I. Am. Tired. Of. Turkey.
Please don’t misunderstand – I love a classic American Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and (way too much) pie. I enjoyed exactly this meal with gusto a few days ago. I enjoyed my leftovers. I sort of enjoyed my leftovers of leftovers. But seriously, folks, it’s time to move on… far and away to visit entirely new flavor combinations. For dinner tonight, Crowded Earth Kitchen is drawing inspiration from India.
My favorite Indian take-out restaurant meal is Mushroom Matter, sometimes called Mutter or Matar. This meal is often described as “mushrooms and peas in curry sauce.” The problem is, the word curry is about as specific as the word soup. Curry isn’t a dish, it’s an entire food category. For this German-American cook, creating a delicious curry sauce to coat nutritious mushrooms and peas was a fun challenge. This particular curry is made from easy to find ingredients, and has enough kick to be interesting, without scaring a curry novice away. Go ahead and put that leftover turkey in the freezer!
3 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 large or 3 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped raw almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoons water
1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and halved
2 cups frozen peas
Basmati rice, cooked according to package instructions
Fresh cilantro to garnish
Step 1) Make the paste which will serve as the base of your curry. To do this, combine tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, almonds, and 1/3 cup water in a sauté pan (see above). Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, until all ingredients are cooked and softened. Cool, then puree in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
Step 2) Add olive oil to the sauté pan and heat over a medium flame. Add cumin, chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and cardamom. Fry spices in olive oil for one minute with constant stirring. Add peanut butter and stir for one more minute.
Step 3) Add paste from step 1 back to the pan. Add mushrooms and two tablespoons of water. Stir and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, but keep the pan covered as much as possible. The mushrooms will cook down and release their liquid into the curry.
Step 4) After 15 minutes, add frozen peas to the pan. If the curry seems too thick (it should be a sauce at this point, not a paste), add a little bit of water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, until peas are hot.
Step 5) Serve over cooked Basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. You may certainly use regular brown or white rice if you wish, but Basmati rice offers an enticing popcorn aroma and unique taste that is just wonderful with Indian Mushroom Matter. Enjoy!