Tag Archives: Vegetarian curry

Cauliflower with Lentils

1 May

This is a delicious way of cooking cauliflower in a sauce of spiced lentils known as dal or dhal in Southern Asia. The combination is subtle, savory and wonderful. You can add nuts for protein to make this a complete meal or serve as a side for a meat dish or with any number of vegetable dishes for a vegetarian feast.

Make a batch of basic dhal

  • 1 cup red hulled split lentils
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 large green chillis
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seed (optional)

Wash the lentils then put into a roomy pan with the rest of the ingredients. Cook for 30minutes or until the lentils are soft.

  • Half a cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel, nigella or cumin seed
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)
  • 1-2 dried red chillis
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced (optional)
  • pinch asefetida (devil’s dung)
  • a small piece of ginger grated (optional)
  • 1 thinly sliced fresh green chilli (optional)

Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets. Remove the green chilli from the dal and add the cauliflower, cover and simmer slowly, meanwhile…

In a small pan or skillet heat the oil then throw in the first 5 spices, when they pop add the garlic and as soon as it starts to brown add the asefetida and pour straight into the lentils and cauliflower, stir and continue to cook until the cauliflower is just tender but still has a fresh tasting bite. Stir in a little more fresh green chilli and ginger, if using, and some fresh coriander leaf if you have any then serve.

Serve with rice or chapatis or a lamb biryani , a grilled meat dish such as masala roast chicken, or a hot meaty curry like Beef Roganjosh or with Bombay potatoes or any number of vegetable dishes such as green bean Coconut Fry  for a vegetarian feast.

Cooks Note Add spices according to your taste, you could add nigella, fennel or cumin seed or indeed all three, use green cardamom instead of black for a more floral taste and use asefetida instead of ginger for a more earthy savory taste and vary the spicing and quantity of chilli depending on what the dish will be served with.


Chickpea Masaledar

29 Jun

Some of the best ways of cooking chickpeas can be found in Indian cooking. This dish has a lovely deep hot, sweet and sour flavour and plenty of sauce.

  • 500g cooked chickpeas
  • 3-4 tbsp veg oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, thinly spiced in half moons.
  • 1-2 tsp home made garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3cm square piece of ginger
  • 10 fresh red chillis or to taste
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder (dried sour mango) or juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pint Tomato passata
  • salt to taste
  • Garnish 1 fresh green chilli and half and onion thinly sliced.

Heat the oil in a wide heavy pan and when hot add the cumin seeds and stir, after a few seconds add the onion slices. Lower heat and cook until the onions are starting to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, fresh red chillis and coriander. Stir and fry for a few minutes more then add the passata and amchoor powder and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Add the chick peas stir and cook for another 15 minutes or until they are nice and tender but still have a bit of bite. Serve with a scattering of sliced chilli and raw onion.

Recipe Source This recipe is based on Madhur Jaffrey’s Chana Masaledar in An Invitation to Indian Cooking. It comes from the Punjab and is originally intended as a snack food but I’ve made it with a tomato based sauce as a side dish for lamb and spinach. I added 10 mildish red chillis, more garlic and ginger and 1 pint of home made passata (instead of 1 tbsp tomato paste and 1/4 pint of water as I wanted a dish with sauce.
COOK’S TIP I usually have some cooked chickpeas in the freezer. If you are starting from scratch soak the chickpeas over night then cook in a roomy pan with water for 45 minutes or use canned chickpeas but be careful not to over cook them.