Friday, July 25, 2014

Mushroom and Spinach Korma: Meat-Free, Spice-Filled, Creamy Comfort Food

I love a good Indian curry and a milder creamy korma atop a bed of fragrant basmati rice makes for perfect comfort food. This Nigel Slater Mushroom and Spinach Korma is a great meat-free dish because the mushrooms, nuts and creamy sauce make it satisfying enough to please meat eaters. 

Nigel says, "This recipe is a good example of how garlic is used as a backnote to other aromatics and spices. This is a voluptuous vegetable supper, and less trouble than it might first appear."  

I made a few changes--noted in red below--mostly based on what I had on hand (cashews instead of hazelnuts, no creme fraiche) and added extra spices to get the bolder flavors I was looking for.  

Mushroom and Spinach Korma
Adapted from Real Food by Nigel Slater
(Serves 2-3) (4 with rice)

50 g (1.75 oz) butter
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
a knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb, peeled and grated
1 tsp ground cumin (I used 2 tsp)
15 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder (I used about 3/4 tsp)
(I added 1 tsp of garam masala)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 bay leaves
650 g (about 1 1/2 lbs) assorted mushrooms
50 g (1.75 oz) hazelnuts, toasted (I used toasted cashews)
350 g (about 3/4 lb) leaf spinach, tough stems removed
50 g (1.75 oz) golden raisins
150 g (5.25 oz) thick natural yogurt
150 g (5.25 oz) creme fraiche (I omitted and used all Greek yogurt, thinned with a bit of milk)
2 Tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

Melt the butter in a deep pan, add onions, garlic and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, until golden. It is essential not to burn the butter, so add a little oil if it appears to be darkening. Add the spices and bay leaves and continue frying, stirring regularly, for two or three minutes to cook the spices. Meanwhile, cut the larger mushrooms into big pieces, although you can leave oyster mushrooms whole. Add the mushrooms to the pot. Cook the mixture for a few minutes till the mushrooms soften, then stir in 225 ml (about a cup) water and the nuts. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, covered with a lid. 

Meanwhile, wash the spinach and put, still thoroughly wet, into a saucepan--it will cook in its own steam. Cook for two minutes, shaking occasionally, till wilted. Drain and squeeze out water. Stir the spinach and golden raisins into the curry, simmer for a couple of minutes, then mix the yogurt and creme fraiche together and stir them into the mushrooms, bringing almost to the boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the korma is thoroughly hot, but not quite boiling (it may curdle if it boils), stir in the chopped coriander and serve.  

Notes/Results: Creamy and full of flavor, this is a satisfying and voluptuous (to quote Nigel) dish. The combination of mushrooms (I used cremini, button, shiitake, and oyster) give it a good variation of meaty textures with bites of crunchy toasted cashew and the plump raisins adding their sweetness to the mix. The silky sauce is delicious with the basmati rice. I liked the extra cumin, chili powder and the garam masala I added to the recipe--it gave it a bolder, slightly smokier flavor and didn't make it too 'cardamomy' for my tastes. This dish takes a bit of prep but actually goes together pretty quickly and is well worth it. I would make it again.

The theme is Off the Spice Rack this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs and this dish fits right in. You can see what spice-filled dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links.

Happy Aloha Friday!



  1. Korma is definitely a favorite comfort food of mine, and I love this meatless version!

  2. This sounds like a fantastic dish! I don't think I've ever had korma and your lightened up version using one of my favourite combinations of mushrooms and spinach looks particularly appealing.

  3. I would demolish the cashews before they could make it into the dish! I am glad you mentioned the prep time so we can plan ahead , that doesn't bother me, the extra time. Have you ever made Gado Gado? Lots of prep but totally worth it, like your dish here.

  4. Couscous & ConsciousnessJuly 26, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    I love this combination of mushrooms and spinach for a meat-free curry - I know even the "meat lover" around here would like this. Love the changes you made, taking the spices up a couple of notches, and swapping out the hazelnuts (which actually seem a little odd to me in an Indian dish) for cashews, which seem much more appropriate. This is definitely one I'm going to try - might be dinner one night this week.

  5. Gluten Free A-Z BlogJuly 27, 2014 at 2:36 AM

    It's amazing all of the healthy spices in Indian cooking. Turmeric is supposed to be such a health booster and I love the taste of cardamom and cinnamon. This looks like a wonderful dish. I'm pinning this one.

  6. I prefer hazelnuts;-), a great way to serve spinach. even my sons would love it

  7. kitchen flavoursJuly 29, 2014 at 4:58 AM

    This looks delicious! I love korma though I've always cooked it using chicken, have never tried a vegetarian version before. I like the changes you've made, using what you had on hand. A lovely dish!

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  9. I love the use of the word voluptuous to describe a dish. I also love
    how you described the sauce as silky. I feel slightly seduced;-)

    Seriously this looks like a very hearty and flavorful veggie dish (and I
    bet it's even better the next day). If there's any leftovers!


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