Category Archives: Vegetarian

Here you will find all of those recipes and good things to consume that are without meat, beware though they may not be Vegan safe but they certainly wont contain animal extracts of any kind….

Bhare Baghare Tamate (Stuffed Tomatoes)

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SAM_3450 I have been very quiet lately principally I believe if you have nothing to say then do that….. quiet is something that it is very difficult to find in the world that surrounds us all and as such one of the few things that can always one hope be done quietly is eating good food. Todays dish is a traditional one  that is not something you can bring together in ten minutes it will take you at least 90 minutes in the initial preparation and perhaps 30 to 4o minutes in the cooking so don’t undertake this recipe if you are looking for something quick. Its vegetarian all the way and one of those dishes that needs little else to help it along , but if you must have some more protein a fillet of white fish would compliment it for sure

The Whats in it

4 Beefsteak Tomatoes

Salt

For the Filling

Unsalted butter, for frying

150g/5oz (2 cups) chopped mushrooms

250g/9 oz Paneer, grated or crumbled

1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

4 green chillies, slit in half lengthways and de-seeded

24 cashew nut halves

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

For the Paste

4 tablespoons peanuts, roasted

2 tablespoons desiccated (dried flaked) coconut

4.5 tablespoons sesame seeds

250g/9 oz (2 small) onions

4 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the Sauce

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.5 teaspoons chilli powder

125ml/4.5 fl oz (0.5 cup) vegetable oil

0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

16 curry leaves

150g/5oz (1 medium) onion, sliced

3 tablespoons Ginger Paste

1 teaspoon Garlic Paste

100g/3.5 oz Fried Onion Paste

0.25 teaspoon Tamarind Extract

The How To do It

Blanch the tomatoes by putting then in a large heatproof bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunging them in cold water.  Remove the skin and slice off the top neatly with a sharp knife, then remove the core, taking care not to pierce the flesh.

To Make the Filling

Melt the butter in a large, heavy based pan over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and lightly fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated.

Transfer to a bowl, then add all the other ingredients for the filling, season with salt and mix together.

Put a portion of the filling in each of the blanched tomatoes and set aside, until 20 minutes before you wish to serve

Place in an oven at 180 degrees for as you begin to make the sauce if you prefer your tomatoes cooked through, then add to the sauce and follow the “sauce” part of the recipe

To Make the Paste

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, with a little water if necessary, and process to make a paste.  Set aside.

To Make the Sauce

Put the turmeric and chilli power in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and stir together.

Heat the oil in another large, heavy-based pan over medium heat

Add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until they start to splutter

Add the curry leaves, stir

Add the onions and lightly fry for about 2 minutes or until they are translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir fry for about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are golden.

Add the ground spice mixture to the pan and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated

Add the pastes and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the oil has separated out.

Pour in 750ml/1.25 pints (3.25 cups) water and season with salt.

Bring to the boil then stir in the tamarind extract.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is a thin sauce consistency

Place the stuffed tomatoes in the sauce, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve and enjoy, fantastic with a Naan!

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Getting in with the TINDA

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Punjabi Tinda Gravy Curry.

Back to dishes of the strictly vegetarian kind, a pond that I have not dipped my toe in for quite some time. I am tempted back by this beautiful recipe that features a vegetable that is not perhaps one you will find on any of the main stream supermarket shelves but will at your better than average Indian supermarket of which mine is one of the best, check this fruit and vegetable counter……..Jpeg

If you can get this particular delicious example of vegetable delight it’s a Satsuma sized apple looking veg which is citrusy in taste, and is very much part of the gourd family. You can get it in tins too but again you’re going to need the Indian supermarket to pick those up as well.

Give it time they will get to the standard supermarket sometime soon just not right now, probably because they’re not familiar in the West and without that familiarity and demand,  well you can work that out for yourself.

If you can’t get hold of the real deal you could of course use courgettes or young marrows and will offer pretty much the same result, that said I’m lucky I can get all that I recognise and a lot that I can’t but I’m working on that one. This was not a cheap vegetable though coming in at just under £2.00 per Kilo, some proteins come in cheaper than that, so veggie is not always the cheap alternative….SAM_3401

This recipe also features a TALIMPU or a  bagar, a vital step that gives the dish a perfect punch, in the most traditional of ways it features three vital ingredients onions, green chillies and curry leaves that can make almost any dish taste the part. Dealing with the ingredients of the Talimpu is also not without tradition, in that the  chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves easy enough but important to the end result. The other element is a wet masala again a traditional element featuring onion and spices cooked and then ground, so all in all lots to keep you interested although this is not a complex dish the two elements of the Bagar and the  wet Masala combine to make a very tasty dish indeed

Now you have all the vital info lets cook!tinda_masala_rvsd (2)

The Whats in it

Punjabi Tinda three or four to feed 2 persons

Onion 1

Tomato 1

Yogurt 1 Tbsp

Red Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp

Green Chillies 1

Salt to taste

Masala:

Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp

Urad Dal 1/2 tsp

Whole Dried Red Chillies 3 – 4

Coriander Seeds 1/2 Tbsp

Oil 1 tsp

Talimpu:

Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp

Curry Leaves 5

Oil 1 tsp

300ml approx. of water or Vegetable stock

The How to

First thing there is a little preparation – wash, remove ends peel and chop the Punjabi Tinda.

Then peel and dice the onion. Remove stems, wash and slice and de seed the green chillies. Finally prep the yoghurt by whisking then set aside.

Now we can get down to the cooking thing…..

Masala first by heating  a tsp of oil in your Karahi or heavy based pan, add all masala ingredients in order.

When  the mustard seeds start spluttering and the mixture is aromatic, add the onion and salt. Fry till onion turns golden brown and remove from heat.

Cool the mixture to room temperature and grind it into smooth paste with little water, in your pestle and mortar or food processor if you like things done in a hurry:)

next we move on to the Talimpu…….

Heat a teaspoon of oil in your now nicely clean Karahi or heavy based pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order and again  when the mustard seeds start spluttering, add chopped punjabi tinda, green chilli, tomato, turmeric powder and salt.

Now cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the Tinda has softened

Then stir in the  ground masala paste and about quarter cup of vegetable stock, cover gain!

Lower the heat to a simmer and allow to gently bubble away for at least  10 -15 minutes or until tinda is soft and kind of transparent, you may need to add a little more stock or water to keep things moist so don’t be scared to add as much as you think it needs.

This is important so if you need more than 15 minutes, do so as undercooked tinda is……….  well not the greatest!

Now uncover and  stir in the  red chilli powder, whisked yogurt and season with salt if necessary.

Garnish with some fresh Coriander and let the eating commence…..

You can serve this with either Rice or Chapatis, or Rotis  a little meat or fish would also not do it any harm either so enjoy….

Chole…… lets ChAAt about that

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SAM_3004On the streets Chole is the fast food of many, with it being served for breakfast in Lahore, and in the Punjab it is eaten as an anytime snack and referred to as Chaat, whilst in Gujarat it is a main meal and eaten with the delicious bathura!

So this is pretty much something you can eat anytime anywhere as it’s a simple, filling, and very tasty dish that is a basic for all Indian cooks, and as usual the secret is to get the spice balance right and pretty much everything else follows.

Whats in the chole

Here we go again buy some of the tinned chickpeas, and ensure you lay your hands on  as good quality pea as you can manage, the cheaper they are the longer you will need to cook them!

Alternatively buy the dried variety and spend several hours cooking them out, if that’s your choice bless you, however you will need whatever option you choose

1 and half cup chickpeas enough to feed about two persons……

2 medium sized onions chopped

Small tin of chopped Tomatoes

1 inch fresh Ginger peeled & finely chopped

½ tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp Chilli powder

1 tsp Amchur powder/dry mango powder

2  Green chillies chopped

1 tbsp. Ghee or oil

300ml of vegetable stock/water

salt

Punjabi chole masala

4-5 black cardamoms

1 inch cinnamon

5-6 peppercorns

3 cloves

1 bay leaf

1 and half tsp cumin seeds

1 and half tsp coriander seeds

1 and half tsp fennel seeds

2 red chillies

The first thing you need to do here is dry roast all of the above for a few minutes until they turn golden brown, keep them on the move and take care not to burn them, once they are a nice golden brown remove from the heat allow to cool, consign t the pestle and Mortar and grind to a fine powder.
In the pan that you roasted off the spices melt the ghee and fry the onions for a few minutes until they become translucent.
Add the ginger and green Chillies, and fry for a few minutes more.
Mix in the Chole masala and stir well ensuring the spices are well mixed in, if it looks like it is sticking add a little of the vegetable stock just to loosen things a little once mixed in and cooked in for a couple of minutes
add the tinned tomatoes, and a little salt to taste.
Now is the time to add the Amchur, Chilli and Garam Masala powders stir well……
Now all you need to do is cook until the Chickpeas are as soft and fluffy , or as crunchy as you like them that’s down to you.
 Add as much veg stock as this take and then serve with a Naan, rice, or Bathura whatever is your preference

Sema Baghaar…. Pulse & Pea Curry

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 SAM_3001 When I started this blog I made a very sweeping statement that I would not use any “tinned” foods, followers  will by now know that I have failed in this aspiration in that I will always use Tinned tomatoes when I need a sauce enhancer,ganesh and always where a deep tomato flavour is required…….

This little recipe is another such example where a tin is to be considered mightier than the fresh variety. Here comes that word convenience, tinned pulses are convenient and come in a multitude of varieties all well cooked and in tip top condition and lets face it, undercooked pulses are no fun. However if you prefer to pre-boil and cook off all your beans and pulses don’t let me stand in your way and you can re-join the recipe after the hour or two you have invested in getting them just right…..moving swiftly on a tinned pulse is good to go here if a little more expensive so select whatever pulses work for you and open the tins rinse em off and put em aside… job done convenience sometimes rocks.

The curry base however is from the ground up, and as a base curry is brilliant with a multitude of other options for its use, fish, chicken, lamb, goat whatever it is just a fantastic base curry and one that will make your taste buds do the loop the loop in appreciation. The base being the point where you have the sauce finished, and are about to decide what you are putting into it, in this case the pulses, but lets face it pulses and beans are not always the most tastey of things and therefore for this dish to work you do need  some very robust favours. This curry base features lots of garlic onion, ginger, and some sweetness too; all these flavours are bought to the dish using a Bahaar which at its most simple is a cooking technique used in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian cuisine, in which cooking oil, or ideally Ghee is heated and whole spices and sometimes other ingredients such as minced ginger root, garlic, and sugar are fried briefly to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into the dish. In this case there is a powder spice element too just for that extra edge, so dive into this as it is something very special on the taste front and really not too fiddly if as always you are prepared before you start

The What’s in IT

1 lb of beans (2 cups)

the secret here is to use what beans you can get, and pretty much anything goes what follows is some ideas on what you COULD use ………these days supermarkets supply some top quality cooked pulses and these will do just as well as the dried varieties. However if you can be bothered then wash and soak the beans overnight and cook as you should…..

That said any combination of the following cooked is what you will need in the end to add to the sauce

Large lima beans, small white beans, red kidney beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, speckled lima beans, black beans, green baby lima beans, whole green peas, yellow split peas, lentils, green split peas, small red beans, navy beans, blackeye peas, butter beans

1tbsp garden Peas

1 tbsp Sweetcorn

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

6 plump Garlic cloves rough choppedSAM_2999

1.5 inch ginger finely chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2 large Onions Finely Chopped

1tsp Mustard seeds

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 Tsp Garam masala

.5 tsp asafoetida

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

300ml Vegetable stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

Take a tablespoon of the vegetable stock and add it slowly  to the ground spices and mix to a firm paste, don’t make this too thin as you are adding this to the Bahaar!

Start off by heating the oil in a flat based saucepan or karia add  the onions and fry for about five minutes then add half the Jaggery/brown sugar and continue cooking until the onion is a dark golden brown, this is critical to the sauce and will ensure that the colour is right, the Jaggery or sugar will help to caramelise the onion, and add a sweetness to the sauce, that will balance the heat of the chillies, you can add a tablespoon of stock if it looks like the onions are sticking.

Continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes now is the time to add the spice paste that you made earlier and cook for a few minutes before adding  the tinned tomatoes stir well and bring back to the boil and allow to simmer while you prepare the Baghaar….

How to prepare a Baghaar

Heat the Ghee in a small saucepan on a high heat and add the cumin coriander and mustard seeds once they start to splutter remove from the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves garlic and ginger and green chillies and immediately return to the heat cook for a minute or two, on a medium heat add the rest of the Jaggery /brown sugar and stir well…… Not that tricky really now… add the Baghaar to the Tomato and onion mix and stir well together

Once the Baghaar  and onion mixes are united together this is the time to introduce the pulses, and as much of the Vegetable stock as you feel like to cook out the pulses , and thicken up the sauce to how you like it….

Add the tamarind pulp, garden peas, and the sweet corn….. SAM_3000stir well and turn the heat down and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Taste and season with salt, then……. serve with Naans chapati or tandoori chicken if you want some meat but whatever way you go its a delicious dish vegetarian or otherwise!

Phooling with the FunghI …….Kaju Khumb Makhane

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  SAM_2985Some months back I posted a recipe for Phool Makhani a fantastic little recipe that featured blown Lotus seeds that are first fried and then introduced to the curry sauce to produce a fantastic and different vegetarian ingredient that you don’t find everywhere. Since that time I have been researching this very unusual little addition to a curry that adds a very interesting crunchy yet at the same time creamy texture. It is also one of the recipes that is being constantly viewed, and if you believe the stats is very popular indeed. I have to say that there aren’t that many recipes out there that feature this unusual little ingredient that brings so much to the table, but I have just stumbled across this one that also adds cashew nuts and mushrooms into this taste sensation. Yes mushrooms and nuts a fantastic combination and both in the same dish how delicious is that going to get!…….So another recipe to feed my Funghi obsession wonderful the more the merrierThis image shows a few dried mushrooms.

The What’s In It

1.5 tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 tsp Ground Turmeric

1 tsp ground Coriander

125 g Ghee

1 Large Onion GratedSAM_2978

1tsp Kalonji(Nigella) Seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

2.5 tbsp Ginger Paste

2.5 tbsp. Garlic Paste

1 Large Tomato Chopped

175 ml Natural Yoghurt

500 gm Mushrooms chopped

75 gm Cashew Nut Paste

75 gm Lotus Puffs

250 ml Vegetable stock!

Salt to taste

1 Sprig Fresh Coriander……

The How to

First things first put all the ground spices into a bowl and add a little water and mix to a smooth paste…..

Prepare the Cashew nut paste by placing the nuts in a bowl and adding a little Vegetable stock and grinding with a pestle and Mortar or food processor to a smooth paste….set both aside until later

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Add a little ghee to a frying pan and fry off the Phool Makhani until they are golden Brown and set aside on some kitchen roll to cool and drain for later…..Add the remaining ghee in the same pan and add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the Kalonjii and cumin seeds and fry for a further couple of minutes or until they start to splutter, add the garlic, ginger, and finally the Cashew pastes and stir fry for another couple of minutes, then add the ground spice paste and again cook this out for another minute or two.

Throw in the tomato and continue to cook until the oil seperates out this shouldn’t take more that a minute or two…….doesn’t everything… take a minute or two that is:)SAM_2981Then remove the pan from the heat and begin to add the yoghurt slowly stirring all the time. season with a little salt and add the vegetable stock, and bring up the heat until it is almost boiling then reduce the heat again and simmer for about five to ten minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken, then you can add the mushrooms remembering that mushrooms only take a few minutes to cook through so aboutSAM_2983  five minutes or so should do it, or until the mushrooms are done to your liking and lose than uncooked look….. Finally add the Lotus seeds and cook until the sauce and everything looks and tastes  about right this is an intuitive judgement judgement as you are the one who knows how you like things to taste, so go on taste away and trust your judgement.

Serve with a garnish of Coriander……

Fusion Carbon Footprint veg curry

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Masala Spices Mixing it up…..

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Masala Spices Mixing it up…..
 

The following is a list of some of the spice mixes that have the title of Masala, and that’s what a masala is at its most simple a mixture of spices, of which there are many that fit the description of Masala. There is much to learn in getting them right and yes they are to some extent the theory behind the practice in getting to fully understand all that is the cooking of South East Asia. Masala is used in many recipes and the spice masala mixes I offer  here are some of the most common for you to dip in and out of as and when you need them, all of the combinations are to make about 50 grams  of the mix, which I suggest is more than you would need to fill the average dabba pot!

This is pretty dull on the cooking front but these Masala’s are really vital in a lot of dishes so I make no apology for publishing them, I am sure you will at some point find them useful, although these days it is often easier to go to the supermarket and buy a finished mix than to mix your own but take it from me , DIY is a lot more satisfying so get grinding 🙂

For the grinding I always prefer the traditional approach pestle & mortar but for some people automation works, electric spice grinders don’t do it for me like the pestle & mortar the aromas that assault the nose as you grind away is the bonus for the elbow grease you invest!

It is also wise to remember that these mixes are a matter of taste and are always to be regarded as approximate weights and measures experience will teach you what you like and what you don’t…..

The list will grow with the increase in the published recipes and if your in need of something you can’t find here,  all you need to do is drop me a message, in the meantime if you want to find out a bit more about the herbs and spices they include have a look in my Dabba(Click)

Dabba doo

Garam Masala

20 grams cumin seedsHomemade garam masala. Photo taken in Kent, Oh...

7.5 grams coriander seeds

4.5 grams black cardamom

4.5 grams black peppercorns

4 grams green cardamoms

4grams ground ginger

Grind to a fine powder and then sieve out, or strain, store in an airtight container

Chat Masala

7.5  Gm Cumin Seeds

7.0  GmBlack peppercorns

2 tsp Black Salt

3.5 Gm Dry Mint Leaveschaat

0.5 Tsp Ajwain Seeds

0.25 tsp Asafoetida

0.1 tsp Tartaric Acid

15 gm Amchoor

1tsp salt

0.5 tsp Ground ginger

0.5 tsp Yelow Chilli powder

Put all the ingrediedients except the amchoor , salt ground ginger and yellow chilli powder in a mortar and pound with a pestle, orgrind in a spice grinder to a fine powder.

transfer to a clean dry bowl and add the remaining ingredients and mix well sieve and then store in sterilized dry airtight container

Sambhar Masala

12.5 gm Coriander seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

0.5 tsp fenugreek

0.5 tsp black peppercornsparsi-sambhar-masala-250x250

0.5 tsp mustard seeds

0.5 tsp poppy seeds ground

0.5 cinam0n stick

8 curry leaves

0.5 tsp chana daal rinsed and drained

0.5tsp  arhar or toor (toover) daal rinsed and drained

0.5 tsp veg oil

3 large dried red chillies

0.5 tsp ground turmeric

You will firstly need to dry roast each ingredient except the red chillies and turmeric, use a dry frying pan or skeillet over a medium heat for a few moments

or until the spices and curry leaves are fragrant and the daals are golden

Add the oil to the pan and heat through then add the dried red chillies and stir fry for about one minute or until fragrant .mix all the ingredients together in a Mortar and pound with a pestle to a fine powder  then store in a dry airtight container….

The following is a spice mix that is a speciality of Bengali Cuisine and literally translates to the spice that crackles five times…..

 Paanch PhoremPaanch

30g cumin

30g fennel

1.5tsp fenugreek seeds

1.5 tsp yellow Mustard Seeds

2 Tablespoons Nigella seeds