Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mushroom and Peas Masala

I made this for the first time today as a necessary break from my now endless mountain of reading for grad school :) It turned out really really good and it was easy but challenging enough to make to be a fun event-like cooking experience.

What you need:
1 1/2 cups fresh shelled peas (you can do frozen just adjust the cooking time so they don't get gross)
2 medium onions (white or yellow. I don't think red would work so well here)
2 1/2 cups sliced or quartered white mushrooms
5-6 cloves of garlic
2 inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp garam masala (I like MGH brand the best)
5-6 little green cardamom pods
3 fresh red chilies (careful! this recipe is for MY palate, adjust for yours)
Salt to taste
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cups of water
1 tbs cooking oil (like light olive, canola, or vegetable)
2 tbs butter

Deep non-stick frying pan with a lid

What to do:
Prep work- Peel and quarter your onions and remove the tops of your chilies and throw them into the blender. Grind them up until they are a mushy,pasty,pink looking mess. Put them in a bowl (cover your eyes! Stinky onions!!) and set aside with a dish towel over top to preserve your eyeballs. Rinse the blender and then throw in your ginger and your peeled garlic cloves. I had trouble getting these to be pasty, they ended up more chopped. Maybe a food processor is in order (I lack one). Anyways, just make them small somehow. Set them aside. Make sure your mushrooms are cleaned and chopped and your peas are ready to go.

Cooking work- Put the oil and the butter into the pan and heat until butter is melted over a low heat. Add your cardamomos, coriander, garam masala, and cinnamon and sautee them until everything smells awesome and looks brown (don't burn anything, just make it look a nice nut brown). Add the onion and chili paste stuff and make sure your extractor fan is on or your window is open (the chilies hitting the heat can get your eyes and lungs if you aren't careful). Brown the mixture over low heat still for about 2 or 3 minutes. Add your ginger and garlic stuff and your two cans of tomato paste. Add the water and mix well. Turn the heat up to medium so it is all simmering but not ruining your stove with hot tomato splatter and add your mushrooms and peas. Stir them in, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender (about 20 min. if the peas are fresh). Stir occasionally to make sure the sauce isn't burning on the bottom. If the sauce is too runny, remove the lid and allow to thicken. Serve hot over rice :)


  1. Ooh, I'm putting this on the menu this week. I'm assuming 2 cans of tomato paste means two of those little cans?

    And if I'm aiming for pasty garlic would running it through the garlic press be fine? It sounds like it would work . . . I've actually run ginger through the garlic press before too and it turns out pretty pasty but it's hard to get all the ginger through.

  2. The garlic press would certainly work. My garlic press is awful and as soon as I let myself buy a new one, I am throwing it in the trash! I often grate ginger on the medium teeth of a box grater (the side that has rectangular-tyoe holes pointing up and down) and that works really well. I just tried the blender to see if it works. Also: You may want to try and fish the cardamoms back out at the end and you also may want to add a pinch of sugar to the recipe. And yes, two of the little cans is what you use :)

  3. Oh yeah, the grater makes total sense for ginger. I've probably even done that before now that you've jogged my memory.

  4. Yeah, I hate trying to mince ginger by hand so I remembered that there are actually special kinds of bowls with spikes on the bottoms for people to grate ginger in and ever since then I've been like "to hell with chopping this stuff!" and I just use a grater. Me = lazy.

  5. Yeah, mincing ginger sucks and I can never get it as small as I want it. I'll definitely break out the grater and try that.

  6. Made this tonight and it was pretty cool. Reminded us of our mattar paneer recipe that we really like. We may experiment with combining the two.

  7. Wow. Even grating ginger is too annoying for me. In Japan they sell grated ginger in a tube, and I always just get that at the Asian market, just like I always use minced garlic from a jar. It's probably not quite as good as the fresh stuff, but I use it far too often to have the energy to deal with mincing it by hand.