Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mushroom, Peas & Bell Pepper Curry

Mushrooms are used in various cuisines as it tends to give a meaty texture to the dish and are generally considered a low-calorie food. Personally, I prefer using portobello mushrooms (great for stuffing or grilling) and button mushrooms (works for cooking, frying or baking). Mushrooms are good in gravies and add its own flavor to the dish.

Bell peppers, also known as sweet pepper/capsicum are produced in different colors with the most common being green, red, yellow and orange. Green peppers are less sweet and work well for frying or baking when compared to other colored peppers (especially with red peppers being the sweetest). 

Green peas is one of the frozen veggies that I can't do without..don't ask me why but it so happens that every time I am almost done with one packet, I always have another stashed up somewhere in the freezer. I add them when making pulao/fried rice, gravies, pasta dishes and everything else that I can think of. My affinity towards it began when I delivered my little one and was back home from the hospital, getting pampered by my aunt who was visiting us for a week and she made me some cheesy peas (in a bowl, take some frozen peas, add a slice or 2 of your favorite vegan cheese..although cheddar cheese works best, 1-2 tsp milk of choice, some salt and pepper and microwave until the cheese melts, mix well and enjoy)....yum!! It looked so simple but tasted really good. Peas are starchy but high in fiber and proteins. Fresh peas tend to be sweeter and are served boiled or steamed with some butter, salt and pepper and work as a great side dish.

I like to cook with a lot of veggies and balance out the carbs and proteins being consumed in our daily diet. I am not a fan of rice-based dishes (too hubby can't do without it), so I try to come up with alternatives and its fun because you get to explore so many different ingredients with infinite possibilities. Certain veggies pair well together and I think mushrooms and peas are a perfect combo with bell peppers adding extra flavor to this dish. 


10 oz whole button mushrooms, each cut into 4
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
3 small cinnamon sticks
3-4 cloves
1-2 bay leaves (optional)
1-2 green chillies, cut lengthwise (optional)
1  1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
3/4 - 1 tsp garam masala powder
10-12 almonds + 1 1/2 tbsp roasted split dalia, ground into a paste
1 1/2 tsp kasoori methi, crushed (optional, but highly recommended)
1 tsp black pepper powder
Salt, to taste
2-3 tbsp oil


Clean the mushrooms (washing the mushrooms is generally not advisable as it tends to retain more moisture, so wipe it clean with a wet cloth until all the dirt and impurities are gone) and cut each of them into 4 chunks. 

In a pan, on medium-high heat, add 1 tsp oil, mushrooms and black pepper powder and fry until they are slightly done. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add 1/2 tsp oil, diced green bell pepper and black pepper powder, fry until they are slightly done and set aside.

I like to fry the mushrooms and bell pepper separately, so that the flavors don't mix together and tend to stay slightly crisp compared to getting softer when frying them along with other ingredients when preparing the curry.

In a deep pan, on medium high,heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil, add cinnamon, cloves and cumin seeds. After it starts to splutter, add onions and green chillies. Allow the onions to fry until slightly translucent. Now, add ginger-garlic paste and fry for few minutes until the raw smell is gone.

Add chopped tomatoes and cook until it gets pulpy. Add chilli powder and garam masala powder and cook until the raw smell is gone. Add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups water and mix well. Allow it to boil for few minutes.

Grind the almonds and roasted split dalia to a fine paste and set aside. 

To the boiling gravy, add the mushrooms, green pepper and peas. Cook for few minutes and then add the ground almond-dalia paste. 

Add the crushed kasoori methi and mix well.  If you want to add extra tang to your curry, squeeze some fresh lemon juice or add dry mango powder (aka amchur powder).

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rotis.

Makes 3-4 servings.

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