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Recipes

Aubergine/Eggplant in Coconut-Cashew Gravy

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Origin

I had some coconut milk left over from making pumpkin in coconut milk, and because I have trouble resisting baby aubergines (they’re so cute!) I had a dozen of those. So I looked for recipes to use them, and found this and this, but wasn’t completely satisfied with either, so I made something in between. This is a very mild, creamy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 baby aubergines
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 piece of cassia cinnamon
  • 1 dried red chilli
  • a few curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen coconut
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • coriander leaves (cilantro), to garnish

Method

Put the cashews in a bowl, and just cover them with boiling water. Set aside.

Cut a cross into the bottom of each of the baby aubergines. Cut about halfway up the vegetable. Leave the top intact to hold the aubergine together.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on high. Add the aubergines, and toss until they some brown spots. Then reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, tossing them from time to time. Cook about ten minutes in total, then remove them from the pan and set aside. Reduce the heat to low.

While the aubergines are cooking, roughly dice the onion and purée it with a little water. Set it aside.

Purée the cashews, using water as needed, to form a smooth paste. Set it aside.

In the cooler pan, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and turn the heat to medium. Once the heat pan is warm, add the cassia, cumin seeds, curry leaves, chilli, chilli powder, turmeric and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop, then add the onion and cook over low-medium heat until the raw smell disappears.

Add the coconut milk, vegetable bouillon, cashew paste, the coconut, and a couple cups of water. Add the aubergines to the pan. They do not need to be covered by the liquid. Allow to simmer on medium until the sauce is thick and the aubergines are soft when you insert a fork.

Remove from the heat. Add garam masala, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

Discard the curry leaves, aubergine tops, and cassia when eating. Serve with rice or roti.

 

Vegan Chocolate Brownies

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I made these quickly one evening when I was in  the mood for brownies and had to work with what I had in the house.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • liquid stevia to taste

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit/180° Celsius. Lightly grease a square baking pan.

Mix the chia seeds with the water and set it aside.

Combine the baking powder, cocoa powder, flour, sugar, chilli powder and cinnamon. A small pinch of chilli powder brings out the chocolate taste.

Add the oil, syrup, extract, stevia and chia seed water to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. The amount of stevia will depend very much on the brand and how sweet you like your brownies. Pour the mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife inserted in the brownies comes out clean. Allow it to cool for at least half an hour before cutting.

Laganophake Dal

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Origin

I wanted to make use of horse gram outside of Indian cuisine. Laganophake is a Roman lentil and wine stew typically made with Puy lentils. It seemed like a good opportunity for a fusion dish. There was no reason wine couldn’t be used in place of tomatoes, and the seasoning could borrow from both traditions.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup firm lentils, such as horse gram or Puy (I used horse gram)
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil (I used peanut oil)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1 cup red wine, such as Burgundy
  • salt (I used Himalayan pink salt) to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 20 curry leaves
  • cilantro or parsley, to garnish

Recipe

If you are using horse gram, soak it overnight then rinse it well when ready to cook. Other varieties of lentils can simply be rinsed.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep pan over medium heat. You can use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time for the lentils. Meanwhile, chop the onion. When the pan is hot, reduce the heat and cook the onion in it, stirring frequently, until it is completely soft and partially caramelized. Remove and reserve some of the onion for garnish.

Return the heat to medium and add the cumin seeds, thyme, oregano and anise seeds. Cook until the cumin seeds are lightly browned, then add the lentils, wine, a few cups of water, a little salt, and black pepper.

If you are cooking it in an ordinary pot, put the lid on. Cook until the lentils can be squeezed between a thumb and a finger, stirring from time to time and adding more liquid as needed. With horse gram this can take one and a half hours. Alternately, pressure cook for approximately 25 minutes.

When the lentils are cooked, remove the lid and allow them to simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.

While the lentils are reducing, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Cook until the seeds sputter and the curry leaves have darkened. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to the lentils. Taste after the liquid is absorbed and add additional salt if needed.

Serve with rice or bread (I used methi paratha), garnished with the reserved onion and cilantro.

Note

If preparing this as a vegetarian dish, ensure that you get a vegan wine. Isinglass is often used in wine production.

 

Refrigerator Bread

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I got this recipe from my father. It is a very handy recipe if you like the taste of fresh bread, but hesitate to bake entire loaves because you have a small household. The recipe makes enough for about two loaves of bread, but you can bake them over the course of several days. Another nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t require any true kneading.

I used it to make cinnamon-roll bread:

One downside of this recipe is that it has quite a bit of sugar. Next time I will use less than it recommends, closer to one tablespoon per loaf. When I used it to make pita-style bread to accompany my bean meze, it made proper pockets, but it was too sweet. (To make this bread, I did not give it a rise but just rolled it out and let it rest a few minutes before putting it in a 220° Celsius/430° Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes.) Next time I make the bread I will significantly reduce the sugar.

It also seemed a bit sweet when I used it as a crust for a mozzarella and pesto pizza, although it was less noticeable because my basic tomato sauce is sweetened a little with carrots. (For the pizza, I rolled it out and let it rest a few minutes, then baked in a 220° Celsius/430° Fahrenheit oven for 8 minutes.)

I finished the dough off by making sweet rolls with raisins and sultanas.

The Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 packages of dry active yeast
  • 5½ – 6 cups of flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups warm water
  • ¼ cup of butter or soft shortening
  • ½ cup sugar (I recommend using less)
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Method

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl; stir to dissolve.  Add sugar, salt, and about ½ the flour.  Beat with electric mixer on medium for two minutes or stir by hand until mixture is smooth.

Add egg and shorting; beat to mix.  Mix the remaining flour with hands or spoon until dough is easy to handle.  Shape into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover tightly and place in the refrigerator and let the dough rise for at least 2 hours.  Punch down dough every day until you use it.  Two hours before you want to serve hot rolls, punch down dough, cut and shape to make rolls.  Brush on butter or oil and let rise in a warm place for 1½ hours.  Bake in hot oven (200° Celsius/400° Fahrenheit for 12 to 15 minutes.

For bread bake at 180° Celsius/350° .

Dough may be kept in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Vegetable Pie with Butterbean Mash

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Origin

I’ve been making quite a few Greek dishes, and I love the creaminess of beans cooked in olive oil. This recipe made me think of making the beans into the mash in a pie-style dish. I am sure you could vary this with a different combination of vegetables, depending on what you have available.

Ingredients

  • 800 grams (cooked weight) giant white beans
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 200 grams potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 handful of dried mu-err mushrooms
  • 150 grams tinned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 250 grams mushrooms
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon seaweed flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • salt to taste

Process

Soak the mu-err mushrooms for at least half an hour in cool water and rinse them well before using.

Soak the beans overnight if using them dried. Cook in a little water with all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. If you are using canned beans, drain and rinse them and add them to a pan with enough water to cover and all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add salt and fresh thyme and simmer the beans for half an hour. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Remove and discard the thyme stems.

Mash the beans, using one tablespoon of olive oil and some of the reserved cooking water. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

The reserved bean liquid should measure about four cups. Reduce it if there is too much.

Dice the potato, carrot and tomato and put them to simmer in a pan with the reserved bean liquid. Dice the celery, mushrooms and mu-err mushrooms and add them to the pan.

Dice the onion and cook on medium-low heat in a frying pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the onion to the other pan, along with the peas and corn. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius/350° Fahrenheit. Cook until the carrots, potato and celery are soft and the tomatoes have dissolved.

Add nutritional yeast, seaweed flakes, Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Put the vegetables in a square baking dish.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and add liquid to blend. Mix the slurry into the pan. Let the liquid cook down until thick, then pour it over the vegetables.

Top the vegetables with the bean mash and cook for 30 minutes, until the bean mixture is just starting to turn golden on top.

 

Baked Vegetables and Chickpeas in Green Yoghurt Gravy

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Origin

This is a simplified version of the gravy used in the vegetable biryani recipe I use.

Ingredients

  • 500 grams potatoes
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 400 grams (cooked weight) chickpeas
  • 2 cups packed mint leaves (1 large bunch)
  • 2 cups loosely packed coriander leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2″ (5 cm) of ginger
  • 2 large onions
  • 2 green chillis
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 500 grams Greek yoghurt
  • Mixed vegetables, such as:
    • 250 grams mushrooms
    • 400 grams green beans
    • 2 courgettes/zucchini
    • 2 romano peppers
    • … carrots and cauliflower are other vegetables which might go well in this dish

Process

Chop the mixed vegetables, onions and potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the chickpeas to the bowl. Dice the tomatoes and add them to the bowl as well.

Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius/350° Fahrenheit.

Grind the mint leaves, coriander leaves, ginger, chillis and garlic. Add water as needed to ensure it is ground into a paste. Mix the paste with the yoghurt, salt, oil and spices. Pour this paste over the chopped vegetables and chickpeas and stir to mix.

Put the mix into a large baking tray and bake, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and stir, then continue to cook, stirring at 15-minute intervals, until the vegetables are completely cooked and excess liquid has evaporated (about 45 minutes).

Add additional salt to taste. Serve with Greek yoghurt. You could also serve it with pasta or rice.

Warm Corn and Bean Salad

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Origin

I cooked too many kidney beans one day and needed to use the leftovers, so I made a variation of rice and beans with vegetables without the rice.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams cooked and rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 250 grams corn kernels
  • 1/2 green chili (optional)
  • 1/2 pimenton or other sweet red pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 spring onion (scallion) – green part only
  • a few sprigs of coriander leaf (cilantro)
  • salt to taste

Process

Dice the onion finely. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-low and add the onion when it is warm. Cook the onion slowly until soft and beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

While the onion is cooking, chop the sweet pepper and the chili and set them aside. Chop the spring onion and mince the coriander leaf.

Add the sweet pepper and chili pepper to the onion. Cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the corn, kidney beans and taco seasoning. Adjust to taste with taco mix and salt. Cook just until the beans and corn are warmed through.

Serve garnished with the chopped coriander and spring onion.