Here is my second recipe using the Dance Spice Blend. It is quick to make and a fun mix to experiment with according to your own taste. I mainly use three primary veggies and a little bit of chopped onion and tomato to add to the taste.
Mushrooms are cheap, easy to find and super easy to handle. Their nutritious value and elaboration of the diverse classes of nutrients found in them would require a whole book. So to keep it short, here is something that should be of interest. In my opinion, a mushroom is the most humble and minimalist embodiment of life. If animal red meat is Alexander-the great, then mushroom must be Buddha. Or maybe a better analogy would be of meat as the Empire and mushroom being Yoda. It does not ask for any tending or care and the poor fungi eats the rotting organic nitrates and converts them into the exact essential amino acids that a quadrupedal hoofed mammal does. The only difference being the 1000-fold energy efficiency of mushrooms to create the same output material (think protein) as compared to farm animals.
As a vegetarian dish enhancer, it adds texture, earthly flavor and a lot of humble elegance to anything you add it to. For this dish, I use the cheapest button mushrooms that could be found at almost every grocery store and every farmer's market. They are small, plump and have a short stem. Just wash them and thick slice them.
Jalapeno peppers are quite juicy compared to the thin green chilies you find in Indian subcontinent. And at the same time, Jalapeno peppers are mild compared to the green chilies. Since Jalapeno's contribution to this dish is just a little bit, I will keep my Jalapeno philosophy to this level also.
Green beans or French beans are quite under-appreciated when compared with their cousin peas. But that could be attributed to the fact that first stringless french beans were bred in late 19th century as compared to peas that were bred only about 4000 years ago. For this dish, I always prefer uncooked raw beans washed and chopped and cooked with the mushrooms and pepper to fully amalgamate the taste. If that is not an option, the canned french beans work perfectly fine also. The only difference being their addition in to the dish quite later during the cooking process. The last thing I want in my mushroom pepper dish is a gooey french bean syrup.
Since chopped onion and chopped hard red tomato is only required in miniscule quantity, I am just mentioning them here so you do not forget them. Here are more details on red onion and hard red tomatoes from previous recipes.
- One tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Half lb sliced white-capped mushrooms
- One handful of green beans or one small can
- Half small red onion - finely chopped
- Half small tomato - finely chopped
- One medium-sized Jalapeno pepper - cut lengthwise
- One teaspoon of the Dance Spice
- Salt to taste
- Coriander leaves for garnish (optional)
- Remaining tomato half for garnish (optional)
- Quarter of a fresh lemon (optional)
- Chop all the vegetables before beginning the cooking ritual. Then heat plenty of water in a deep skillet or pan and bring it to a boil. The water quantity does not matter, but should be enough to serve as the mushroom swimming pool. Turn off the heat and add the sliced mushrooms. Let them sit for 5 minutes and drain the water.
- Now heat the oil in a smaller pan, add the dance spice and let it sizzle for not more than a minute. My rule of thumb is to always be ready with chopped vegetables as I add the spice blend to the oil. Depending on how hot the oil is, it usually takes 30 seconds to a minute before the spice starts to scorch, and the goal is to add veggies before the oil is left as a tarry mix. Now add the onions and saute (for 2-3 mins) till the onions lose some color and become lighter. Now add the chopped tomatoes and jalapeno and stir for couple minutes. In about 3 minutes (or sometimes lesser time) the tomatoes will be all soft and mushy.
- Now add salt (optional) and throw in the sliced mushrooms along with green beans. Give a little stir, pour a quarter cup of water and turn the stove to low/medium. Cook till the curry is dry (in about 8 - 10 minutes).
- Garnish with coriander leaves and some chopped tomato (optional). One little addition that I do is sprinkle a quarter of lemon wedge. Never use Lime! Only the yellow lemon, but for first time, go without the lemon even.