Midweek Mushroom Curry
The richness of mushrooms in a creamy curry sauce gives a luxurious feel to this deceptively uncomplicated supper. You start this recipe by making a masala paste, which forms the basis for the curry’s texture and flavour. The paste is cooked until it loses its raw flavour and then the mushrooms are added. Mushrooms are plentiful and inexpensive in October so it’s worth using them for recipes that demand large quantities. You can use ordinary white mushrooms here but the brown chestnut ones are best if you can get them.
* 2 large or banana shallots, approx. 60 g
* 1 mild red chilli
* 3 tbsp groundnut or grapeseed oil
* 200 g basmati rice
* 600 g chestnut mushrooms
* 150 g–200 g baby leaf spinach
* 3 tbsp double cream
* 1 bunch fresh coriander
For the masala paste
* 2 medium onions, approx. 240 g
* 4 garlic cloves
* 1–2-cm piece of fresh root ginger
* 2 tbsp ground almonds
* 3 tbsp cashew nuts
* 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
* 1 tsp garam masala
* 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
* 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
* mango chutney and lime pickle
GET AHEAD PREPARATION (optional)
The curry can be made 1-2 days ahead of time and reheated. If there are only a few spare moments:
* Prepare the onions and shallots.
* Deseed and chop the chilli.
* Rinse the rice.
* Wash and drain the spinach.
* Chop the coriander.
50 minutes before you want to eat
* Start by peeling the shallots and chopping them finely. Halve the chilli, then deseed and chop half or all of it, depending on how much heat you like.
* Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and chilli and cook for 5 minutes.
* Meanwhile, make the masala paste. Peel and roughly chop the onions and place them in a food processor. Peel the garlic and ginger and add these to the onions, along with the ground almonds and cashew nuts, turmeric, garam masala, yoghurt and cumin seeds. Blend to a thick paste.
* Once the shallots are soft, reduce the heat and add the masala paste. Stir slowly for about 5 minutes.
* Turn the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid and cook, stirring every now and then, until the oil begins to separate out from the paste – around 5 minutes.
* Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
* Once the oil has separated from the masala paste, add about 300 ml water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the paste and shallots and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
* Cut the mushrooms into quarters and wash and drain the spinach. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan over a high heat, then add the mushrooms and brown them rapidly – this will take about 5 minutes.
* Add the mushrooms, spinach and cream to the masala and cook for 5 minutes.
* Check that the rice is cooked and chop the coriander. Stir the coriander into the mushrooms and spinach and taste for seasoning.
* Serve the curry on top of the rice, accompanied by mango chutney and lime pickle.