Mushroom Matar, or mushrooms and peas in a creamy onion, tomato and cashew sauce, is a staple of Indian restaurant menus. But this creamy, spicy, saucy dish is just as easy to put together quickly in your own kitchen. Serve it hot with rice or rotis. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free recipe, free of added oils. Can be nut-free.
If you’ve read this blog before, you probably know of my weakness for saucy mushroom dishes. It’s a love that was kindled way back in childhood, when my father would bring wild mushrooms back with him from trips to his birthplace in south India, and my stepmother would cook them in a delicious sauce whose taste is impossible for me to forget.
Not that I want to. In fact, I’ve since made different versions of saucy mushroom curries and I’ve loved each one of them.
This Mushroom Matar is my latest foray into making a delicious curry to soak up with a roti or even a crusty bread. Rice is great too!
While my mom’s Mushroom Curry would have taken hours to make, with the careful grinding of spices and slow cooking that made her recipes so special, my much quicker version takes only 30 minutes, and it’s delicious too. Better still it’s free of all added oils, with the only fat in this recipe coming from a handful of cashew nuts.
The sauce for this Mushroom Matar is dreamy: it’s not just creamy and smooth, it has complex notes from the cayenne, garam masala, onions, and tomatoes. One bite and you’ll be begging for more.
- 3/4 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced. (If you have wild mushrooms, feel free to use those-- they'll be delicious here)
- 1 cup frozen green peas
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (or any red chili powder)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves) Optional, but nice
- 1/4 cup cashews (If you want to make this nut-free, use 1/4 cup canned coconut milk)
- 1 heaping tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp vegan cane sugar
- Ground black pepper and salt to taste
Heat a saucepan and add the onion and garlic to it. Add 2 tbsp water and saute the onion and garlic over medium heat until the onions soften and start to change color, about five minutes.
Add the tomatoes along with the coriander powder, cumin powder, cayenne, turmeric and kasoori methi. Stir well, cover, and cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are very soft and mushy. Stir in the cashew nuts and turn off the heat.
Let the onions and tomatoes cool slightly, then add a cup of cold water and use an immersion blender to blend to a smooth consistency or transfer to a blender and blend into a very smooth paste. Use caution. When blending hot liquids, I fill the blender only halfway, remove the blender's center insert and hold a kitchen towel over the top, and then blend. This keeps steam from building up inside the blender which could blow the lid off.
Rinse the saucepan and place over the stove over medium heat. Add the mushrooms to the pan along with a little salt and pepper. Stir-fry the mushrooms in the dry pan until they begin to caramelize, about three to four minutes. Add the peas and cover until peas are cooked, which should take no more than two to three minutes.
Add the blended sauce to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the garam masala and check if more salt is needed. Add water if the sauce looks too dry. Stir in the sugar.
Heat through and once the mixture comes to a boil, turn it off. Garnish with coriander, if you wish, or serve as is.