Chana Dal

Channa Dal

Chana Dal

This is a lentil dish for beginners with little process and just a few of your everyday spices.

These lentils are sweet and nutty and come from black chickpeas that are split and the outer cover is removed. There are different ways to make this dish, with this one being northern Indian inspired.

My grandma made this without the tinned tomatoes so hers would have been more traditionally yellow in colour. I like the addition here of the tomatoes as it combines my Italian and Indian family roots and makes the dish a little more tart, to be served with rice or pasta

This dish is natural and healthy, gluten, dairy free and full of herbs and spices that have multitudes of health benefits. It is also high in protein and low calorie

Mr B and I took great pleasure eating this on a snowy day, sitting in our home near the window and pretending we were in our own snow globe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chana dal
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander/cilantro to serve

Method

  • Pick and rinse the chana dal well in running water
  • Soak the dal in water for an hour
  • Drain the lentils, add to the pot with the water and turmeric and bring to the boil
  • Boil until the lentils are soft, skimming any white foam off the top as you go
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil
  • Add the cumin first and fry for a few seconds
  • Add the garlic and fry for 20 seconds
  • Add the onions and fry for another 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes, ginger and green chilli
  • Stir and add all the dry spices, stir
  • Once thoroughly combined, add to the lentils
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to allow the flavors to combine
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve with coriander
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Garlic Chive Pancakes (GF,DF,Vegan)

Garlic Chive Pancakes

Garlic Chive Pancakes

Garlic Chives grow wild in the English countryside, they are lovely and tasty and you rub the leaf and it smells of garlic, which is how you know the difference between a garlic chive a weed! Unfortunately I am no longer in the English countryside and thus I bought these from a farmers market in NYC.

I used them to make Mr. B a garlic chive version of the infamous American Asian snack, the scallion pancake. It is quick and easy and I used rice flour to make it gluten free

The dipping sauce is a wonderfully umami with a little mix of tamari and honey

Ingredients

Pancakes

  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped garlic chives
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. honey

Method

  • Add all the pancakes together apart from the coconut oil
  • Heat the oil in the pan and ladle to mixture in, creating a thin layer covering the bottom of the pan
  • When you start to see bubbles appear in the middle of the pancake, flip to brown the other side
  • Once cooked through, place on a chopping board and cut into four quadrants once cooled
  • Repeat
  • For the dipping sauce, mix the ingredients
  • Serve with the dipping sauce

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

Rice Porridge

Kitcheree (rice porridge) and Oyster Mushrooms

I lived with my maternal grandmother (Bigmama) for the larger part of my childhood and she influenced so many parts of my personality in those former years, including my love of food. For my grandma food was a tool. A means to show love, a way of bringing her family together, a way of connecting to the community and a way of retaining the parts of her heritage she had left so far behind.

One of the first memories I can recall from living with Bigmama was the incense she used to use with prayers at 4am in the morning. Scents of earthy sandalwood would enter my dreams, taking me to enchanted places as the sun started to rear its head over the horizon.

At 6am, the smell of poppy seeds being tempered in ghee (clarified butter) would start making it’s way up the stairs and into my coax me awake, signalling the start of a new day. By the time I got down the stairs the table would be set with chutneys, all different type, spicy carrot, sweet mango and sour tamarind, as well as different types of poppadum’s, fried, baked, flat, round, all giving a different texture when mixed in with the kitcheree. As we sat and mixed up our porridge my grandma would talk about her life before coming to the UK, bringing up her children and the shop she had run, where she would import food from all over the world, creating a liturgy of foodie children.

This is an ode to that wonderful warming porridge, with a modern twist using mushrooms, since I haven’t quite developed my chutney or poppadum recipes. I’ll never replace the conversations, but Mr. B tries pretty hard and I love him for that.

Ingredients

Porridge

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup split green moong dal
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee or oil
  • 2 tsps. Mustard seeds

Oyster Mushrooms

  • ½ pound oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Method

  • Soak the rice and dal together for an hour
  • Bring to the boil with 4 cups of water, skim the white foam off the top
  • Add salt and leave to simmer, c. 30 minutes
  • Cook till you get a soft texture and taste to add more salt if needed
  • Mash with a potato masher or the back of a spoon
  • Heat oil/ghee in a separate pan and add the mustard seeds, when they crackle add them to the cooked porridge
  • Mix it and serve hot
  • For the oyster mushrooms, heat the oil with the garlic to infuse the flavour into the oil
  • Place the oyster mushrooms in the pan. Keep in one place in the pan for 3-5 minutes until to braise and add colour, flip once near the end of cooking to cook the other side
  • Serve with the porridge, providing a different texture and flavour profile

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

This chocolate treat has three main ingredients and takes not time at all in a blender. It is dairy free, gluten free, nut free, refined sugar free and high in protein. It has a deep, decadent texture and ‘you won’t believe it’s made of tofu’, which is a wonderful ancient healthy ingredient that takes on the taste of whatever you are making. Here it is really used for the silky texture and in blind tastings no one would ever guess it is the main ingredient.

I like to serve it with lots of berries to cut through the richness of the mousse, it also adds a little color to the plate. I have also added a little gold fairy dust here, for a magical finish.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 300g soft silken tofu
  • 80g vegan chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  • Melt the vegan chocolate using a heat proof bowl over a pot of hot water, don’t let the bowl touch the water
  • Stir the chocolate until it melts completely and then take it off the heat to cool for a few minutes
  • In the mean time, prepare the tofu by taking it out of the packaging, squeeze a little to get rid of some of the water, then blend till smooth
  • Add the chocolate and rest of the ingredients
  • Transfer into glasses or ramekins, serve with berries to cut through the richness

Sprouting broccoli with sweet tahini dressing (Goma-dare)

Green Veg with Sweet Tahini

Sprouting broccoli with sweet tahini dressing (Goma-Dare)

Goma-dare is a Japanese sesame sauce, normally used in Shabu Shabu. It is the most popular of all the sauces, is salty sweet and can be used for many dishes.

Mr. B and I like to use the sauce when looking for something light and quick in the evening, just adding it on top of some broccoli or raw/blanched spinach

The sauce takes 5 minutes and will keep in the fridge for a week or two. This recipe is an adaptation by Ottolenghi, hence the added tahini. I think it is a wonderful interpretation giving the sauce an added layer of depth

Ingredients

  • 250g purple sprouting broccoli/head of broccoli
  • 180g snow peas

Sauce

  • 50g tahini
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • ½ tsp. tamari
  • 2 tbsp. honey/maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt

Method

  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce, you want the consistency to be smooth and tick but pourable
  • Trim off the broccoli leaves, bring a pot of water to the boil, salt and blanch the broccoli and snow peas for 4 minutes, running under icy cold water to stop the cooking and leaving to drain
  • Once the vegetables are drained, mix with the sauce
  • Add the sesame seeds over the top and serve

 

Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Sesame Sweet Potatoes

Umami in Japanese means I will give you my right hand and first-born child for a bite of that!

There aren’t many vegan dishes at Zuma, the Japanese Peruvian restaurant in London and now New York, as we found out one Friday night, but the few they have are all delicious and I intend to blog them all for you before the end of the year.

This is one of my favorites due to my obvious obsession of all things Umami. They make it on the Robata grill, which adds an extra smokiness, but you can do it in the oven and it isn’t too far off

The sweet potato and marinade give a lovely sweet salty combination that can be used for other vegetables too. It is also a super quick preparation from kitchen to table, making it an easy weekday or weekend main or side

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350c
  • Wash the sweet potatoes and cut so as to create discs, approximately 1.5 inches wide
  • In a bowl mix together the ingredients and cover the discs well
  • Pour the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes, until beautifully caramelised.

Thai Red Lentil Soup

Red curry lentil soup

Thai Red Lentil Soup

‘Good soup is one of the primary ingredients of good living’

Given our sedentary lifestyle due to our choice of profession, Mr. B and I try and eat vegan at home during the week to make sure we are as kind to our bodies and digestive systems and also stay calorie light, so I am always looking for new and inventive lentil and vegetable dishes

This recipe is adapted from Plenty More and is a playful combination of Indian and Asian flavours. It is a little like a red curry without the bulk and is good with a little rice or on it’s own.

I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of flavour that is developed here, helped by the red curry paste in addition to the vibrancy that comes from the additional squeeze of lime!

Good hot or cold, in the summer or the winter, at home or on the go!

Ingredients

  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 5 tbsp. vegan Thai red curry paste
  • 250g/1.5 cups red lentils
  • 1 cup/250ml coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and add the onion
  • Cook over low heat with lid on for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice until the onion is completely sweet and soft
  • Stir in red curry paste and cook for 1 minute
  • Add the red lentils and 3 cups of stock or water
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until the lentils are soft
  • Remove from the heat, once cooled, process the soup in a blender until completely smooth
  • Add back to the pot and heat with the coconut milk, lime juice, tamari and salt
  • Serve with diagonally cut sugar snap peas