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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Chermoula Mushroom and Potatoes

Chermoula is a North African spice-paste/sauce-mix with rich flavors that I appreciate in Indian curries. For this recipe, I deviated slightly from my Chermoula Eggplant Two Ways formula in keeping with my fusion cuisine signature.

I had just a couple of wedges of Preserved Lemons left and thought they'd be perfect for this batch of Chermoula. When I make a batch, it is usually a large one, so I store it in the fridge for upto 5 days and use it up to flavor different dishes.

Potatoes and mushrooms with sauteed onions are such a perfect combination, and with some green bell peppers they turn heavenly.

So, I decided to serve them in two ways:
  1. Chermoula Mushroom and Potatoes, infused with South Indian flavor from Curry leaves and dry red chilies
  2. South Indian pan-sauteed Mushroom and Potatoes with Curry Leaves, Tempered with Mustard Seeds and Urad Dal

Chermoula Mushroom and Potatoes

For Chermoula sauce:
2 Tbsp coriander powder
1 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro leaves, stem and all
2 Tbsp sweet paprika powder
1 Tbsp whole black pepper
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
4 Tbsp Sambal Oelek
2 wedges of preserved lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil

3 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed (or any other variety of potatoes)
8 to 10 Baby Bella or Cremini - small Portabella mushrooms, sliced
6 to 8 Snow peas (optional)
6 curry leaves (available at Indian stores)
1 Jalapeño pepper sliced
1 medium green bell pepper chopped into chunks (optional)
1 small yelow onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. Combine the chermoula ingredients and grind to a fine paste, adding water if needed
  2. Par-cook the potatoes in the microwave
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan, add the curry leaves and jalapeños and sauteé a bit; then add the onions, chermoula paste and lower the heat to medium and sauté stirring frequently till the chermoula paste loses the rawness and turns a richer, deeper color
  4. Add the mushrooms, snow peas, bell peppers and par-cooked potatoes, cover and allow to simmer for a few minutes over low to medium-low heat till flavors meld and potatoes are cooked through but not mushy
  5. Serve warm with plain hot basmati rice or flatbread 

Mushroom and Potatoes South Indian style

Many of the vegetables sides I grew up with were made in the simple South Indian style of tempering with mustard seeds and urad dal (peeled, split black gram), with curry leaves and dry red chilies, some salt; and perhaps some grated coconut. 

To this day, I love green beans and all varieties of string beans, snake gourd, chayote squash and pumpkin cooked this way.

½ tsp mustard seeds
2 Tbsp vegetable oil or sesame oil
6 to 8 fresh curry leaves
2 to 3 dry red chilies, broken to release the seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Peeled, cubed and cooked potatoes, firm not mushy
Sliced Portabella mushrooms (or any other favorite)
diced onions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, when the oil is shimmering, add the urad dal and allow it to get golden brown; then add the mustard seeds and cover with a screen lid to contain the splattering mustard seeds, then immediately add the dry red chilies and then the curry leaves; allow the curry leaves to crisp up a bit, then add the asafoetida and turmeric powder
  2. Add the onions and sauté a bit, then add the potatoes and mushroom, stir well and cover and cook on medium-low heat for a few minutes till mushroom sweats and is not raw anymore
  3. This dish is fairly dry so cook till excess water from the mushrooms and onions are gone
  4. Serve with rice and sambar or koottu or dal

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