Monday, October 7, 2013

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Tikka Masala


For the sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 large onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste
6 medium sized ripe tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup - 1 cup  whole Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or according to taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
4 tablespoons dry kasoori methi
4 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

For the vegetables
16 oz fresh white button mushrooms (about 25 mushrooms, or two packages)
Ghee (clarified butter) for sautéing (can substitute with coconut oil)
2 tablespoons oil (for frying bell peppers)
1 large green bell pepper, cubed
1 large red bell pepper, cubed
Chopped cilantro, to taste


For the sauce
Heat oil in a large saute pan. When the oil ripples on the surface add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add the onions and the salt. Cook on medium heat till onions turn brown. Then add the garlic and ginger paste and stir for about a minute or two until the smell of the raw paste disappears. Pour in the tomato puree and let it cook till the oil separates from the tomato sauce and the tomato sauce thickens a bit, about 5-8 minutes.

For the vegetables
1. While the sauce is cooking, work on the mushrooms. Some button mushrooms come in pre-washed packages but you can wipe the mushrooms clean with a paper towel or brush them off if you wish. You can also rinse them in a colander or submerged in water in the sink if you can plug your drain. Slice the mushrooms into quarters or thirds.  Thinner sliced mushrooms will make for a successful sauté.
2. Put another sauté pan on medium high heat and ladle on a tablespoon of ghee or your preferred oil.  Keep the oil pretty hot but not to the smoking point. Drop in a handful of mushrooms. Make sure all the mushrooms are touching the hot pan so be careful not to overcrowd the pan.  The mushrooms will sizzle and brown on one side, this will take 2-3 minutes.  Once they are golden brown and have a bit of a crust on them from the sauté, flip each and every mushroom piece over and sauté the other side.  Once that handful of mushrooms are beautifully golden and crusty, move them out to the sides of the pan where the heat is less and add another handful. You can also just spoon out the finished mushrooms and drop them into the sauce but only if your sauce is finished. Continue until all the mushrooms are cooked.
3. While your mushrooms are sautéing, start preparing the bell peppers.  Heat another sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once it is hot (but not smoking), add the olive oil (you can substitute it with another high-heat cooking oil if you wish). Dice the bell peppers into bite-sized cubes and add them to the oil.  Stir the bell peppers occasionally until they fry evenly (about 8-10 minutes).

The Finishing Touches
Once all your mushrooms and bell peppers are finished, add them to your sauce.  Crumble and crinkle the kasoori methi over the sauce by placing it in the palm of your hand and then rolling and crushing the leaves between your palms, letting the powdered leaves fall into the sauce. Cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle on the garam masala and mix well, let it cook for a minute.  Be sure to taste test and adjust the spices if necessary. Turn off heat and stir in heavy cream if you choose to use it. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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