Mushroom and Pea curry

This creamy mushroom and pea curry has absolutely no fresh cream in it. If you like it less creamy drop the number of cashew nuts to half. Cashews not only give you a creamy texture but naturally thicken the dish. If you have dried mushrooms cook then along with the fresh button mushrooms. Soak the dried mushrooms in a little hot water. When they swell in size and are hydrated chop and use them in the curry. Never throw the mushroom water away even though it smells odd. It brings a fantastic flavour to the dish.

Mushrooms – 200 grams
Peas – a handful
Tomatoes – 2
Onion- 1
Milk – 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts – 20
Poppy seeds/ khus khus – 11/2 tablespoons
Ginger garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric – 1/4 teaspoon
Red chilli powder -1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
Green chillies  – 2
Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar – 1/2 teaspoon
Kasuri methi – 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil as required


Mise en place (preparation of ingredients before cooking process)
Slice the mushrooms and make sure the slices are thick. If you are using frozen peas remember to put them in last but if using fresh peas they need to cook a while. Chop the onion and green chillies very finely and purée the tomatoes. In a blender, grind the cashew and the poppet seeds. Do this first without water and then add water to make a smooth paste.

In a pot heat some oil, add the cumin seeds followed by the chillies. At once you get a pungent burst. Add the onions and fry this till golden brown. Now add the the the turmeric and chilli powder and stir fry the entire mixture on low heat. Do not burn the spices. A good thing to do is add three tablespoons of water at this stage. Introduce the tomato purée and allow this cook for about four minutes on low heat. Add salt to taste.

Add half a teaspoon of refined flour to the cup of milk. Make sure the milk is not too cold and has been left standing out till is has reached room temperature. The flour prevents the milk from curdling when introduced to a hot element. Drop the heat to a minimum and add the milk, stirring continuously. Add the cashew and poppey mixture and at once the dish with thicken. Never introduce the cashew mixture in a lumpy form but always in a runny form or you will find it difficult to break it down in the gravy. Add some water to the cashew mixture if necessary before introducing it to the dish. Bring the dish to a simmer and now add the mushrooms and peas. Cook for two minutes. Turn off the gas and cover.

Heat a pan without any oil. When hot turn off the gas and now place the Kasuri methi in the pan stirring it constantly. It will become crisp in a couple of seconds. Take it off the heat and crush it on your hands. Add this and the garam masala to the dish and stir. Remember that garam masala is already roasted and that is why it is introduced at the end of the dish and not during the cooking process. Add the  another slit green chilli now only if you need the dish to be a little more spicy

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Fr. Warner ÐSouza

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