Small fistful of shredded mint leaves
Small handful of fresh chopped coriander
5 tbsp vegetable oil
650 g Basmati rice, soaked if you have time for 20 minutes
Whole garam masala – 2 black cardamom pods, 5 cloves, 5 green cardamom, 4 inch cinnamon stick, 10 black peppercorns
Salt and sea salt to taste
Good pinch of saffron strands soaked in 2 tbs hot milk and 1 tbs double cream for 30 minutes
250 g puff-pastry plus some flour to roll out
½ tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1 egg, whisked (optional)
For the mushrooms:
5 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and grated on a microplane grater
25 g ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane grater
4 medium-large tomatoes, quartered
200 g plain (full fat) yoghurt (if it is quite sour, then 180 g)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1½ cumin powder
¾ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp garam masala
60 ml double cream or to taste
1 rounded tbsp tomato puree or to taste
350 ml water
800 g mixed mushrooms, well cleaned and sliced or torn into large pieces
Blend together the tomatoes and yoghurt until smooth.
Start with the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan. Add the onion and cook until golden on the edges. Add in the ginger and garlic and cook gently until the smell of raw garlic has disappeared, around a minute or so.
Add the blended tomatoes, all the spices and the salt and give the pan a stir. Cook this mixture down until it becomes thick and a paste and releases oil into the pan. Then continue cooking for another couple of minutes to darken this paste.
Stir in the mushrooms and cook these for four to five minutes or until they release their water, cover the pan after two minutes but keep giving the pot a stir. Add 150 ml water and bring to a boil, the simmer for seven to eight minutes or until the whole thing comes together. Add the tomato puree and the cream.
Taste and adjust seasoning, add more cream or puree to balance the sourness in the tomatoes and yoghurt. The sauce should be like thick cream. Take off the heat.
For the rice, heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the whole spices and cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice and stir well to mix. Add one litre boiling water and season to taste. Bring to a boil then cover and cook on a really low heat until the rice is just done, around seven to nine minutes. Check after seven minutes. Take off the heat and reserve.
Bring the whole thing together. Heat the oven to 220ºC. Find a suitable dish that is both oven proof and table ready. Layer half the rice in the dish, spoon the mushrooms and sauce evenly over it. Sprinkle over the herbs and finish with the remaining rice. Drizzle over the saffron milk.
Roll out the puff pastry to fit the dish. If you are using the fenugreek leaves sprinkle over the top along with a little sea salt and pat in so they stay in place. Place over the rice, sealing the edges; trim any excess pastry. Brush with the egg, if using. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked all the way through.