How do you feel about mushrooms? I have seen people on both ends of the spectrum – some who love mushrooms and some who hate them. Mushroom lovers can eat them raw in salads, in omelettes, on pizza, in pasta, with meat, on burgers…you name it and they are up for adding mushrooms to it. Mushroom haters – not so much – they hate the smell, the texture, and above all the taste. I find myself somewhere in between the two extremes. I love a fresh, flavorful mushroom dish. However, anything cooked with mushrooms that were not fresh to begin with, is most likely a recipe for disaster.
While buying mushrooms, I look for the ones that are firm to touch and the “gills” on the underside of the mushroom are not visible, that is the stem and the top are attached all the way when you look at it from the stem side…makes sense? Soft mushrooms are over ripe and would most likely result in a rubbery texture after being cooked. There are many different kinds of mushrooms – white button mushrooms, portobello, baby bella/ crimini, shiitake, and the list goes on. My personal favorites to cook with are the baby bellas or criminis. Most of the Indian recipes do well with white button mushrooms too. Nutritiously, mushrooms are considered to be low in sodium, low in saturated fats and cholesterol, and high in vitamins and minerals.
This recipe of mushroom and peas curry – more popularly known as mushroom mutter, turns out best with baby bella mushrooms. There is a little bit of prep work involved but trust me when I say that it’s worth it. If you are a mushroom fan, you will love this dish. If you’re not one – give this recipe a try – may be it will convert you…:P
Mushrooms – 8 oz/250 gms
Peas – 1/2 cup (frozen or fresh)
White or yellow Onion – 1 small
Garlic – 1 big clove
Green chilli – 1 (optional)
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Tomato – 1 big
Oil – 2 tbsp (divided)
Green Cardamom – 1
Heeng/asafoetida – a pinch (optional)
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1 tablespoon
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Garam masala – 1/4 teaspoon
Kasuri methi – 1/2 teaspoon
Heavy cream- 1 tablespoon (optional)
Wipe the mushrooms with a wet paper towel to get the dirt off. Mushrooms have a lot of water in them and washing them in water makes them even more moist and kind of mushy so wiping them clean works better. Slice the mushrooms. Set a heavy bottomed skillet on medium high heat (cast iron works great or if you are a fan of non-stick, feel free to use it). Add half a tablespoon of oil to the skillet and add the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms sweat and loose their moisture till they turn a nice deep brown in color and look a bit dried. While the mushrooms are cooking, finely chop the onion, tomato and green chilli (if using). Grate or mince ginger and garlic.
Once the mushrooms are done, take them out in a bowl and add the remaining oil to the pan. Break apart the pod of green cardamom. Once the oil is shimmering, add green cardamom (seeds and skin), asafoetida and cumin seeds. Wait for the cumin seeds to splutter and then add garlic, green chilli and onions, in that order. Add a pinch of salt so that the onions loose their moisture and cook faster. Keep stirring till the onions turn a light golden brown and almost translucent. At this point add your coriander powder and turmeric. Stir for another 30 seconds and then add your chopped tomato. Cook till the oil separates from this mixture – you will see tiny droplets of oil forming on the sides of the pan. This is an indication that our masala is cooked, the raw flavor is gone, and it is ready to move on to the next step. This should take no more than 5-7 minutes.
Add the peas, mix, and then add the cooked mushroom. Add salt, about 1/4 cup water and give everything one more big mix. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take the lid off, add garam masala, heavy cream (if using) and kasuri methi. Mix, give a taste check and adjust seasonings. You might want to fish out the green cardamom skin that we added, if you can. Its flavor can be overwhelming if you bite on to it. Cover the pan, turn off the stove and let it sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mingle. Serve hot with chapaati/roti or rice. Give it a try and let me know how did you like it.
Love – Vaishali.
Tools used –
Heavy bottomed skillet with lid