There are so many different type of Vegetarian options available in Indian cuisine. One can literally eat a different vegetable curry each day of the year, without it being the same vegetable. You have vegetarian curries that are cooked in dry spices, some with fried vegetables in it or made into veggie-spiced meatballs and some marinated or cooked in delicious sauces or gravies. You can only imagine the number of options!
Growing up, my mom was a vegetarian so she mostly cooked vegetarian meals. I ate meat once in a while, but didn’t really miss it because of the varieties of vegetables we ate at home. It wasn’t till I was married that I started eating more meat. And even though I cook both non-veg and vegetarian dishes in our home, I always seem to gravitate to the vegetarian curries. Part of it is just the way I was brought up, but also part of it is just that I love vegetarian curries!
Matar Mushoom Malai is one dish I really enjoy. I happen to like eating mushrooms – stuffed, fried, curried, sauteed, etc. You name it – I’ll try it. The mushrooms and peas in this curry are cooked in a thick tomato and butter based gravy seasoned with freshly ground up spices. I then thicken this gravy with a whipped mixture of heavy cream and yogurt, so in the end you have a really hearty mushroom dish, with the sweetness from the peas and a beautiful velvety sauce to eat with your breads and rice.
MATAR MUSHROOM MALAI (Mushroom & Peas Curry)
Serves: 6 people (depending on portion size)
- 1 small onion
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
- 1 Tbsp. garlic paste
- 1 cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro + 1 Tbsp. extra for garnish
- 1 serrano chili (or any preferred chili for desired heat)
- 1 stick of butter
- Ground Spice Blend*
- 1-inch stick of cinnamon
- 7 or 8 green cardamom pods
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
- 2 Anise stars
- 5 black peppercorns
- 2 Bay leaf
- 1.5 Tbsp. Jaggery (Indian style brown sugar) OR can use dark brown sugar (any brand)
- ¼ cup of tomato paste
- 1.5 tsp. curry paste (Hot/Mild Indian curry paste – any brand)
- 1.5 tsp. salt (can add more per taste)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup of whole milk yogurt
- 24 oz. of button mushrooms (cleaned and stems removed)
- 8 oz. of fresh/frozen green peas (washed and/or thawed – remove any excess liquid)
**NOTES: You can grind up all spices ahead of time to reduce prep time.
- In a spice or coffee grinder, add all the ingredients from the “Ground Spice Blend” and grind into a powder with no bits.
- In large blender or food processor, add onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, serrano.
- Blend all items till smooth and fully combined, almost a thick soupy consistency. Set aside.
- In large pot, melt butter on medium heat with all ground spices.
- Let butter mixture cook for 1-2 mins till it sizzles and is almost golden brown in color (This helps flavor the butter and allows even permeation of all spices in the sauce.)
- Once butter is fully melted, add your veggie mixture from blender, jaggery, tomato paste, curry paste and salt.
- Mix all ingredients together well, cover and let simmer on medium heat for 7-10mins.
- Once gravy is dark red/burgundy color, add peas and allow to cook for another 5-7 minutes.
- Mix in mushrooms into gravy till all coated, cover and cook on lowest heat setting for 20-25 mins or until fully cooked. (The mushrooms will release some water so halfway through cooking time, keep pot half-covered to help evaporate some of the extra liquid.)
- In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream till it is a thick, creamy texture (right before any peaks form). Fold in the whole milk yogurt till thick and creamy looking.
- Add thickened heavy cream/yogurt mix into the curry a few spoonsful at a time and gently mix into curry before adding more. Continue to gently fold in the remainder of heavy cream/yogurt mix till complete. (Doing this will help the yogurt from curdling into your curry and allow a creamier, smooth texture.)
- Allow to simmer for another 5mins on medium-low heat to fully incorporate and make curry creamier.
- Once it looks creamy (slight pinkish color), turn off heat and transfer to serving dish.
- Garnish with extra cilantro and serve hot with Indian bread, rice, or alone.
There you go! I hope you take some time to make this curry and enjoy it as much as I do.
Feel free to comment below on this recipe or tag me with your own curry pics on IG @cmspiceculture or FB at “Spice Culture Cooking.”