My Mushroom “Makhani” is made with exactly the same spices as the ones I would use in the past to make Chicken Makhani (or Butter Chicken), a popular Indian restaurant dish. But trust me, the vegan version tastes better than anything you’d pay for in a restaurant and is actually good for you, unlike its meat-containing counterpart which is loaded with unhealthy cholesterol and calories.
I substitute the makhan, or butter, in this recipe with vegan butter, just a small amount of it. Instead of cream, I use a paste of cashews which not only tastes better, but is great for you. In fact, some of you might have noticed that I often use nut pastes as a cream substitute. Pistachio and cashew pastes work best as cream substitutes, because they have the smoothest flavor and texture, but you can also try walnuts or pine nuts in other recipes that ask for cream.
I have given here the garam masala recipe because I used a toasted garam masala (meaning one where I toast the ingredients first) this time. There’s already an untoasted-ingredient recipe on my blog that you can find here. I use them interchangeably. If you use the untoasted one, remember to add it to the skillet before the wet ingredients, like the tomato puree, go in, so it has some time to hang out in the oil and let the flavors of the spices bloom.
2 cups baby bella or crimini mushrooms, quartered if big, or halved
1 cup tomato puree or crushed tomato
1 large red onion
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp finely grated ginger
1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and cut into fairly large chunks
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala (recipe follows)
1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli powder like cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/3 cup cashew pieces soaked in 1/2 cup warm water for about half an hour, then ground to a paste
1/4 cup kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves). Try not to leave out this ingredient because it really clinches the flavor. It is available in Indian stores.
Salt to taste
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vegan butter, like Earth Balance
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves, for garnish
Heat the oil in a skillet or saucepan.
Add the onions and saute until the edges turn brown.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry another minute.
Add the mushrooms and the green peppers. Stir fry for a minute, scraping up any garlic or ginger that stick to the bottom of the pan.
Now add the tomato puree, red chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala, Stir to mix. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomato is almost dry and begins to express the oil.
Now add a cup of water, bring to a boil, and cook until the vegetables are quite tender. Then add the cashew paste and kasoori methi and allow the curry to simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Add the vegan butter and turn off the heat. Stir until the butter has melted into the curry.
4 green cardamom pods
2 1-inch sticks of cinnamon
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 black peppercorns
Dry-roast the ingredients on a hot skillet until they are a couple of shades darker. Grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder and store in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place.