Kadai mushroom is a very easy and delicious dish of sautéed button mushrooms, onions, peppers (capsicum) in a spicy and tangy tomato sauce. The recipe takes 30 minutes to prepare and is delicious with naans, roti and even buns.
Mushrooms, spices, onions, tomatoes and peppers – their combination is never wrong.
Here I have shared three variations of how this dish is made:
- Semi-dry recipe: cooker recipe made in the kadai (wok).
- Instant Pot version: quick Instant Pot method.
- Stovetop Method: Stovetop Kadai Mushroom Sauce Recipe
You can create either one according to your preferences or the gadgets you have available. All three recipes are easy and tasty.
What is Kadai mushroom
Kadai Mushroom as the name suggests is made up of two words Kadai and Mushroom. In the Hindi language, the word “Kadai” or “Kadhai” refers to a dish resembling a Chinese wok.
Indian kadai is similar to Chinese wok, but it is much deeper than wok. Like the whole mushroom dish is made in kadai and hence the name Kadai mushroom.
In India, kadai (kadhai, karahi) is used for sautéing vegetables, for making Indian sweets and also for frying. It is a versatile pot that can be found in all Indian cuisines.
Additional ingredients like onions, tomatoes and green peppers are also added to the dish.
A special and unique spice mixture called “kadai masala” is also added. The kadai masala is freshly mashed and added to the dish.
Whenever you make a kadai recipe from a vegetable, paneer, or tofu, always pound or sprinkle the spices.
They add such aroma and flavor to food that is not possible when using ready-made or store-bought spice powders.
About this recipe
The semi-dry version of Kadai Mushroom tastes very good. As mentioned above, freshly roasted and mashed spices called kadai masala are added.
The spices that I add in the kadai masala are coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red peppers, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, black pepper, and mace (optional).
The citrus citrus notes of the ground coriander seeds are clearly felt in the dish. The red peppers impart a bright orange red color along with some heat and spice. The acidity and flavor come from the tomatoes.
In general, kadai mushroom is not a hot or spicy dish because the dried red peppers added are not so hot.
I used dried byadagi peppers in the recipe which are cooler and give a deep color. Byadagi peppers are an Indian variety of red peppers grown in Karnataka.
You can also easily add dried red Kashmiri peppers. Dried Kashmiri red peppers give a good color and spiciness to the dish without making it too hot or tangy.
This Kadai mushroom recipe can be hot and spicy depending on the type of added dried red chili peppers. So if you use hot peppers, the curry will be hot. If you use less hot and less hot peppers, the sauce will not be hot.
So, depending on the heat of the peppers, you can decrease or increase their quantity.
To make this dish satvik and without onion-garlic, you can easily sauté onion and garlic. It will always taste delicious.
You can serve it with roti or naan or paratha and accompanied by a salad.
Also Read: Mattar Methi Malai Mushroom
How to make a Kadai mushroom
Make Kadai Masala
1. First, dry-roast all the spices for the kadai masala over low heat in a kadai or skillet until fragrant.
The spices are – 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds, 3 to 4 dry red peppers, 2 cloves, ½ inch of cinnamon, 1 green cardamom, 3 to 4 black pepper and 1 single sprig of mace (optional).
2. Once the spices have cooled, add them to a jar.
3. Grind into a semi-fine powder. You can also grind into a fine powder.
4. Keep the kadai masala ground aside.
5. In the same pot, add the chopped tomatoes (2 medium to large tomatoes, mashed, about ¾ cup tomato puree. Use tomatoes that are ripe, red and not too tart).
6. Mix the tomatoes into a smooth puree. Set aside. No need to add water when making mash.
7. Slice 200 to 250 grams of button mushrooms. Thinly slice 1 medium to large bell pepper. Chop 1 medium onion (about ½ cup finely chopped onion). Set aside.
Sauté the mushrooms
8. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan or kadai / wok. Add the sliced mushrooms.
9. Stir and sauté the sliced mushrooms. You will first see the mushrooms releasing a lot of water.
10. After a few minutes, the water evaporates. Sauté until the mushrooms are golden on the edges.
11. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
Making kadai mushroom dry
12. In the same oil, add the finely chopped onions.
13. Sauté the onions until they turn translucent or lightly browned.
14. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste (1 inch of ginger + 3-4 small to medium garlic, crushed in a pestle). Stir and sauté until the raw aroma of garlic and ginger is gone.
15. Add the tomato puree (about ¾ cup).
16. Stir and sauté.
17. Sauté until you see oil coming out of the sides.
18. Add the sliced bell pepper (1 medium to large bell pepper). You can even add green bell pepper or red or yellow bell pepper.
19. Mix and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes over low heat.
20. Add the kadai masala soil we made. You can also add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder at this step. Adding turmeric powder is optional, however.
21. Mix very well.
22. Then add ½ cup of water.
23. Season with salt.
24. Simmer the sauce over low heat until you see a few grains of oil floating on top.
25. Add the sautéed mushrooms (200-250 grams).
26. Mix again.
27. Finally, add 1 teaspoon of crushed kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to the kadai mushroom. Turn off the stove. If you want, you can also add 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream to tone down the flavor. You can add about ¼ teaspoon of garam masala powder also.
28. Mix and serve the hot Kadai mushroom with roti, paratha or naan. While serving, you can garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and julienned ginger.
Advice and substitutes
- Roasting Spices: The spices are roasted until aromatic. Don’t brown them too much or burn them.
- Mushrooms: I used button mushrooms, but you can use any variety of fresh edible mushrooms.
- Dried red peppers: The color, spices, spiciness and heat factor of the dish depend on the type of red peppers used. So use hot peppers that have a low heat quotient like Kashmir peppers or Byadagi peppers. These peppers are low heat and also give a dark orange color to the dish. But if you like a spicy dish, you can use medium hot red peppers – just reduce the amount.
- Bell Pepper: Besides dry red chillies, the recipe also uses bell pepper or green bell pepper, which is a staple and essential ingredient. You can even use red or yellow peppers.
- Tomatoes: Use tomatoes that are not very tart or sour. You can even use packaged tomato puree. When using packaged tomato puree, add a little more water as they have a thick consistency.
About the Instant Pot Recipe
In this recipe, the kadai is replaced by the instant pot. Therefore, the recipe is done in less time and quickly.
Even though I used an instant pot, I kept the name instant kadai mushroom, just so readers can easily identify the recipe.
Also in this recipe, the unique blend of ground spices called kadai masala is made and added. This kadai masala gives a distinct aroma, flavor and taste to the dish.
I’ve kept this recipe and the cooking process very simple so recipes take less time.
The recipe tastes extremely good if you add fried or sautéed mushrooms to the sauce. But sautéing mushrooms until golden brown takes awhile, so I sautéed them for a few minutes and then pressure-cooked in the instant pan.