Thursday, 30 April 2015

Dinners from north and south (India)



Continuing the theme of accidentally vegan food, here are some other Indian dishes that I cooked during my vegan month. As I utilised a range of ready-made elements these were actually speedy enough to prepare quickly after work too. Firstly from the south of India, the classic masala dosa, and also the classic Gits dosa mix. It's going to be very hard to replicate a proper paper thin dosa at home, but actually the Git's mixes work pretty well even if my dosas were a little on the thick side. I cooked quick potato filling to go in them, as well as a green beans thoran.

I basically used this recipe for the beans, which proved to be excellent; fresh and crunchy, beans and coconut are an excellent combination. The potato masala was a simple mix of a medium potato, carrot, onions and peas with some added flavourings. Firstly fry a couple of teaspoons of mustard seeds in some hot oil until they start popping, and then fling in a small handful of curry leaves, around a tablespoon of ginger paste, a medium chopped potato, a small chopped onion, and a generous sprinkling of salt. Turn the heat down, put a lid on and leave until the potato is virtually cooked through. You can also add a little water if things are starting to stick. Then put a couple of handfuls of frozen peas in, and put the lid back on. Once the peas and potato are fully cooked, add a small handful of roasted cashew nuts, and give everything a good mix. Once the vegetables are done, I made up the dosa mix and cooked these in a non-stick pan. You'll definitely need to work quickly to spread the mix to get it as thin as possible, but even if they are bit on the thick side, they are still very tasty.


Moving further north, I utilised some ready-made Shana parathas to go with my soya mince keema. I always tend to have a packet of these in the freezer as they are very handy for emergency dinners, and on further investigation I also discovered that they are vegan (huzzah). Soy mince, like Quorn, is pretty flavourless so you need to be very generous with your other flavours. For this keema I fried two red, sliced onions in a couple of tablespoons of plain oil, with a couple of bay leaves, a stick of cinnamon, and two cardamom pods. Once the onion was softened and slightly browned, I added 2 tablespoons of garlic/ginger paste, a heaped teaspoon of chilli flakes, and good sprinkling of salt. This was all cooked over a medium heat, until the onions were nicely browned. At this point I added 3 teaspoons of garam masala, and 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin. After allowing the spices to fry for a bit, I tipped in around 300g of vegan soy mince. Once everything was well mixed and heated through (around 10 minutes), a couple of handfuls of frozen peas went in, and I left everything to simmer gently until they were cooked through. You should end up with a dry and spicy keema, which can be neatly scooped up by some hot off the pan parathas.

So there you have it, two pretty speedy dinners, which are full of flavour and spice and just happen to be vegan.

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