Lifafa mushrooms, braised spinach roasted tomato-sesame chutney

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This mushroom pastry recipe can be made in a variety of ways. Follow Vineet Bhatia's fill recipe to create an impressive starter or simply make the puff pastry and mushroom elements and serve with a salad as a light lunch. Some of the more unusual spices for this vegetarian dish can be purchased at an Indian supermarket or online.

First published in 2015




Lifafa mushrooms

Braised spinach

Tomato-sesame chutney

To plate

  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch of sugar


To make the tomato-sesame chutney, heat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Roast the tomatoes for 30 minutes, skin and then chop
Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. As they splutter, add the ginger and green chilli and sauté for a minute
Add the curry leaves, chilli powder and asafoetida and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, sugar and some salt
Simmer until the chutney has thickened, then remove from the heat and leave to cool. Stir in the chopped coriander and sesame seeds, and set aside until needed
To make the Lifafa mushrooms, heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and as they begin to splutter add the garlic, ginger, green chilli and onion. Sauté over a high heat to soften but do not colour
Add the chopped mushrooms and red chilli powder to the ginger and onion mix and stir-fry until the mushrooms are cooked
Remove from the heat and add the salt. Mix and tip the mushrooms into a colander so any excess liquid will ooze out. Leave for 30 minutes to cool
Roll each pastry sheet out to 12.5 x 17.5cm
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry
Heat the oven to 175°C/Gas mark 3-4. Place 1 spinach leaf across the centre of each puff pastry sheet, top with a mound of mushrooms and top again with another spinach leaf
Fold the puff pastry over the spinach to make a parcel. Turn the parcel over, place on a roasting tray, brush with the beaten egg and bake for 7 minutes or until the puff pastry turns golden
To make the braised spinach, heat the vegetable oil and butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic, ginger and shallot and sauté until softened but not coloured
Add the spinach, salt and garam masala and sauté till the spinach is cooked. Add double cream, bring to a boil and remove from the heat
Make a balsamic reduction by putting the balsamic vinegar into a pan and set the heat to high. Boil the vinegar until It reduces by about half, whisking continuously so as not to burn it
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Once reduced, add a pinch of sugar and continue to simmer until it has reached a syrupy consistency
  • 1 pinch of sugar
Dress the spinach with the balsamic reduction. Spoon the braised spinach onto the plates. Place a mushroom lifafa on the spinach and garnish with a quenelle of tomato-sesame chutney
First published in 2015

While Vineet Bhatia has borrowed from European traditions to plate up his food, the manner and matter of his dishes are unmistakably those of India, handled with immense sophistication and personal panache.

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