Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Easy Masala Sauce (DF, GF, Vegan)

Masala Sauce

The classic ‘Indian’ dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, was apparently invented by a chef in Scotland as a hybrid dish for the English palate. This has since become a very popular dish both in the UK and US normally made with a decent amount of cream.

In Indian cooking, we call this cheating, anything that doesn’t take three days of you sitting next to the stove and gets it richness from dumping fat in at the end, would definitely not meet with generations of grandma’s who have passed these recipes down.

Needless to say therefore, this is not a grandma approved recipe, but since the last few weeks have been busy and Mr B loves masala, I decided to make a quick masala, which can be used for multiple dishes, vegetarian (e.g. served with charred cauliflower as above) or meat, used as a sauce for a breakfast bowl or a dip for some nachos. I make it in bulk and store it in the freezer. Coconut milk here is the vegan substitute for that added richness that my hubby loves so much!

Ingredients

Masala Base

  • 2 onions
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 inches grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • A handful of cashews

Masala Sauce

  • 5 cups of tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup water

Method

  • Pulse all the base ingredients in a blender until smooth
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan and scoop ¼ of the mixture into the pan. Fry gently until fragrant
  • Add the puree and water and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add the coconut milk, simmer for another 10 minutes
  • Serve over grilled vegetables, use as a sauce for a rice bowl, or even over pasta

 

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Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF,DF,Vegan)

Easy Peanut Butter Curry (GF, DF, Vegan)

Peanut Butter Curry

This is a lovely, tasty, protein dense vegan curry and takes no time at all

I have been spending my weekends learning and adapting complex multi layered recipes to get a better understanding of Indian cooking, how to temper and mix the spices, which ones are for savory versus sweets, smell versus taste. Sometimes however I need to cook something really quickly (in a jiffy, as the British would say!) and this curry is the perfect, in a jiffy dish!

The original recipe didn’t have peanut butter, but since I have an American husband who thinking anything with peanut butter is ‘the bomb’, I thought this was a good way to get him to eat an entire bag of spinach and peas. Sneaky wife!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Pinch red chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp. organic peanut butter

Method

  • Mix the curry powder and two tablespoons of coconut milk, heat and then add the spinach
  • Let the spinach wilt and when reduced in size add the salt and chilli flakes
  • Add the rest of the coconut milk
  • Add the peas and peanut butter and mix in until it is merged into the sauce
  • Allow to reduce down a little
  • Serve with rice

Spinach Paneer (GF)

Spinach Paneer (GF)

Spinach Paneer

The word Paneer is of Persian origin and is used to refer to any type of cheese. Paneer is normally homemade by Indian families, boiling whole milk and adding some lemon juice. My Grandma tried several attempts to make Paneer using Soya Milk and Almond Milk, but it didn’t work, so this is a vegetarian recipe using full fat dairy paneer and is dedicated to my brother

My brother loves Paneer and will eat it, in pretty much any form. This paneer dish is packed with amazing healing spices and antioxidants from the spinach and thus is a complete meal full of your veggies and protein. I hope you love it, a much as I love you, Mr D!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 12 ounces paneer
  • 16 ounces spinach
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chilli (deseeded)
  • ½ tsp. garam masala
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder

Method

  • In a bowl mix the turmeric, cayenne and salt and paneer, make sure the pieces are well covered
  • Heat half the oil and pan fry until at least golden on a couple of each side, set aside
  • Steam the spinach in a little broth, let cool and blend
  • Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the onions, tomato, chilli, ginger and garlic and cook until the onions are soft and starting to caramelize
  • Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander continue to cook until the spices are well incorporated, c. 5 minutes
  • Add the spinach, combine and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add the paneer and continue to cook, make sure well combined and try not break the paneer pieces as you mix
  • Serve hot with rice or roti

Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Mushroom Pate (Raw, Vegan, GF)

Raw Mushroom Pate

This is a lovely starter/canapé. It has a silky texture and earthy tone from the walnuts and mushrooms so your carnivorous guests will think it is made of liver, whilst your herbivore guests will lap it up for exactly the opposite reason.

It takes 5 minutes preparation and can be used for many different things, including a pasta sauce, an umami topping on a burger or a dip for crackers. I edited the recipe, which I took from Plant Food (Matthew Kenney, Meredith Baird, Scott Winegard), decreasing the amount of mushroom powder used to decrease the saltiness and adding fresh thyme to give a little brightness.

Mr B who is not a fan of liver Pate, loved this, although thought I was trying to trick him into eating traditional Pate until I showed him the process pictures.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups mushrooms (Portobello’s, Oysters, Shitake)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup mushroom powder
  • 1 tbsp. agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. tamari
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. agar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Method

  • Blend all ingredients, for around 8 minutes or until the blender is warm. (I wouldn’t usually recommend this, but in this case you need it to get warm to activate the agar)
  • Pour into a lined terrine mold (I used a small bread pan) and refrigerate for 2 hours to set

 

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

IMG_8030

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

Easy Delicious Mango Chutney (V,GF)

IMG_MangoChutney

Easy, Delicious Mango Chutney (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I love Mango, to me it tastes like nectar from the gods and I honestly prefer it to candy. Whilst I have always been a fan of the mix of sweet and salty, fruit in savoury recipes just doesn’t work for me. I do however think, fruit and spice goes well together, almost a counter balance of fiery and cooling (similar to me and Mr B)

This is a quick recipe for mango chutney that can be used as a condiment on anything, from Indian samosas to grilled vegetables/chicken. The best thing about this recipe is that it gets better with time, as the longer you leave it, the more the flavours infuse, so you can make a big batch and use it to spice up your dishes for months to come.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peeled and grated unripe mango
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. honey or raw sugar (more or less to taste)
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (increase if prefer more spice)
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. almond oil/neutral oil
  • ¼ tsp. black mustard seeds

Method

  • In a small bowl, combine the mango and onion and mix well
  • Add the sugar, cayenne, cumin and salt. Taste the mixture. You want a good balance of hot, salty, tart and sweet so adjust accordingly as the tartness/sweetness of the mango may vary
  • In a small saucepan, over a high heat, heat the oil and when it starts to shimmer, add the mustard seeds. Once they have popped take them off the heat and add the seeds and infused oil to the mixture
  • Let the flavours blend for 10-15 minutes before serving
  • The longer the flavours sit together the more infused they become, so I tend to make this a few days ahead
  • Refrigerate and you should be good for at least a few weeks/months

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