On my recent visit back to India, many Indian-inspired global culinary creations I encountered, had me convinced that Peri’s Spice Ladle is very much in sync with the food trends in big Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.
Indian food no longer points to over-spiced curries, challenging the palate of its worldwide fans. Today, classic flavors from popular dishes of this versatile cuisine are appearing in a new and more appealing garb. Indian specialties have become globally approachable as home cooked meals, simultaneously gaining much deserved attention on every gourmet’s table.
At a popular restaurant in Mumbai, my palate was piqued by the interesting mix of flavors and ingredients in a crisp lightly spiced mushroom strudel, served topped with saffron pistachio compote.
Back at home in Texas, I played with this well balanced and unique combination of tastes to create my own more home-made version of savory strudel with cremini mushrooms, saffron and pistachio nuts (and some store bought help on the puff pastry.)
Starting with a ready-made puff pastry (or use fillo pastry sheets for even more flaky layers), I slathered warm saffron butter over the dough, and added a simple filling of garlic, mint and thyme mushrooms cooked with a hint of whole cloves, ending my infusion of flavors with a topping of egg wash and ground pistachio nuts.
The result: a stunning savory strudel, which comes together with little effort, is perfect for an elegant evening of entertaining or a classy date night, pairs well with a glass of crisp Zinfandel and a favorite side like Israeli Couscous with Cilantro Pesto or Quinoa Pulao with Caramelized Onion and Walnuts.
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- ½ lb mushrooms (button or creminis), sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon chopped garlic)
- 3 whole cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground red chili or Cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon saffron thread
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- 5-6 pistachio nuts, ground in spice grinder or crushed, for topping
- Melt butter in a small bowl in the microwave oven and add saffron to it; leave aside till required.
- In a pan, heat olive oil with chopped garlic and whole cloves. Add sliced mushroom when the pan is hot and sprinkle ground red chili/ cayenne pepper and cumin over it.
- Stir fry the mushroom for only 1-2 minutes, making sure they don’t get too soft. Turn off the flame and add the salt, cracked black pepper, chopped mint and thyme.
- Preheat a convection oven to 400F.
- Roll out the puff pastry sheet to an approximately 12 inch by 8 inch rectangle. Spread the saffron butter over the entire sheet.
- Put the cooked mushrooms in the center, along the length of the puff pastry sheet, leaving 1-2 inches around the border for folding. First fold in the short sides and then roll the puff pastry over it, to cover the filling.
- Place the strudel seam side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush the top of the strudel with egg wash and sprinkle ground pistachio nuts over it. Cut 4-5 slits on top of the strudel.
- Bake at 400F for 30-35 minutes till the top is golden brown. Let the strudel stand for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
- Sliced Saffron Pistachio and Mushroom Strudel is best served warm along with your favorite side.
- Fillo or Phyllo pastry sheets are single thin sheets of pastry dough; they are easily available in stores around western countries. Lay each sheet of fillo (phyllo) down on a flat surface, and slather with a light layer of saffron butter and place the next sheet over it, use 10 sheets of dough for making this strudel. The crisp layers of fillo (phyllo) flavored with saffron butter, add an amazing touch to this creation.