Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for spicy mushroom kheema
When it’s damp and chilly outside, I often turn to a gaudy, floral book of recipes I’ve collected from around India. One of my husband’s favourite dishes is this kheema from the Olympia Coffee House, a Mumbai institution where time goes by as slowly as the ceiling fans. It’s a softly spiced, sweet mince, flecked with herbs and best eaten doused in lime juice with thick slices of white bread. I’ve created this vegan version to transport us all there, for one meal at least.
Smoked tofu, mushroom and almond kheema
Prep 20 min
Cook 35 min
650g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
200g smoked tofu, like Taifun, chopped
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 white onion, peeled and finely diced
4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 green finger chillies, chopped (or less, to taste)
100g ground almonds
1 tsp garam masala
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp turmeric
¾ tsp salt
200g petit pois, defrosted
3 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped
15g (5 tbsp) fresh coriander, finely chopped
8 bread rolls
1 red onion, peeled and very finely chopped
Mustard oil (optional)
Put the mushrooms in a food processor and pulse to a coarse mince, but be careful not to take them too far and turn them into soup. Scrape into a bowl, then blitz the tofu to the same size as the mushrooms and add to the bowl.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium flame and, when hot, fry the onion, stirring often, for 10 minutes, until translucent and browning. Add the ginger, garlic and chillies, stir-fry for two minutes, then add the almonds and stir-fry for four minutes, until they’re a shade darker.
Add the ground spices and salt, mix to combine, then add the mushrooms and tofu, mix again and leave to cook for 10-12 minutes, until the mushrooms have reduced. Finally, stir in the peas, cook for two minutes, then take off the heat and stir through the herbs.
Cut the rolls in two and fry the halves over a high heat in a drizzle of oil until crisp and warm. Serve the kheema alongside the buns on individual plates. Top with the red onion, squeeze over the lime and finish with a drizzle of mustard oil, if using.