine was very new to me, and the fact every time I would try it I can only feel a burning sensation as most restaurants here sadly don’t give an option to tone down the spiciness level.

Owing to the large Indian community, Dubai offers some pretty good options authentic, comfort to fine dining etc… I also came across few places where it’s great food and low to mild spicy and I stated to fall in love and decided to buy an Indian cook book “ Made in India by Meera Sodha”. One of the bestseller for 2020. Her book contains 130 recipes collected from three generations of her family, definitely the book you need to introduce yourself to the real every day Indian food.

Today’s recipe :

Today I share with you a vegetarian rice dish. And as you know, rice is a staple in Indian Cuisine. There are over than 250 types of rice grown in India.

So the recipe of the day is “wild mushroom pilau” . A pilau, which is also known as a pilaf, is rice that has been cooked in broth (or stock ) with fresh herbs and spices added. It’s usually fluffy and packed with flavours. 

This dish is a wonderful, make-ahead pilau packed with wild mushrooms, caramelised onions and basmati rice.

You can use any variety of fresh mushrooms, as you can use dried wild mushrooms instead of fresh ones.

The wild mushrooms and the delicate flavour of basmati rice, marry beautifully with the caramelised onions and the spices. And of course, because it’s an Indian rice, it contains a lot of different spices. In this recipe we’ll need the cumin and fennel seeds, the cinnamon, garam masala, a touch of chilli powder and the bay leaf.  All those spices are what makes this pilau so flavourful and delicious. It’s perfect to go with any roasted chicken, as you can serve it as a main course.

You can make it vegan by skipping the butter and use just the oil.

if you like rice check these recipes : “basmati & wild rice with chickpeas, currants & herbs” , or “seafood paella”.

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Wild mushroom pilau – Meera Sodha

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Total time: 55 minutes
  • Serves: Serves 4 - 6


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

Method :

  • 1)

    Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, and leave to soak in a bowl of cold water.

  • 2)

    Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and cut into 0.5cm slices.

  • 3)

    Put 1 tablespoon of rapeseed 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.

  • 4)

    Put 2 tablespoons of rapessed oil into the same pan on a medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Stir for a minute be careful to not burn them, then add the onions. Cook for around 15 – 20 minutes, or until they are soft and have caramelized.

  • 5)

    Add the garlic, black pepper, garam masala, chilli powder and 1½ teaspoons of salt and stir well.

  • 6)

    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. Cook the rice for 20 minutes, or until tender.

    Then add the mushrooms and put the lid back on for a final 10 minutes ( It is very important to lift the lid and cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel, then put the lid back on top.  The tea towel will absorb all the vapour, to avoid the vapour turning into water dropping down on the rice). Use a fork to fold the mushrooms gently so you’ll not break the rice up.

  • 7)

    Garnish with the dill leaves scatter over the dishes. Serve with the lemon wedges to squeeze over, which will brighten all the spices.

    Enjoy !!



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