Monday, 4 February 2013

Matar Mushroom or Mushroom and Peas Curry...till the chicken makes its appearance!



It’s been quite some time since I last wrote on food. Surprising, considering the fact that it occupies my mind most of the time - what to cook for breakfast/lunch/dinner/lunch box and the baby! All the more now since I have my sis-in-law visiting and I want the girl to have a break from her own cooking and go back singing paeans about my cooking. Did I see a smirk on your face just now?


In all honesty, I am yet to recover from my vacation mode. I did not put up a finger while I was at my parents’ home and even at my in-law’s home. Things were being done magically. Or to be precise, by my sister and mom at the parents’ place and by my younger sis-in-law at my in-laws’ place. All I did was stretch out my hand for that second helping. That might explain the raised eyebrows aimed at me by my colleagues at work. It seems two weeks of vacation has taken a heavy toll on my already ‘fragile’ weight.


Before I indulge in my oft repeated ‘going on an exercise-diet regime’, let me share this very simple mushroom and peas recipe with you. My dad had packed some fresh green peas from his kitchen garden for us and I thought it fitting that his home grown peas find a mention here.  Also, the husband is away on office work and so there is no meat at home. Who will go to the market and get chicken/mutton/fish? Oh please, I have more important things to do. So, my poor sis-in-law has to do with vegetarian food till the time her brother returns. Men used to go hunting in the ancient times, no?


Matar Mushroom (or Mushroom and Peas Curry)




Ingredients:


1 bowl fresh green peas

1 bowl button mushrooms, washed properly and diced into quarters

2 onions, finely chopped

2 green chillies, each split into two

1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste

½ teaspoon each of turmeric powder, cumin powder and coriander powder

2 tablespoons tomato puree (or you can use 1 tomato, chopped)

1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon fresh cream (optional)
1 tablespoon kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves

Salt as per taste

2 tablespoons refined oil for cooking



Method:


In a pan, heat oil and sauté the chopped onions along with the green chillies and ginger-garlic paste till they caramelize. Put in the spice powders – turmeric, cumin and coriander and stir. Add a little water in case the mixture sticks to the bottom of the pan. 


Now, tip in the tomato puree (or chopped tomatoes) and ketchup and cook till they merge well with the masala mixture. Next, add the mushrooms and peas (I did not put them in any particular order), season with salt and cover the pan. Do not forget to lower the gas. This will ensure that the mushrooms and peas get cooked in the water that they release.


Take off the lid once the mushrooms and peas turn tender and the water had almost dried up, though not entirely. Overcooking them might ruin the taste of the curry. Now, pour in some water, to the consistency you want your gravy to be, and let it come to a gentle boil. Check for salt, add a dash of fresh cream and sprinkle some kasuri methi just before taking it off the gas.


You can make a number of variants of this simple dish by adding either of the following ingredients:

  • A spoonful of desi ghee or clarified butter – this will turn the dish from its ‘homely’ state to a ‘princely’ state!


  • A dash of coconut milk – to infuse sweetness to the curry.
You can serve this dish with plain steamed rice or mop it up with roti/bread. 




My sis-in-law seemed to savour the dish, despite the absence of any non-vegetarian items on the dinner table. I hope my homely matar mushroom stroked a chord with her and it will be one of the dishes she recounts to her family when she goes back home.  What do you think?





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