Mushroom Matar Masala / Mushroom and Green Peas Curry

Indian food is synonymous with “curry” in the western world. Rightly so, we love our curries and we can never be overwhelmed with the abundance of spices in any Indian kitchen. Mushroom Matar Masala is a semi-dry curry, where some lovely mushrooms and green peas are lathered in the right amount of spices.

My previous mushroom recipe, Goan Mushroom Xacuti recipe, had a bunch of spices completely different from the ones I have used in this recipe. The green peas, albeit frozen, give a dash of freshness to the curry. And I have added some fresh fenugreek leaves, another ingredient I have grown too fond of lately.

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Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

Mushrooms are high in protein and unbelievably low in calories. Fenugreek has a stream of health benefits as well. This curry does not require any dairy additives. All in all, this is a low-calorie, vegan recipe packed with ample nutritive value, and highly suitable for diabetics and weight-watchers.

The mushroom matar masala, along with some hot chapati (Indian flatbread), was our Sunday lunch, which got gobbled down in a jiffy, in contrast to the usual lazy Sunday lunches. And food was ready before time, so I would not credit the hunger pangs. The award goes to…… Oh Modesty where are thou!! 😉

Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

What to prepare before you get cooking

  • I used button mushrooms, and these were really tiny. So I just quartered them. Clean and cut the mushrooms to get bite-size pieces as per the size of mushrooms available.
  • For the spices, one of them is crushed coriander. If you have powder, go ahead and use it. But freshly crushed coriander seeds weave a certain flavour magic.
  • Fenugreek leaves are optional. Either use dried ones aka kasuri methi or replace with coriander leaves. But try to add it, as it bumps up the taste as well as the nutrition.
Wipe mushrooms with a wet towel instead of running under water to prevent them from going soggy. Click To Tweet

MUSHROOM MATAR MASALA / MUSHROOM AND GREEN PEAS CURRY

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 large or 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp oil for cooking
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 slit green chili
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh fenugreek leaves OR 1 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
Mushroom Matar Masala
Mushroom Matar Masala

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the cumin crackles, add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Add in the onion, ginger and green chilli. Add a bit of salt and mix well. Cover and let the onion cook till soft.
  • Add the tomatoes and mash them with the spatula. Add tiny bit salt, to hasten the cooking.
  • Cook covered, whilst checking intermittently, till the oil starts releasing from the sides.
  • Then add the spices; turmeric, crushed coriander, red chili powder and the garam masala. Mix well.
  • Add in the green peas and splash of water. Cover and cook. If using fresh peas, give it 10 minutes. For frozen peas, 5 minutes is adequate.
  • Add the mushrooms next and coat well in the masala. You might need to add a little more water.
  • Stir in the fenugreek leaves at this point and saute for a while.
  • Cover and cook until everything comes together. It will take about 5-7 minutes, as mushrooms and peas cook quite quickly.
  • Lastly, stir in the lemon juice. Adjust salt to your preference.
  • Since I used fresh fenugreek, I left out the coriander for garnish. It is a personal choice to use coriander leaves in this recipe and you may go ahead if you fancy.
  • Serve hot with chapati or any Indian flatbread.

 

Variations

  • Replace mushrooms with parboiled potato.
  • Replace green peas with boiled or canned chickpeas.

Want to try more simple Indian vegan preparations? Check out Bhindi ki Sabzi / Okra Stir-Fry

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Chicken Malai Kebab / Creamy Grilled Chicken

Kebab is one of the most well-known meat dishes that the Middle-East has given to the world. But India has its own set of kebabs and Chicken Malai Kebab ranks quite high in popularity.

A kebab consists of pieces of marinated meat, on a skewer, that is grilled or barbecued. The Indian array of kebabs feature different spice and herb combos. Then they are grilled in a tandoor or on open fire on coal embers giving it the classic smoky flavour that is to die for. This is one of the best street treats you can find in India.

Malai means cream and as the name goes, Chicken malai kebab consist of succulent pieces of boneless chicken, marinated in a creamy base with a hint of spices. Once grilled, these are dripping with mouth-watering goodness. These kebabs are mild in their spice level. You can always increase the green chilli or pepper for more heat.

 



 

Which meat to use:

Quite often I hear discussion about what pieces of chicken should be used for grilling. Although the current health trend favours leaner cuts of meat, the extra fat on the thigh meat is in fact essential during grilling. As chicken can go dry pretty quick once on the heat, I do not prefer using chicken breast meat for this recipe. The last thing I would want is dehydrated chicken that tastes drab. Thus not only should you go for the thigh meat but also preserve the tags of fat that come with it; this is where the real magic lies in getting those soft, succulent pieces of meat.

Marination allows the chicken to get married with all the flavours you are coating it in. If in a hurry, 2 hours is fine but I would always suggest to plan ahead and give 8-10 hours marination time. This even tenderises the meat and the end result is always a notch higher.

Quick tip: To make matters simple, use a zipper bag and dump all the marinade ingredients and mix in the bag itself. Throw in the chicken pieces, remove the air and zip it up. Now just massage the marinade into the chicken.

That’s no mess, no fuss and 1 less container to wash!

Skewers: Bamboo skewers or satay sticks are easily available anywhere. To prevent them from burning, always soak them in water for at least 30 minutes. Or you can go ahead and use metal skewers.

Now let’s dive into this recipe.

Makes 5 skewers

Ingredients

  • 500 gm chicken thigh fillets
  • Oil for basting as required
  • For the marinade
  1.  1/4 cup Cream cheese
  2. 2 tbsp thick yogurt
  3. 2 tsp ginger paste
  4. 2 tsp garlic paste
  5. 1 and 1/2 tsp crushed green chilli (this is as per taste)
  6. Pinch of grated nutmeg
  7. Pinch of green cardamom powder
  8. 2 tsp salt
  9. 1-2 tsp white pepper (black pepper is good too!)

Method

  • Cut rectangular pieces of chicken approximately 1 inch by 2 inch.
  • Put all the ingredients of the marinade in a zipper bag or bowl and mix well such that there are no lumps.
  • Add the chicken pieces, and rub the mix well. Leave this to marinate in the refrigerator for 8-10 hours, overnight is ideal.
  • When ready to grill, skewer the strips lengthwise folding twice shaped like a S, such that each piece gets pricked thrice. (Imagine S to $) Most skewers should accommodate 3-4 pieces.
  • Grill the skewers in whichever method you choose. (See note below.) Use oil for basting.
  • Grill until chicken is cooked through, and there are beautiful char marks on the edges.
  • Indication that the chicken is cooked is, the juices run clear and there are no pink bits in the centre of the meat.

 

Chicken Malai Kebab

Methods to grill the kebab

  1. If you are lucky, you would get access to a tandoor and the burning coal to get the authentic smoky kebab flavor and aroma.
  2. Fire up the barbie! That’s how Aussies refer to the barbecue 🙂
  3. Oven: Preheat to 180 ° C and then cook for 15 minutes, turning halfway in between. After that, grill or broil for 10 minutes.
  4. And if you are like me, with none of the above resources, it is worthwhile to invest in a grill pan. I use a cast-iron grill pan for grilling kebabs in my very own home kitchen. A non-stick grill pan is another option.
  5. Just a regular pan or skillet.

How to serve

  1. As a starter – These kebabs are so flavourful, they make for an impressive starter. Just couple it up with some mint and coriander chutney and pickled onion rings.
  2. In a salad – If you love your veggies and salads make up most of your meals, 2 skewers of these kebabs can be an excellent source of protein.
  3. In a wrap – Take any flat bread, and layer with your choice of dressings and greens. You can even use lettuce wraps for a low-carb option.
  4. Chicken malai kebabs are loved by kids as they are mild and creamy.

Variations

Try a vegetarian spin on this with Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or parboiled baby potatoes.

 

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Chicken Malai Kebab
Chicken Malai Kebab

 

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If you try this recipe tag #smitasfoodcharm on Instagram and to follow me click here @smitasfoodcharm

 

Fancy another version of chicken kebab that is spicier? Click here for my Chicken Tikka recipe