Southern Indian Mushroom Masala

We had a house guest at the weekend who was vegetarian. Now I am not one to normally disrupt my meat eating habits, but for a change I decided to cook a meat free dinner for us all. I cooked three Southern Indian dishes of which this mushroom masala was one. In my opinion, it stood out as the best too. I love mushrooms at the best of times, and they work incredibly well with Indian flavours. The veggie loved them as did the rest of the household. I’m one (very large) step to becoming a fully fledged vegetarian.

2 tablespoons ghee (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split yellow lentils
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2cm piece cinnamon stick
1 stalk fresh curry leaves
1 onion (thinly diced)
3 cloves garlic (grated)
2cm piece fresh ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
200g canned chopped tomato
500g button mushrooms
salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the ghee over a moderate heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds, lentils, cumin seeds, cinnamon and curry leaves. Let this sizzle until the mustard seeds start to pop and jump out of the pan. Add the onion and reduce the heat slightly to cook for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more before adding the chilli powder, cumin, coriander, turmeric and tomatoes. Let this come to a simmer then gently cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes until thick. Add the button mushrooms and 300ml water and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes uncovered, until the sauce is thick and clings to the mushrooms. Remove form the heat, season with plenty of salt and pepper and serve hot.

I served mine alongside a couple of other vegetarian sides with fragrant basmati rice.

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