A few years ago, when I was still flatsharing in London, I lived with a girl called Justine. Before we’d even moved in together, we’d met up in a bar to sign the papers and got hilariously drunk on numerous cocktails. A bond over a mojito is unbreakable, well in our case it was anyway.
To this day it has been one of my happiest flatshares. We partied. We danced on the coffee table. We talked and talked. I introduced her to her now husband James. We cooked. And we had Friday night curry. This was tradition. Many years later, it still is. Today, married with a gorgeous daughter and a great new career as an interior designer, she still upholds this curry ritual when I visit on a Friday evening – we either order from the local curry house or she makes several dishes herself. All stunningly delicious might I add!
These are the little things that make our friendship something to cherish. We’ve seen each other through our very worst times but we also are each other’s biggest cheerleaders when life is good. It’s like having a second family. It’s irreplaceable.
I don’t claim this curry is going to be as good as anything Justine has made, but it’s most definitely in the spirit of Friday night!
Mushroom, Pepper and Pea Curry
Adapted from a recipe in Top Santé magazine from Anjum Anand
4tbsp vegetable oil
250g mixed mushrooms (oyster, shiitake and chestnut), cut into 2cm slices
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 small onion, finely chopped
6g fresh root ginger, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use my Cuisinart mini food processor to do the garlic and ginger together – it’s quicker!)
3 tomatoes, cored and blended into a purée (Cuisinart again but you can use a stick blender if needed)
1tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 red pepper
A handful of frozen peas
2 tbsps natural yoghurt (this is optional but I promise it makes it that little bit more special)
Chopped coriander, for garnish
Heat 2tbsps of the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and fry over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat another 2tbsps of oil and add the coriander seeds. Once these go darker, add the onion. Cook until golden. Then add the garlic and ginger and cook on low for 2 minutes. Pour in the spices and blended tomatoes, season and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in the pepper, peas and add a splash of water and cook for approximately 4 minutes (until the peppers have softening). Add the mushrooms, cover for a few minutes (I use foil). Finally stir in the yoghurt, bring back to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped coriander. Serve with boiled rice.
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side dish.
NB: I have also made this by replacing the peas with spinach. Worth a try.