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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mushroom "Butter" Masala

I first made this as a test, just because I was craving mushrooms.  That day my camera was not functioning so I did not snap a shot of it.  I then made it for my best friend while she was visiting from San Diego.  We were so caught up in the action that I just completely forgot to snap a shot.  That day was amazing.  I learned to share my kitchen with others in a symbiotic way.  That day, cooking became more of a social activity than an individual therapy.  There are times when the journey is just as important as the destination.  I don't think there are many people with whom I would feel comfortable enough to cook with.. but this friend is like a part of me.  We've been through enough together to give her an open view into any part of my strange pathologies.  That day was so pleasant that I absolutely had to try it again.. because if I ever crave it again and I don't document it, how will I ever find the recipe again?
I freestyle so often that when something is perfect, I must absolutely photograph it and write it down so I can replicate it.. otherwise I'll just divert it into something else, which would still be good, but it wouldn't be THIS.
Serves 4-5 in a thali or 3 as a main dish
3 tomatoes
20 unsalted cashews
4 cups boiling water
3 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter or ghee)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tej petta (Indian bay leaf)
1/2 inch stick cinnamon
2 green cardamom pods
2 cloves
2 dried red chiles
1 onion, diced
350g button mushrooms, sliced thickly
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chile powder
1 cup water
salt to taste
2-3 Tbsp coconut cream (or regular cream)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp methi (fenugreek leaves)
fresh ginger cut into strips
chopped cilantro
1.  Make the cashew tomato paste.  Place the tomatoes and cashews in a bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes, then drain, blend into a paste, and set aside.
2.  In a wok or heavy based dish, heat the coconut oil and add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and dried chiles.  Cook until the cumin starts to sputter.
3.  Add the onion and cook until translucent.
4.  Add the mushroom slices and cook on high, stirring, until glossy.
5.  Add the turmeric, coriander powder, and chile powder, then add the cashew-tomato paste.  Cook until it thickens and reduces.
6.  Add the water and stir, then simmer on low for 7-8 minutes.
7.  Add the cream, garam masala, and dried methi.  Cover and switch off the heat until ready to eat.
8.  Serve garnished with chopped cilantro and ginger strips.
I served mine in a thali with some Sweet Potato Panch Poran, Tandoori Okra, Whole Mung Dal, basmati rice, and rotis.
This dish must have taken it's toll on me because I made it during another kitchen activity session with a new friend.  I feel this is the beginning of a lovely adventure...

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