Baingan Bharta (Eggplant, Onion and Tomato Curry) (GF, V)

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant, Onion and Tomato Curry) (GF, V)

This is a beautifully smoky dish, with the smokiness coming from the quick charring of the eggplant in the pot. There is a similar dish in Greece and Italy, with different seasoning, in both of those it is eaten cold. This dish can be served hot or cold, alongside or as the main dish.

Mr. B and I debated my posting of this recipe, as I couldn’t seem to get a blog worthy picture out of this, but in the end we decided to post it, as the it really is an amazingly deep and smoky curry and we wanted to make sure you got the chance to taste it

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Ingredients

  • ½ tsp. peanut oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 large eggplants
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Almond yogurt (optional)
  • Coriander/cilantro to garnish

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan, layer on the onion and tomato (make sure you do this first as it supplies the moisture)
  • Add the eggplant next and then the spices
  • If you have a pressure cooker, cook for 5 minutes
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, put a lid on the pot and cook on medium high for 20 minutes
  • When eggplant is cooked through, add in the yogurt if using and stir, top with coriander, and serve
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Carrot Halwa (GF, DF, Vegan Dessert)

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Carrot Halwa (GF, DF, Vegan Dessert)

This dessert is usually made with lots of cream and sugar but this is a more natural version using almond milk, walnuts and dates. It is a northern Indian dish normally made with red carrots over a couple of days, during the colder months

Due to the lack of fat in this dish, it is a lot less sweet and indulgent than a normal dessert (just the way I personally like it), so for those with a sweet tooth add more sugar or pour over some simple syrup (just the way Mr B likes it)

I served this with almond milk Indian Chai, my guests loved it, but since I am still perfecting the recipe, I’ll post the recipe for this at a later date

I only recently realized that one of the common flavors in Indian desserts is cardamom. Most of the recipes I have seen, call for the addition of cardamom powder or seeds, which I like as it reminds me of tastes from my childhood, but isn’t everyones cup of chai. I can only describe it as a herbal spice. If you find you don’t like this, add a little cinnamon and nutmeg as a substitute

Happy New Year to you all from Tasha. Kitchen! May this year bring you love, beauty and balance

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. crushed cashews
  • 2 tbsp. cut up dates
  • 2 tbsp. chopped walnuts/pecans
  • 5 cups grated carrots
  • ¼ cup almond meal
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1-2 tbsp. raw sugar (optional to taste)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. crushed cardamom and/or saffron strands

Simple Syrup ingredients

  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp. crushed seeds from a cardamom pod or cardamom powder
  • ¼ tsp. saffron

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the cashews, cooking until golden, c. 2minutes
  • Add the dates and walnuts/pecans, c.2 minutes
  • Add the grated carrots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Add the almond meal, almond milk, mix and cook until the milk has been absorbed, c. 15-20 minutes
  • Add the sugar (if using), salt, cardamom and saffron
  • Continue to cook until fully combines, c.8-10 minutes
  • Serve warm or chilled
  • For the simple syrup add all the ingredients into a saucepan, heat over a medium heat until all the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to become a little thicker
  • Pour over hot, or let cool a little if you’d prefer a cold dessert

Tempeh Tikka Masala

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Tempeh Tikka Masala

I believe food can unite people from all walks of life, all cultures, all religions. Food brings compassion and harmony to the table and creates a deeper understanding of each other

Although I grew up in my Grandmothers Indian Kitchen, Tikka Masala was not on the menu. This is because this is one of the infamous dishes where the origins or the recipe are fiercely debated all around the world. My favorite story is one that originates from 1960’s Scotland, when a customer asked for some sauce for his Chicken Tikka and the chef inventively added some Heinz Tomato Soup and Yogurt and thus the masala was born. You’ll be interested to know that the Glaswegians tried to get the European union to recognize this in the origin of the masala and have it designated as so, but alas lost they campaign in 2009. I find this story so heartening in a world of devision, to see the Scottish so proud of their Indian hybrid dish that they would try and preserve it as part of Scottish culinary culture

This version of Tikka Masala is made with Tempeh. I had no idea what could be done with Tempeh until this wonderful book, Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen. Tempeh is a traditional soya product, originally from Indonesia and unlike tofu it has it’s own unique taste. In the west people like to cut it up and add it to salads as if it was chicken or cook it in large pieces and substitute it for steak. I personally think it works really well as a substitute for paneer (Indian cheese) and the double flavoring process here, allows it to take on a depth of flavor not usually associated with the product.

I made gluten free chia roti to go with this, but will save that for the next blog. In the meantime basmati rice is a great substitute.

Mr. B. loves Tikka and Tikka Masala, so this was an attempt to bring him a healthy version of one of his favorite dishes that was also dairy free and vegan, so we could eat it together. Suffice to say he gave it five nods.

Ingredients

Tikka Masala

  • 8 oz. Tempeh, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3 tsp. oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped or one can
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 green chilli (optional)
  • ½ tsp. brown/coconut sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup non-dairy yogurt
  • ¼ cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Steamed Tempeh

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. garam masala
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika

Method

  • Combine the steamed tempeh ingredients in a pan with the tempeh, cook over a medium heat until most of the water is absorbed. Let the tempeh sit for a few minutes. For best results, marinate the tempeh for a few hours in the mixture before cooking. The reason to do this is before tempeh can be a little bitter when used raw and this takes the bitterness away, in addition to imparting more flavour
  • Add the steamed tempeh and 1 tsp. oil to a frying pan over a medium heat, cook until the edges are starting to go golden, set aside
  • Heat the remaining oil over a medium heat, add the onion and cook until golden, stirring occasionally, c. 7 minutes. Add the garam masala, paprika, ground coriander, turmeric and mix well. Cook for a few minutes to temper the spices
  • At the same time, combine the tomatoes, chilli, ginger and garlic in a blender until smooth
  • Add the puree to a frying pan and cook until thickens, 10-20 minutes
  • Add the tempeh, sugar, salt, yogurt and non-dairy milk and mix well. Stir in the vinegar and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until you reach the desired thickness
  • Don’t forget to taste and adjust to your own palate, adding chilli and salt as desired

Sweet Coconut Rice (Narali Bhat)

Sweet Coconut Rice

Sweet Coconut Rice (Narali Bhat)

This is a beautifully fragrant dish, with warm inviting spices that will fill your imagination with spice markets and heritage

I made this dish the first day it started to snow in Boston and it was rather comforting sitting inside eating this as we watched the snow, inviting it to settle as we welcomed the first signs of Christmas

Mr. B. loves Christmas and I like to encourage the joy and playfulness he takes from the season. So as we count down the days, I hope yours are filled with merry and bright and that this sweet rice pudding brings some warmth on those colder days to the nights.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ cup dates
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 green cardamom pods

Method

  • In a small bowl, combine the coconut and hot water
  • In a pot, add the rice, sugar, dates, saffron, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom pods
  • Drain the coconut and add it to the rice
  • Add two cups of water and bring to a simmer
  • When the rice is cooked add 1 cup almond milk
  • When soft and well combined, take off heat to let cool
  • Try and take the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom out before serving or warn your guests

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

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

Beetroot, Potato, Peanut Butter Tikki

Aloo Peanut Butter Tikkis

Beetroot, Potato, Peanut Butter Tikki

This recipe is a modern interpretation of the classic Aloo Tikki, also known as the potato tikki. The recipe is adapted from Chef Manish Mehrotra’s Indian Accent cookbook. His restaurant in New Delhi was recently named India’s best restaurant and his New York version is fast gaining in reputation.

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it seemed a little odd, but it really works. The tikki’s work with a full range of textures and tastes, from the sweetness of the beetroot to the creaminess of the potatoes, the saltiness and crunchy texture of the peanuts, heat and spice from the aromatics and garam masala and the subtle sweetness from the peanut butter.

My grandma used to make Aloo Tikki’s and we would love dipping them into her beautiful vibrant coriander (cilantro) and mint chutney (see older recipe), licking our fingers and the plate when we were done.

This one is for my Bigmama, my kitchen companion and inspiration.

Ingredients

  • 2 beetroots
  • 2 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tsp. ghee/clarified butter
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 tsp. minced ginger
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. minced green chillies
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp. crushed peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350f, wash the beetroot, wrap in foil and roast for c.30 minutes. Remove from the oven and when cooled, peel and grate
  • Boil the potatoes and when cooled, grate
  • Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds and allow to crackle, sauté the ginger, garlic and green chilli
  • Add the grated beetroot, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the water evaporates
  • Add grated potato, garam masala and cook for 5 minutes
  • Add salt to taste
  • Once cooked, transfer to a bowl and mix in crushed peanuts
  • Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. Place the ball one at a time into the palm of your hand and make a small indentation. Fill with peanut butter and shape into a patty. Repeat with the balance of the patties
  • Put in the fridge, while clearing up, to firm
  • When ready to eat, grease a baking tray with coconut oil and bake or pan fry