A Warming Curry for Fall
I had mushrooms on my mind, like an insidious song going round and round in my brain. It became clear there was only one way to stop the cycle: having some for dinner.
Rather than the Italianate mushroom stew I often make to serve with polenta, I craved something with more personality, perhaps a spicy, creamy curry. Curried mushrooms, curried mushrooms, sang the inner voice.
Whenever I’m cooking with Indian ingredients, I consult one of Madhur Jaffrey’s many cookbooks for guidance and inspiration. Ms. Jaffrey’s recipes are inventively streamlined for non-Indian cooks, but with no sacrifice of flavor. In “Vegetarian India” (Knopf, 2015), she offers several mushroom curries from different regions.
With fall weather approaching, I decided my curry also needed some autumn vegetables, for a heartier meal. Sautéed cubes of butternut squash, with their warm color, appealed to me the most — though sweet potatoes, parsnips or carrots would work, too.
Of course, ordinary button mushrooms can be used, but a mixture of cultivated mushrooms in all shapes and sizes makes a splashier dish. I like oyster mushrooms, especially royal trumpets, a large, meaty type. A few shiitake caps (the stems are tough, best used for making stock) contribute a woodsy flavor, and small brown portobellos add depth. Tiny white enoki are beautiful, too, and can be stirred into the curry right at the end.
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For a more deluxe version, I was lucky enough to get my hands on some wild golden chanterelles. My mushroom guy had wild hen-of-the-woods and lobster mushrooms. Your selection depends on your budget, the season and what’s available where you live.
There are just a few spices and seasonings to assemble: green chiles, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne and turmeric. Fresh curry leaves, if you can find them, are aromatic and floral when simmered with the mushrooms (they don’t taste like curry powder). Most Indian groceries have them, fresh or frozen. Substitute whole basil leaves if you wish, or go without.
You can make this curry as spicy as you wish, but be sure to include at least a little cayenne and green chile, to play off the creamy coconut sauce. A final addition of lime juice supplies a necessary, welcome hit of acidity.
This is welcome comfort food, Indian-style: bright, rich and ready in less than an hour.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com