Mushroom Bassar: White Button Mushrooms in Onion Chile Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Chef Neela Paniz, Neela’s, Napa, CA


Yield: 24 one-cup servings

Note from the chef: Growing up in a Sindhi house I was used to various recipes called “Bassar”.  Loosely translated it meant with lots of onions.  Here I have given you a basic Bassar sauce recipe and finished it with a mélange of mushrooms.  Serve it with Basmati rice or Indian flatbreads.  Interestingly enough it also does very well as a sauce for pasta or on a slice of crusty bread. You can increase the number of Serrano chilis to the degree of heat desired.


1 ½ cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
7 pounds 4 ounces thinly sliced yellow onions (About 12 medium-sized onions)
4 ounces peeled fresh ginger, julienned
6 to 12 green Serrano chiles, halved and thinly sliced on the bias
3  pounds tomatoes, halved and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons salt
6 pounds white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced ¼ inch thick
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


Heat ¾ cup of the oil in a large rondeau.  Add the cumin seeds and fry until they sizzle.

Add the onions, ginger, and chiles and sauté over medium heat until the onions are wilted and lightly browned.

Add the tomatoes, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric.  Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes to incorporate the spices.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt, mix well, and simmer covered for 10 to 15 minutes.

In another large rondeau, heat the remaining ¾ cup oil.  Add the mushrooms and remaining 1 tablespoon salt.  Sauté on medium-high heat until the mushrooms are browned lightly but not dry.

Add the “Bassar” sauce and stir well to mix in the browned mushrooms.  Cover and cook on low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, to bring the flavors together.  Remove from the heat and refrigerate until service.

For each serving, to order: Serve 1 cup Mushroom Bassar garnished with cilantro.


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