Mushrooms in a Coriander-Scented White Sauce


Indian Home Cooking

Published by Clarkson Potter

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I love the dense, meaty texture of mushrooms; as a vegetarian, I don’t get to eat many foods with such a satisfying chew. This recipe has a lovely, woodsy mushroom fragrance in a lightly spiced, buttery, creamy sauce. It’s excellent with pooris and a raita.

NotesGaram Masala: The most important spice mixture used in northern Indian cuisine. It goes particularly well with onion-based sauces for meats and poultry but it is used to flavor many other dishes, including vegetables, chaots (snacks), dais (legumes), and raitas. Sometimes the spices are used whole and simply cooked into the dish. Or the spices are toasted and then ground together into a blend (as in the recipe below) and the mixture is stirred in at the end of cooking. Although garam masala is not as fiery hot as some Indian spice blends, black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon give it a different kind of heat that comes on slowly and lasts awhile. Since many of the recipes in this’ book use garam masala, it’s worthwhile to make a good quantity to have on hand. You can keep it for up to 3 or 4 months in an airtight container. This is my favorite blend:

1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

2 bay leaves

¼ cup cumin seeds

1/3 cup coriander seeds

1 rounded tablespoon green cardamom pods

1 rounded tablespoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons whole cloves

1 whole dried red chile

1/8 teaspoon ground mace

Combine the cinnamon, bay leaves, cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, and red chile in a frying pan and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cumin turns uniformly brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Put into a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the mace and store in an airtight container.


Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian


Taste and Texturecreamy, garlicky, meaty, spiced, umami

Type of Dishvegetable


  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, mashed to a paste in a mortar and pestle, or minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk (skim, low-fat, or whole)
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on size
  • ¼ teaspoon garam masala (see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper


  1. Heat the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the coriander and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour. Then replace the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, 2 more minutes. Gradually pour in the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Then add the mushrooms, give them a stir, and simmer very gently for 5 minutes. Stir often while the mushrooms cook, scraping the bottom and into the corners of the pan to keep the sauce from burning.

  4. Stir in the garam masala and continue to cook at a bare simmer until the mushrooms are tender but still have some bite, 3 to 5 more minutes. Stir in the white pepper and taste for salt. Serve hot.


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