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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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

 

Deconstructed Samosas

Deconstructed Samosas.JPG

Deconstructed Samosas

My grandma’s samosas were famous. She served them at family meals and everyone would dive in as soon as they arrived. I remember my mum selling them at school fundraisers when I was a kid and people ordering them for parties of their own. She must have made tens of thousands of them through her lifetime and they were always perfect

I did not want to try and replicate my grandma’s samosa recipe as I think I would be in the kitchen for a lifetime and never get close without her special ingredient of grandma love, so I made my own version with a similar taste profile

I hope you enjoy a bite-sized version of my heritage, modernised for the new generation of grandma inspired cooks

Ingredients

For samosa

  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • ¼ cup diced onions
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1lb baking potatoes, boiled, cooked, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Vegan Filo Cups

For Chutney Tasha.Kitchen recipe

https://tasha.kitchen/2016/07/16/coriander-chutney-chatni/

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil, add the coriander seeds and cook until darkened (2 minutes)
  • Add the shallots and ginger and cook until soft
  • Add the diced, cooked potatoes and sauté until golden (3 minutes)
  • Remove from the heat and add peas, lemon juice, salt, garam masala and cayenne, tossing gently to combine
  • Let the filling cool completely
  • Heat the filo cups (2 minutes till crisp), add the filling and serve with a little chutney (2016 recipe link above) and a lot of love

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

Black eye beans and almost round chapatti

Black eye beans

‘I have been and still am a seeker, but have ceased to question stars and books, and  have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.’

This is one of those classic dishes that granny made for us growing up and was one of my favourites. It seemed so simple on the plate, but as ever it is a delicate dance of complex flavours and deep layers of spice. The dish is clearly steeped in generations of passed down wisdom with its multitude of beneficial ingredients including with turmeric, garlic and ginger.

‘You left us beautiful memories and your love is still my guide, in everything i do, I still feel you by my side.’

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried black eye beans, soaked for 1-2 hours
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch ginger, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. cayenne (adjust to spice preference)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups water

Method

  • Soak the black-eyed beans in water for 1-2 hours. Drain
  • Add the oil and cumin to a heavy set pot
  • Once the cumin seeds start to splutter, add the onion and bay leaf
  • After 7-8 minutes or when the onions begin to turn golden add the garlic, ginger and spices. Stir briefly and then add the tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes until the tomatoes have broken down
  • Add the drained black eyed beans to the pot, alongside 3 cups of water
  • Mix well and simmer, until the beans are soft. 45-60 mins

Processed with MOLDIV

Ingredients

  • 450g/1lb chapatti flour/wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 250ml cold water

Method

  • Set aside 200g of the flour and reserve for shaping the chapatti’s
  • Place the remaining flour and salt in a deep bowl. Fill another bowl with the cold water
  • Add the water to the bowl of flour, a little at a time, kneading as you go, until you have a soft elastic dough. The longer you knead the dough the softer the chapatti’s will be
  • Sprinkle a little of the reserved flour onto a flat surface or board. Divide the dough into 8 and shape each piece into a ball. Flatten the balls slightly, and then place one onto the floured board. Roll it out into a flat disc approximately 6 inches in diameter, flouring the board when necessary to make sure the chapatti doesn’t stick
  • Heat a shallow frying pan, lay the chapatti on the pan and cook for 20 seconds until the surface is bubbling, turn over and cook for another 10 seconds, as soon as brown spots appear on the underside the chapatti is done
  • Stack them up as they are cooked placing a sheet of kitchen towel in-between them if leaving them plain or adding butter/ghee if not

Family

Goat Curry and naan bread (Dairy free, Gluten Free, Paleo)

Cooking is love made visible.

Goat curry

I am of Indian decent as you can tell from any pictures of myself and even from my Tasha. Kitchen emoji, but as a child I never quite connected to my Indian heritage. The reasons for this are quite logical; I was born in the UK, my family are Christian not Hindi, apart from my Grandma and I was never taught any Indian language.

It was only as I grew older that I realised culture was much more than where you are born and what language you speak. The Indian culture at least as I have observed it through living with my Grandma is about community and connection. She would open her home up to anyone, for lunch, tea or just a chat. She talked to everyone on the high street and brought them chocolate or samosas on their birthdays. I would often come home from school and be greeted by people I had never met before. Food very much played a part in this, she would make lots of Indian snacks to serve people with their tea –  tikki, samosas, pakora’s –  there were always plenty of tasty morsels being offered around.

One of my favorite days of the week was Sunday when we would gather as a family (and invite others to join us) for lunch after church and meat curry would often be a central dish. This goat curry is in honor of those Sundays, which I miss so much. My grandma used to cook curry’s for days to give depth and tenderness to the meat; we would smell that beautiful aroma and often end up smelling of that aroma too! I used a slow cooker and cooked this for 36 hours, but you can cook it for a few hours if you don’t have time. Having cooked this dish, I can say that I have much more appreciation of how long it takes to make a curry that tastes anything like my grandma’s and if I could go back, I would have the extra spoonful my Grandma offered me, every single time.

This recipe comes from myheartbeets.com, an Indian Paleo website that I recently found. Thank you Ashley for your amazing recipes and for helping connect back to my grandma and my roots.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds goat meat
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 5 inch knob fresh ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1-2 Serrano pepper, minced
  • 1 small (14 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. garam masala add more to taste

Method

  • In crock pot/slow cooker, add all ingredients listed except tomatoes, water and garam masala (you will add this at the end)
  • Set to high and cook for 4 hours, stirring the curry every hour or so
  • After four hours, add tomatoes, garam masala and water. Cook on high for another hour or until the meat is tender
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, cook the onions till translucent for 2-5 mins, then add the garlic and garlic for 30 seconds
  • Add all the spices and stir till mixed in, but make sure not to burn, next add the goat meat and brown
  • Add in can of tomatoes and garam masala and cook for as long as possible, 60-90 minutes minimum

3 Ingredient Paleo Naan (Indian bread)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Almond Flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1 cup Organic Coconut Milk
  • Optional salt

Method

  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat and pour batter
  • Once the batter fluffs up and looks firm/mostly cooked, flip it over to cook the other side (be patient, this takes a little time) and serve hot