Indian cuisine scares people because of the many different ingredients. For some, it seems that it’s too spicy. And some will say that it is impossible to find the necessary ingredients. And I’ll try to break these myths. Red lentils, coconut milk and all the necessary ingredients for these recipes can be found in almost every grocery or health food store.
One of the most common vegetarian dishes on the Indian table is Aloo Ghobi or potatoes with cauliflower.
- 2-3 large potatoes (Aloo)
- 1 cauliflower (Ghobi)
- 1 small green chili
- 1 teaspoon of cumin, seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh cilantro
Heat a pot of water to a boil. Cut the potatoes into cubes and boil them in the water for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook potatoes, as they will be cooked again with the cauliflower. In some hot oil, briefly fry cumin seeds, and when it begins to crackle, add chopped green chili without the seeds. Then, add small florets of cauliflower and fry them for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, season with salt and simmer for awhile (10-15 minutes). Mix all the spices and add to the steamed vegetables. Stir frequently and let the vegetables fry for about 10 more minutes. Once cooked, garnish the meal with fresh cilantro.
Chapati is a traditional Indian bread. It is made from flour obtained from whole grain wheat with no sugar and fat. It is a healthy alternative to bread made of white flour.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water
Knead a soft dough of wheat flour and water, it should not be sticky. Make small balls from the dough sized to easily fit in your palm. Roll out each ball of the dough in a circle on the surface covered in flour. Put the stretched dough in a preheated pan and bake it for 1 minute on one side and then 1-2 minutes on the other side and Chapati is ready.
Masur dal, Indian red lentils, is a popular ingredient in many dishes in Asian cuisine.
- 250 gr (1 cup) masur dhal or red lentil
- 300 gr (2 cups) spinach
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- Spices – turmeric, mustard seeds, cumin, cayenne pepper
- Coconut milk, optional
In a wider and lower pot heat the olive oil and fry the garlic, mustard seeds, cumin and hot pepper. Add washed lentils and enough water to cover the lentils. Season with salt, add half a teaspoon of turmeric and cook covered for 5 minutes. Cut the spinach into large pieces and add it to the pot. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. If it is necessary you can add more water. If desired, you can add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk and cook for another minute. Once finished you can serve dhal with cooked basmati rice.
Chutney is the most interesting and popular Indian dish. You can use chutney as a condiment or as a dip, it’s your choice. You can make chutney with spices, fruits or vegetables.
- 25 kg carrots
- 125 gr fresh ginger
- 5 dl vinegar
- 2 large lemons, zest and juice
- 400 gr brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-4 dried chilies
- 50 gr almonds
Shred the carrots and add all the ingredients in a bowl except hot peppers and almonds. Pour over 1.5 ml of water, stir and leave to stand overnight. Braise the mixture for twenty minutes, then increase the heat and cook until it thickens. Add crushed chilies and toasted sliced almonds. Pour the mixture while it’s hot into a warmed jars and you will be able to use the chutney in a month. The more it stands the better it tastes and its storage life is about 2 years.
Sesame balls are a favorite delicacy on the tables of India, but also macrobiotic and vegetarian cuisine.
- 100 gr wholemeal flour
- 100 gr vegetable butter
- 2 tablespoons malt
- 100 gr of sesame
- 5 drops vanilla extract
- ½ lemon
Whisk well the vegan butter and add the malt, lemon juice and vanilla. Once the ingredients are united add flour and sesame. From this mixture knead a small balls which you’ll place on a previously salted pan and bake in preheated oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes.
As we have already mentioned Gobi means cauliflower, and this easy and tasty dish can be served as an appetizer.
- 1 large cauliflower
- 10-12 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, ginger
Cut the cauliflower into florets and cook in the steam or water for around 7 minutes. Mix garlic, flour, cornstarch, soy sauce and water in a bowl and also add spices – salt, pepper, ginger and cayenne pepper – as desired. Dip the florets of cauliflower into the mixture and fry on a medium heat.
This dish is very easy to prepare and maybe the one with the most various recipes. It can be served with potatoes, rice or carrot salad.
- 300 gr chana dal or toor dal or dry yellow peas
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 head garlic, cloves finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoons chili powder or paprika powder
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Olive oil
Before you use lentils soak them in the water for minimum 8 hours and change the water frequently. Wash and drain lentils and cook them in a pot with 700 ml of water along with turmeric. If you desire you can put a bay leaf to enhance the taste. Bring to the boil and cook for 30-40 more minutes. Fry the garlic in a pan with olive oil until light brown, add chili powder and fry for 1 more minute. Then add tomatoes and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add salt and cooked lentils together with the liquid and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. At the end sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley.
Pakora is a fried snack or classical Indian finger food that you’ll search for more once you try it.
- 1 cup (250 ml) chick pea flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
- ½ teaspoon chili
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ of medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 young green onions, sliced into rings
- 2 handfuls of young spinach, cut into larger strips
Mix chick pea flour together with baking powder and all the spices. Add water to make the mixture a little thicker than for pancakes. Add the vegetables and stir until all the ingredients are well combined. If the mixture is too dry, or has more vegetables than flour, you can add a little flour and water until you are satisfied with the ratio of vegetables and flour. To make pakora take a spoon and draw out one small ball from the mixture and fry it in oil on a medium temperature. The shape of the pakora is not so important, so don’t get disappointed if they don’t look very nice, at the end all that really matters is that they are delicious.
This meal is prepared with smashed eggplants and can be served with Indian bread or rice.
Ingredients for the cold dip:
- 2 eggplants
- 125 ml soya yoghurt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 chili pepper
- 3 pieces of leek
Bake the eggplants in the oven at 190 degrees for about one hour or until they soften. Allow them to cool a little before peeling, mash the eggplant meat and add finely chopped onions and garlic, chili pepper and pour over soya yoghurt. Season with salt to taste.
Ingredients for warm dip:
- 2 eggplants
- 1 chili pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 small onion
- 10 gr vegan butter
Heat the vegan butter in a pan and add finely chopped onion. Braise it at a low heat and then add garlic and chili. Season with salt and pepper and add mashed eggplants. Serve it while it’s warm.
This version of chapati is something like Indian versio of a pie. It is a very delicious meal that you have to try.
Ingredients for the dough:
- 1 cup flour
- Few teaspoons of soya yoghurt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 teaspoons oil
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2-3 medium potatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, grain
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon chili, dried in pieces
- Coriander, parsley, caper, optional
Add a little salt in flour and then slowly add oil and knead a dough. Add a little yogurt so the dough will become softer and elastic. The resulting dough is divided into eight balls, size of ping pong balls, and leave them in a bowl, that is smeared with oil. Cover the bowl and leave it for at least half an hour but it would be best to leave them for a few hours. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes and mash them to gain mass for a fine puree. Add spices of your choice to the potatoes – finely chopped parsley, coriander, capers. You can also add oregano, basil or rosemary. Then make 8 potato balls of the same size as the dough. Take one small ball of a dough and roll it with a rolling pin on a floured board, in a shape of a disc, and put a small potato ball in a middle. Wrap the potatoes in the dough and attach the ends together. Flatten it again slightly into a disc and roll out with rolling pin to be thick. Bake in an oiled pan for 1-2 minutes on the both sides.