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
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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

Gorgeous Gooey Black Bean Brownies

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Gorgeous Gooey Black Bean Brownies

Why would I want to eat a healthy brownie, when I could eat a rich, deep, gooey chocolaty brownie instead?

What if this was one and the same thing?!

Introducing the gluten free, flour free, dairy free, nut free brownie. It is super easy and takes around 20 minutes, using my trusted blender.

The secret ingredient here is undetectable, as per my trusted tasters and with black beans as the main ingredient, you can be rest assured that you have had at least one of your five a day!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. raw cacao
  • ½ cup oats
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. gluten free baking powder
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350c
  • Combine all the ingredients, except the chips, into the blender
  • Stir in the chips and pour into a cake pan, sprinkle some extra chips over the top
  • Place in the oven for 15 mins and let cool for at least 10 mins before serving
  • If a little soft when you take it out of the oven, place in the fridge and the brownies will firm up

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Black Beans (above)

 

Deconstructed Samosas

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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

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

Courgette and Corn Fritters

Courgette and Corn Fritter

Courgette and Corn Fritters

These are a great little snack or starter filled with tasty vegetables. They remind me of my grandma’s Pakora’s but are made with corn flour instead of chickpea flour, both of which are gluten free so we are in luck, either way

The wonderful thing about this dish, is the texture, it is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (any of your from the UK and old enough should understand this reference from the old Dime advert :))

I adapted this from Robin Swallow’s recipe, from Manna Café in London. I baked these instead of frying them and used coconut oil instead of sunflower

These are Mr. B approved. The recipe makes c.12 and they were gone in less than the time it took to write this blog!

Ingredients

  • 2 small courgettes/zucchini, grated
  • 175g corn kernels
  • ¼ bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 115g masa harina (white corn flour)
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil

Method

  • Grate the courgettes and then place them into a bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Take the grated courgettes and place into a clean tea towel. Squeeze out all the liquid and place into a clean bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of dry courgettes
  • Mix with your hands until well incorporated and the mix holds together, add a little water if you need to
  • Take 1 tbsp. full of mix and shape into a small patty or ball, continue with the rest of the mix
  • Take the coconut oil in your palm and cover the fritters
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until crisp

Serve with choice of sauce, I like sweet chilli for this

Guilt Free Bacon (Trumpet Mushrooms – Vegan)

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When people think about veganism they think lentils, grains and Birkenstocks but vegan cooking is really all about imagination and innovation. It’s about taking the humble healthy vegetable and creating something new that you would never logically associate with it, a new flavour profile – a new way of looking at something all together

‘Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere’ – Einstein

This is the greatest invention since sliced bread or for those who are gluten free or Paleo, the greatest invention full stop. It is so good that it defies logic that it is not offered as an option in every café/diner

I welcome ridicule from die-hard meat eaters by saying this, but I actually prefer it to bacon. It tastes indulgent and fatty without any actual fat and the sweet, savoury combination adds my favorite umami twist. Mr B likes the smokiness from the paprika and I sometimes add red pepper for him too

Ingredients

  • 2 large trumpet mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. smoked salt
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet or use a silicon mat
  • In a small bowl, combine the sugar, smoked salt, smoked paprika and black pepper
  • Place the sliced mushrooms in a large mixing bowl
  • Drizzle with oil and mix well to combine
  • Use hands to massage into the mushrooms and make sue they are well coated
  • Arrange the mushrooms on the baking tray/mat, leaving a little space between them
  • Bake for c. 15 minutes, flip using a spatula and let bake for another 15 minutes
  • Let cool for at least 10 minutes (this will also crisp the mushrooms)
  • Eat on its on or serve with…literally anything