One of my favorite ingredients, I scarcely like to go a week without eating mushrooms and will often incorporate them into rice or dishes that don’t ordinarily call for them. But sometimes I like to make a dish in which the mushrooms shine as the starring ingredient. That and my usual preference for Indian food means plenty of mushroomcurries being served at my table.
This time I marinated whole tender button mushrooms in a thick and zesty Indian yogurt and spice “tikka” or marinade. As if these wouldn’t be good enough by themselves, I simmered them gently in an incredible smooth Indian-spiced tomato and cashew gravy. Using the mushrooms whole and only gently simmering them in the gravy keeps them plump and meaty for enjoying them as a whole wonderful mushroom bite with each forkful. Served with some simple saffron rice, this mushroom curry made an extraordinarily colorful and delicious meal.
Don’t let the rather long list of ingredients intimidate you. It’s not a complicated dish to make.
Mushroom Tikka Masala
Recipe by Lisa Turner Cuisine: Indian Published on September 22, 2015
Plump, tender whole mushrooms marinated in a thick Indian yogurt tikka and simmered in a vibrant and zesty tomato and cashew sauce
1 to 2 red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 to 60 minutes and drained
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut or brown sugar
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
Prepare the tikka by whisking together the yogurt or coconut milk, lemon juice and chickpea flour in a large bowl. Add the spices, garlic, ginger and salt, and whisk until blended. Stir in the mushrooms until well coated.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mushroom mixture to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to brown and release their juices. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl, stir to coat the mushrooms again, and let cool to room temperature. Cover and let marinate for another 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
To make the spice blend, dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and black peppercorns in small unoiled saucepan or frying pan over medium-low heat, tossing or stirring frequently, until they darken a few shades. Transfer to a small blender or spice grinder and grind into a powder. Stir in the turmeric, chili powder, paprika, garam masala and nutmeg. Set aside.
To make the gravy, heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion to the pan and sauté, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chilies, and cook for another few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the cashews, tomatoes and spice blend. Process until smooth.
Return the mixture to the pan, adding a few teaspoons of oil if the pan is too dry. Simmer over medium heat until the mixture has thickened, stirring often — about 10 minutes. Stir in the red pepper, sugar and fenugreek leaves. Cook for another few minutes and then stir in the marinated mushrooms and salt. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped cilantro if desired alongside savory Indian flat breads or fresh cooked rice.