Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A little Veggie Indian Feast

Over the past few years I have flirted with going ‘veggie’ even at times ‘vegan’ however it just isn’t practical, and I don’t think I am really that committed in the long term. The thing is I adore my vegetables, preferring them over most meat and fish and so find myself more often than not cooking veggie based meals, and tonight was no exception! In fact if you discount the knorr chicken stockpot and the mint raita it was all virtually vegan! I do find you have to make more effort with veggie food but I really enjoy the challenge!

Tonight I got to make a lovely mess of the kitchen, which my very patient flatmate didn’t even bat an eyelid at and made for us a little Indian Feast! Cooking for one can be fun but its always so much nicer to share food, and also gives one the excuse to make lots of dishes! I also am falling back in love with cooking again, its a great form of therapy for my mind now I have finally finished college, plus I have a lot more time on my hands, which does feel a bit strange but I daresay I will find a way to cope...is that the sound of the cake tins rattling....

All the dishes were my interpretation of Indian cuisine, they are not what you would typically find in an Indian restaurant but are my amongst my favourite meals I make. They are all very mild - I have to go easy on the old chillies nowadays or Gaviscon will be my nightcap! Best of all is that they are also very cheap to make, which in the ever purse tightening/ pre-payday times is always welcome!

The dal was, as always delicious - it really is so ugly but so full of flavour you can overlook its appearance! I based it on my mushroom and spinach version, though obviously minus both mushrooms and spinach but still as tasty! I think dal will be making a regular occurrence for my upcoming meals - I asked my dad to pick up a bag of the particular lentil I like to use - moong dal chilka - and he bought me a 2kg bag of it!
Alongside was green cabbage, shredded up and fried with garlic, ginger and yellow mustard seeds, with a splash of water to loosen - first time I have done cabbage this way and really enjoyed it! also good as getting through a rather large cabbage by myself gets a bit boring after the first three days...really wish there were smaller ones available!

The other side was a sweet potato and pea sort of dry curry - I toasted and ground up coriander seeds with fenugreek, fried white onion and garlic, and a little ginger with the cubed sweet potato for around five minutes, then about 1/2 cm of water, covered and then gently simmered for about 15 minutes, with the occasional gentle stir - you don't want mush! Then threw in some peas, seasoned with salt and pepper and allowed any excess liquid to evaporate. This also was very lovely - sweet with a delicate background of the spices. When serving up I garnished it with toasted cashew nuts, which provide a nice crunchy contrast to the soft potato mixture.

I can't bear a week without my favourite salad - simply grated carrot and sultanas, dressed with lemon juice. This keeps well in the fridge too for a few days.
Last but not least was some delicious, soft fluffy garlic naan bread - which the nice people from Warburtons sent me recently. It came with a little sachet of garlic oil, which gets splashed over before a quick sun tan from a hot grill - the smell was mmmm and both of us really rated the bread. Out of all the breades I've baked, for some reason I've never attempted naan - and to be honest this was so tasty I have no need. Torn into pieces and used to mop up the daal, along with raita and mango chutney is quite delicious!
I've also tried seperately their plain naan, which I sliced into four and froze, and I've been eating a portion with various curries I've made recently - it is so fluffy and light, will be definitely buying again.

Oh and I almost forgot - a sort of Indian rice pudding - I placed in a jug a handful of wholgrain rice (my new discovery) along with a good amount of rice milk, 4 bashed cardamom pods, a tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp ground ginger, then microwaved on a low setting for a very long time - it suprisingly worked and resulted in a deliciously fragrant end to our feast!

And best of all - lots of lovely leftovers to take in for my lunch!

One day I will have a dishwasher..........


  1. Indian food is one of my favourites and this all sounded wonderful part from the carrot and sultanas as I struggle with sultanas in anything savoury. I do toast pine nuts with carrots which is tasty.
    I love the sweet potato dish and I think you dhal sounds great (my favourit indian dish) must try it out.

  2. Toasted Pinenuts and carrots sounds great, will have to try thanks!


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