SEEMA Cooks: Vegan Mushroom Matar Masala

mushroom
Image courtesy of Malathy Chandrasekar

If you love dining at Indian restaurants, it is likely that you’ve enjoyed mushroom matar masala. And what’s there to not love about this delicious dish? For one, because of its versatility, it goes great with both jeera rice and parathas (stuffed flatbread). For another, the creamy texture, combined with peas and mushrooms, is as close to comfort food as one can get.

I used to love eating mushroom matar masala regularly at our local restaurants. But over time, I started feeling bloated and yucky with the heaviness that dairy can bring. Turns out, my body was slowly but surely reacting adversely to the quality of milk restaurants use. Who knows what the commercial cream was laden/laced with!

That was when I decided to make this dish at home — with ingredients I preferred, in the quantities that suited me. I skimmed raw cream from my raw milk and saved it in the freezer until I had enough accumulated. I used that cream to make this mushroom matar masala.

As I got older, even this homemade dish with heavy dairy cream did not agree with my digestion (I couldn’t eat too much of it, and that totally bummed me out), so I stopped making this dish altogether. A few months back, I made this Thai curry vegetable soup and had an open can of coconut milk left over. As luck would have it, I had cremini mushrooms as well. Of course, peas are a staple in the freezer.

On a whim, I decided to substitute coconut milk for dairy milk in this recipe.

The results turned out even better than the original recipe. The dish was just as creamy as when made with dairy, but it was a lot less taxing on the digestive system. We were able to enjoy the mushroom matar masala once again.

I am sure you and your family will love this dish as much as we do. Even if your system tolerates dairy well, this dish is a welcome change from the ‘same old.’

A word about the ingredients:

Mushrooms: I have used brown cremini mushrooms. Experiment with white (baby Bella) or even wild mushrooms. It is sure to be delicious.

Peas: You can use frozen peas for this recipe. But if you love shelling peas, and you are lucky to live in a place where fresh peas are available, go for it. Nothing like fresh produce.

Coconut milk: I use BPA-free, unsweetened, full fat cans for my coconut milk. Make sure your product does not have anything but coconut milk and water. Many manufacturers add guar gum to improve texture and shelf life. I love this variety of full fat coconut milk.

Spices: Spices that make or break this dish. Make sure you use freshly ground spices. Ground spices that are stored for long periods in the pantry tend to either go rancid or lose their flavor along with the freshness. The spices are super-simple in this dish. Feel free to experiment.

Why Is This Healthy?

Did you know that mushrooms exposed to sunlight are the only produce in the plant kingdom to have vitamin D? Mushrooms are also a low-calorie source of protein and antioxidants. Peas are full of fiber, vitamins C, E and zinc that help keep your immune system robust. The good fats in coconut keep you sated longer, without the bloated feeling that dairy sometimes brings. Together with healing spices, this dish can be enjoyed by most people with dietary restrictions.

The Recipe

If you love the creaminess of mushroom matar (peas) masala, but feel “blah” after consuming heavy cream, this vegan version of pure bliss is calling out to you. Give this recipe a try; it may become your new favorite.

Course: Main course, side dish

Cuisine: Indian, North Indian

Special diet: Gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, no added sugar, vegan, vegetarian

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4

Calories: 199 kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups mushrooms, brown/cremini, baby bella or wild, chopped
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt, or to taste

For the masala:

  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp green chili pepper, fine-cut
  • 1/2 cup onion, fine-cut
  • 1/2 cup tomato, fine-cut
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala. Here’s how to make your own
  • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat, BPA-free cans

METHOD

To make the masala:

  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, sauté for a few seconds. Add chopped onions and green chili. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and allow them to lightly cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add turmeric, garam masala, coriander and cumin powders, kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), and freshly powdered black pepper. Give everything a nice stir for a few seconds.
  4. Transfer the masala into a bowl. Empty coconut milk from the can.
  5. Blend the masala and coconut milk in a high-speed blender. Your masala is ready!
  6. In the same dish, add chopped mushrooms and salt and stir for 3 minutes on high heat.
  7. Add frozen peas and allow everything to cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  8. Add the ground masala to the veggies. Mix well and allow everything to a gentle simmer.
  9. Serve with your favorite rice or flatbread. This dish will store well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Notes

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible

For the full recipe, go here!

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