Choti Bahu actor Rubina Dilaik recently posted a video on Instagram in which she is seen relishing a plate of roasted mushrooms.
The mushrooms that you see in the video are found on the foothills of the Himalayas, also known as “gucchi”. One of the most sought-after edible mushrooms, guchhi is known for its spongy, honeycombed head and savoury flavour but all of that comes at a high price. It is known to be one of the most expensive mushrooms, with only 500 gm gucchi costing up to Rs 18,000, according to organickashmir.com.
Guchhi mushroom is a species of fungus in the family Morchellaceae of the Ascomycota. They are pale yellow in colour with large pits and ridges on the surface of the cap, raised on a large white stem.
Apart from its flavour, guchhi also owes its high price to the challenges in cultivation. The mushrooms cannot be cultivated commercially and grow in conifer forests across temperature regions, and the foothills in Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, and Jammu and Kashmir. And it takes months for villagers to collect enough of these mushrooms, dry them and bring them to the market.
These mushrooms usually grow in clusters on logs of decaying wood, leaves or humus soil. They may or may not grow in the same spot the next season, which only makes the process of collection more tedious.
These mushrooms are also replete with health benefits. They are rich in potassium, vitamins and copper. They are also a rich source of vitamin D apart from several B-vitamins, according to thegreatmorel.com. It is further rich in antioxidants that prevent health issues including heart diseases and diabetes by removing reactive oxygen species that harm the body.
Guchhi can be used to make a lot of dishes, the most popular among them being gucchi pulao. You can also slice them in half and sear them on high heat, as shown in Rubina’s video.