Family: Schizophyllaceae

Synonnyms: Agaricus alneus, Agaricus alneus, Agaricus multifidus, Apus alneusMerulius alneus, Merulius alneus, Merulius communis, Schizophyllum alneum, Schizophyllum alneum, Schizophyllum commune var. multifidum,Schizophyllum multifidum.

Common Name: Split gill fungus

Local Name: Khookh (खुख)

This mushroom is usually found growing on dead decaying woods as a sessile bracket but rarely it also grows as a parasitic on living wood. Being an annual it is seen growing profusely after the rainy season when it get right amount of humidity and heat which are the ideal condition for its optimum growth. Khookh may develop alone or in clusters. It is greyish to pinkish-yellow shell shaped mushroom that has a wavy lobed pileus margin & splitted gill pattern. As cap in Khookh are  with radial gill-like folds, each of which is centrally split – hence the common name Split Gill is given to this mushroom. Khookh usually grows up to 6 cm in height and 3 cm in diameter.

Khookh Plant:

Cap: white to greyish, fan shaped to flattened, surface is dry hairy, margin irregular, splitting, thin usually incurved; flesh up to 2 cm in thickness tough, leathery, pallid, unchanging.

Gills: whitish to pinkish or greyish; split lengthwise, rolling back covering the space between the gills, 3 mm broad.

Khookh growing in cluster on a fallen tree

Stem:  rudimentary, very short and often not visible above the substrate surface; indeed, when underneath dead wood the fruitbodies are attached centrally via the infertile surface and without any stem.

Spores: whitish. Cylindrical to ellipsoidal; smooth, 4-6 x 1.5-2.5µm.

Taste and odour, mild. Stalk (stipe) usually very small or absent lateral to slightly eccentric, 3.3 cm long, 0.4 cm broad, flesh tough, leathery, pallid solid, tomentose, veil absent.

Khookh can be collected after rainy season to pre winter period of the year.

Edible uses:

These wild mushrooms are consumed in a variety of ways and recipes differ in different localities. In Northeast India, in the state Manipur it is known as kanglayen and one of the favourite ingredients for Manipuri-style pancakes called paaknam 3.

In Mizoram, the local name is pasi (pa means mushroomsi means tiny) and it is one of the highest rated edible mushrooms among the Mizo community 3. However, the most common and popular method of its consumption in Western Himalayas is by preparing pulao. mix vegetable and soup etc.

Vegetable:

 Khookh mostly cooked as vegetable in combination with potatoes and can be eaten along with rice or chapattis. Sometime these are cooked with other vegetable as mix vegetable.     

Ingredients required:

Freshly harvested and washed  Khookh , 1/2 kg; medium sized potato; 2-4, mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder, 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, 1 tea­­­­­­­­ spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chillies, 2-4; medium sized ground onion, 2-3;  ground garlic cloves, 4-5; tomato puree 2 cup, cream, 3-5 table spoon, green coriander leaves(chopped), 1/2 cup amount; branded garam masala,1/2 table spoon amount; salt, according to taste.

Method:

Khookh and chopped potato (chopped vegetable for preparing mix veg) are sauted in hot oil along with spices listed above like coriander, cumin seeds, chillies, turmeric, onion and garlic paste, tomato puree and cream in sequence. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes till become soft. Garnish recipe with chopped green coriander leaves and garam masala before serving.

Pulao:

 Palao is a spicy rice dish prepared by cooking rice with, Khookh, green vegetables and spices.

Ingredients:

Rice,2 cup amount; Khookh,1/2 cup amount, peas, ¼ cup amount; finely chopped beans, ¼ cup amount; mustard oil, 3-4 table spoons; coriander powder, 1 table spoon; fenugreek powder, 1 tea­­­­­­­­ spoon; cumin seed, 1 table spoon turmeric powder, 1 table spoon; red chillies, chopped medium sized onion, 1-2;chopped tomato,2; cinnamon powder, ¼ tea spoon; cloves, 4;turmeric powder, ½ table spoon;  2-4; green coriander leaves(chopped), 1/2 cup amount; branded garam masala,1/2 table spoon amount; salt, according to taste.

Method:

Take oil in a pressure cooker and saute spices listed above with rice, green vegetable and Khookh in hot oil. Add 6 cup amount water to it stir well.  Add garam masala. Close the lid and cook for 2 whistles. Reduce the flame to low after 1st whistles and cook until another whistle. Turn off the flame and let it cool down. Open the lid carefully and fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer palao to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with desi ghee or curd.

Soup:

Ingredients:

Khookh and Locally available vegetable(chopped) of rainy season ,1/2 kg; mint leaves,10-15(chopped); corn flour, 1 spoon; black pepper powder,1/4 tea spoon, salt acc.to taste.

Method:

Boil Khookh and vegetable in one litre water till they are soft, mesh these manually and sieve the extract in a container. Add to it mint leaves, corn flour, black pepper and salt, then boil for 5-10 minutes. Now soup is ready to serve.

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal Value:

Mushrooms have been shown to have profound health promoting benefits as it contain a wide variety of bioactive compounds including terpenoids, steroids, phenols, nucleotides and their derivatives glycoproteins and polysaccharides 1. Polysaccharides shows considerable anti-cancer activity. It is proved useful for recurrent and inoperable gastric cancer, as well as increasing survival times of patients with head and neck cancers without any side effects. Polysaccharides and phenolic compounds present in this mushroom express antioxidant properties. It shows curative properties against bacteria and fungi infections and thus they can be used as potential antimicrobial agents 2.

References:

  1. Borchers, A.T. (1999). Mushrooms, tumors and immunity. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine, 221 (4), 281-293
  2. , A. H. S., Noorlidah, A., & Vikineswary, S. (2014). Antimicrobial activities of split gill mushroom Schizophyllum commune Fr. American Journal of Research Communication2(7), 113-124.
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schizophyllum_commune

 

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