Chow Town

Adding mushrooms to traditional Indian curry cooking makes a tasty, hearty dish

Curried Garbanzo Beans With Baby Portobello Mushrooms
Curried Garbanzo Beans With Baby Portobello Mushrooms Special to The Star

This curry is one of my mother’s signature creations.

When I was in medical school in Delhi, my parents moved between Europe and Africa for my father’s position with the World Health Organization. It was during one of these stints abroad that my mother was first introduced to mushrooms, which were not available in India at the time.

My mother is always one to experiment with new ingredients, and she found her incorporation of mushrooms into a traditional garbanzo bean curry added a deliciously earthy depth of flavor.

Feel free to try different kinds of mushrooms. If using Portobello mushrooms, do not use the adult mushroom, use baby ones.

Curried Garbanzo Beans with Mushrooms

A tasty and hearty vegetarian curry

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 cups of dry garbanzo beans, soaked overnight, boiled with salt and a pinch of baking soda in four cups of water until tender (save the water)

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

2 black cardamoms

1 large onion, chopped finely or blended

1 2-inch piece of ginger, grated or blended

1 8-ounce-can of tomato sauce

1 teaspoon of fresh roasted cumin powder

1 teaspoon of fresh roasted coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1 small package of mushrooms, each sliced into 4 pieces

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Fresh chopped cilantro

In a pan, heat oil on high heat. Add bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamoms. When these start to sizzle, add onion and fry until light brown. Add ginger, turmeric and tomato. Fry for three to four minutes. Then add roasted cumin and coriander powder. Add salt and cayenne to taste. After a couple of minutes, add mushrooms. Saute for two to three minutes, then add garbanzo beans with the water they were boiled in. Cook until the gravy thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Before serving, garnish with cilantro.

Tip: Boiling garbanzo beans in a pressure cooker is much quicker, and the beans are softer.

This recipe can be made ahead and used the next day.

Jyoti Mukharji teaches Indian cooking classes in her Prairie Village home. In the past five years, more than 1,900 aspiring Indian chefs have come through her kitchen.