Goa gets 100 inches of rain. And so we can safely say when it pours it pours. You cannot escape getting drenched. With the rains comes the ban on deep sea fishing and so the trawlers do not venture in the seas. Goan being Goans miss their fish and some go fishing and fish in the riversides. It’s common to see men patiently plying their nylon strings with different baits and trying their luck.
Then comes the month of Shravan so no fish or chicken But it’s the right time for mushrooms or Almi as they are called here!
Not for us are the common button mushrooms that are available all year round but the delicious ones that grow in the forests, on the anthills. Sharavan with its play of heavy rains and sunlight helps these delicacies to grow. They are highly sought out and hence very expensive at Rs.500/- to 700/- for 100 buds the vendor says they are a steal! As a buyer I am yet to count 100 of them in a packet.
The packaging is done not in plastic cloth but in the leaves that are picked from the forest. (In my desire to finish buying them I have never checked the name of the tree from which the leaves come from. Will rectify matters this season.) They are displayed on the leaves and you bargain with the lady as,
“ Var Bai. Bare Valle Kalye asa!”
“ Vallle Ge? Kashe they. 100 Asa? Mesun ghalta? Mage?”
“Avaish Naka Ge”
Translated you ask the lady “how much “
“ Take Bai. They are big buds!”
Big ones? How much? Are they 100? Will you count and give me 100?”
Loosely translated Avaish is mother mine I do not want them.
Go around then come back because she has the best ones and tell her that you are willing to buy 2 or 3 packets how much she charge you. So she will tell you say 600/- you end up paying 500/- if there is too much competition and if you are lucky.
Then begins the hectic race.
They are dirty and need to be washed. The girls in charge first soak them, change 3-4 waters rubbing them as you change the water. Bear in mind that this is the best soil that you can get so each change of water ends up in the pots for none of us want to go down and pour the water in the garden. After the last change the girls are busy at work. Armed with toothbrushes set aside for this very purpose they single-mindedly clean the mushrooms. The ones that have bloomed are thrown out but the mushrooms are segregated. The small or medium ones end up in tonak. The big ones are set aside for Almi fry. Check out the tonak here but for Almi fry………….sluuuuuuuuuuuurp the best thing on this side of the world just follow me.
This is my Blogging Marathon entry for the month long Marathon under the theme” Seasonal”!
- Almi /mushrooms
- Chilli powder
- Turmeric powder
- Rava or coarse rice powder
- On a clean cloth dry the Almi/mushrooms.
- Apply salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder and set aside, say for ½ an hour.( See notes)
- At the end of the ½ hour there is some amount of water that has oozed out of the mushrooms (osmosis at work) take the mushrooms and dredge then in the rava or coarsely ground rice flour. Since the mushrooms are wet the flour or rava will stick to the mushroom.
- Transfer the mushroom to a non-stick tava and add oil.
- Cook covered on low flame after about 5-7 minutes flip the mushrooms and cook on the other side. They are done when there are brownish spots on the mushrooms or the flour.
- I am sorry I cannot show you a picture of the cooked mushrooms. The clamour for the mushrooms is so like a fish market that I always have forgotten to get the picture. Maybe this year I will be lucky! Keeping my fingers crossed!
I cannot tell you the exact time for which I keep the mushrooms marinating as I am busy making the tonak at the time. Generally I keep my fried and ground masala in the freezer ready just need to cook the rest of the mushrooms then add the masala that takes 30 to 45 minutes.
This is the last thing that I fry.
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