I felt pretty blah today, so lovingly prepared vegan meal would cheer me up. Here’s my take on a recipe from one of my new cookbooks: “The Indian Vegan Kitchen” by Madhu Gadia.
I originally bought “The Indian Vegan Kitchen” because Rich and I give a lot of money to Satish Palace, an Indian restaurant that we LOVE in Montclair, NJ. Also, I promised that I wanted to cook more at home, so I figured I should make it interesting for myself. I was really surprised at how thorough this book by Madhu Gadia really was. It even breaks down the nutritional content! I’ve included that for both recipes, even though Rich and I had slightly bigger servings than indicated here. We still have leftovers for 2 or 3 meals.
A note on some of the ingredients: You can find asafetida in a Indian specialty market. It’s basically a spice powder that has a funky smell, much like the turmeric which can smell a bit like unwashed armpit. This smell disappears completely upon cooking. If you can find a store that focuses specifically on Indian food, you can probably buy a bigger than you need for a much cheaper price than a much smaller container of cumin at a regular grocery store. For example, the bag of cumin seed, a bag of turmeric AND the asafetida cost us $6 total at Urvesh Grocery, 230 N. Main Street, Passaic, NJ. Now, I’m stocked for some other recipes without having to make a mad store dash just for those spices. You can also order these spices online.
Cauliflower & Peppers (Gobhi-Mirch Subji)
Makes: 12 servings of 1/2 cup each
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 84; Total Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 0.5 g); Carbohydrate: 9 g; Protein: 2 g; Fiber: 3 g; Sodium: 309 mg.
1 whole head of cauliflower
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 sweet yellow pepper, choppped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
4 tbsp OVOO
1/2 tsp asafetida
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 coups of onion, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, peeled & grated
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tsps lemon juice
Wash off the cauliflower head. Carefully break the white florets free from the sturdy green stem. You don’t want to mash the florets. Each one should be about 1 inch, but I think breaking them down to a manageable 1-2 bite size is good. Chop the peppers and remove the membrane and seeds. Mix these vegetables together.
Heat oil in a nonstick pan with high sides so everything will fit easily later. Add asafetida and cumin seeds to the oil. Cook for a few seconds until the seeds get a little gold. Add onion and cook until the onion is transparent, then add ginger.
Now, you’re ready to add vegetables. Sprinkle with salt, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. We forgot we didn’t have coriander, but if you have it, add that too! Lift and turn the veggies as you stir so the spices are distributed evenly. Then cover with a lid and reduce heat. The veggies can cook for 10-12 in their own juice. You can add 1-2 tbsps of water if you think it’s about to stick to the pan.
Before transferring the food to a serving dish sprinkle with lemon juice. If you leave it covered in the pan, it will keep cooking and the veggies become mush.
Curried Spinach Couscous (Palak Couscous)
Makes: 6 servings of 1/2 cup each
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 138; Total Fat: 3 g (Saturated Fat: 0 g); Carbohydrate: 24 g; Protein: 4 g; Fiber: 2 g; Sodium: 307 mg.
1 cup of couscous (about 1 box of Near East brand couscous)
1 tbsp OVOO
1 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cups of frozen spinach
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 cups water
Heat a large nonstick fry pan. We added a little tiny bit of oil before adding dry couscous to roast for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, we remove the slightly browned couscous and set them aside on another plate. A tbsp of oil was introduced to the still hot pan and we threw in the unused chopped onion from the cauliflower recipe. The cookbook said spring onions, but we figured 1/4 of an onion would do.
After 2-3 minutes, add ginger, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and mint leaves. Stir well.
After the stirring, add spinach, salt, and sugar. Make sure the spinach is covered with all these wonderful spices. if you use frozen spinach. You will want to press the excess water out of the spinach before putting it in the pan. We used a 12 oz. bag of chopped spinach for our batch. Add the 2 cups of water and bring to boil.
When boiling begins, add couscous and thoroughly stir together all these ingredients. Reduce heat, cover with lid and allow it cook for 7-8 minutes until the couscous absorb the water. Transfer to serving dish so it won’t keep cooking and stick to the pan.