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Channa Gassi

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This coconut onion sauce with chickpeas comes from coastal Karnataka in southern India.

I had already cooked my chickpeas the previous day, in anticipation of making another dish, so they didn’t develop the same full taste they would have had if I had cooked them with the sauce, as advised in the original recipe. However, I simply perked up the leftovers by adding two peeled tomatoes and cooking it until they were soft, which greatly improved it.

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.

 

Olan

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According to this recipe, the dish can be made with ash gourd or with yellow pumpkin. I used Hokkaido pumpkin, which is widely available where I live. It is a simple dish, consisting of cowpeas and pumpkin in coconut milk.

Runner Bean Curry

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Here’s the recipe for runner beans and potatoes in a coconut milk curry.

Sweet Corn Ginger Soup

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I got this recipe from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. Corncobs are used to make a broth, while onion, celery, garlic, ginger and paprika powder are cooked in a bit of oil. The vegetables are then simmered in the broth, along with coconut milk. Finally the soup is blended and the corn kernels are cooked briefly in it. It is topped with coriander leaf (cilantro).

The recipe calls for straining out the vegetable mash before adding the corn kernels. This makes for a light, creamy soup.

However, I liked it better with the mash retained, which makes for a richer soup and a brighter colour.

Kollu Poriyal

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After I had leftover lentils from the previous dish using horse gram, I decided to make this dish. The previous dish was Andhra style, and this is Tamil.

Dal Tadka with Pandan

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This is a variation of Rick Stein’s recipe for lentils with coconut milk and pandan leaf. I used red (masoor) lentils.