Posts Tagged ‘Indian food’

Green Dal

Dal is easy, tasty and healthy.  What more could you want?  Eat it with some veggies, and rice or chapati for a quick delicious meal.


2 C dry split green peas

4 C water

3/4 C unsweetened milk substitute (I use So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)

1/2 small onion

1 TBS canola oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp anardana

3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

cilantro for garnish


1.  Rinse the split peas, and then simmer over medium heat in 4 C water for 30 minutes, or until tender, but not falling apart.

2.  While the peas are simmering, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, cumin seeds and anardana.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions turn clear.

3.  Add the garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes.

4.  Add the curry powder and salt, stir to distribute and remove from heat.

5.  When the peas are done cooking, stir in the onion mixture and the milk substitute.  Lower heat to med-low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.


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Whole Wheat Chapati

In India, bread and rice are not eaten at the same meal, it’s an either/or relationship.  If you’ve never tried to eat your curry or dal with just some chapati (aka roti) or naan, believe me, you won’t be disappointed!  I admit, I was a little skeptical at first, since I could not imagine having Indian food without rice, but just having a couple of chapatis makes a light, satisfying meal.


2 C Whole Wheat Flour

1 tsp salt

1 TBS olive oil

1 C warm water +/- 1/4 C


1.  In medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.  Then stir in the olive oil and 3/4 C of the warm water.

2.  Turn out onto a flat surface to kneed the dough.  Kneed a few times.  If there is a lot of flour hanging around, drizzle some of the extra water onto it.  Continue to kneed for a minute or two, adding enough water to create a soft, but not sticky dough.

3.  Cover with a towel and let sit for up to 2 hours, but at least half an hour.

4.  Heat griddle, or cast iron skillet to medium low.

5.  Cut dough into 12 sections and roll each into a ball.

6.  Roll out two pieces of dough, as thin as you can.  Let them rest for a minute.  Then give one piece another turn with your rolling pin to flatten out a little more.  Take that dough and place it bottom side down in the skillet.  Take another ball and roll it out.  Flip the chapati in the skillet (you should see brown freckles on the cooked side).  Give a second rolling to the dough you rolled out at the beginning.  Flip the chapati again (again, once you see some brown freckles), but leave only for 10 seconds or so.  Remove from heat.  Repeat this process of cooking, rolling, flipping, re-rolling, flipping, remove, until all chapatis have been cooked.

Serve with your favorite dal or curry!


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Kale is definitely not a traditional component of Indian cooking, but I think the strong flavors typical of curries balance out the kale nicely. I have anaheim peppers listed, but of course you have leave those out if you don’t like spicy food :(. This recipe makes quite a lot since the amounts are based on my using an entire head of cauliflower.


2 TBS canola oilkalecurry1

1 medium onion

3 large cloves garlic

2 anaheim peppers (optional)

1 head cauliflower, chopped

1 bunch kale, chopped

3 C cooked chickpeas

1 jar tomato paste

1 tsp each: cumin seeds, coriander seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, chili powder

1 TBS salt


1. In large pan, heat oil over medium. Add onion. When onion begins to turn clear, add garlic, pepper, and cumin and coriander seeds.

2. When onion mixture has browned slightly, stir in tomato paste. Fill the tomato paste jar with water and stir it in by spoonfuls. Add spices.

3. Stir in kale and chickpeas. Let stew for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add cauliflower. Cook another 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower softens slightly.

5. Remove from heat. Enjoy with some potatoes or rice of choosing.


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Here’s an interesting take on green beans – flavor them with Indian spices! It’s no secret that I love Indian food, and often serve green beans or steamed broccoli aside my saucy chana masala. Usually when I serve the green items, I just leave them plain with a light salting and garlic. I tend to prefer a crisper bean – warmed through, but still snappy. This dish takes no time to come together – the most time consuming part is the chopping of the onion and peeling the garlic, and seriously…that takes less than 5 minutes. So add a little Indian-spiced green beans next time with you treat yourself to homemade Indian!


2 TBSP canola/vegetable oil
1/2 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 TBSP fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 long hot green chiles, split (or 1 jalapeño, minced) – optional
12 fresh curry leaves (or 1/4 tsp curry powder)
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp turmericindian spiced green beans1
3 whole cloves roasted garlic, optional
1 lb green beans, ends snapped off (I used about 2 handfuls – unknown weight)
kosher salt


1. In a large deep skillet, heat the oil. Meanwhile, stir togetheindian spiced green beans2r the dry spices and set aside. Add the onions, cilantro, and chiles, cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 4 min. Stir in the dry spice mixture and garlic.
2. Reduce heat to moderate, add the green beans and cook, covered and stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent and the beans are warmed through, about 4 min. Season with salt and serve.

*If you like a softer bean, add the green beans just before the onion is translucent then cook for 6-8 minutes longer.

indian spiced green beans3

Happy Cooking!

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naan7My über favorite dish in the Indian cuisine repertoire is chana masala! I love love love chana masala! I don’t think I can express how much I love this dish…so, naturally, I have to make it myself so I don’t rely on restaurants all the time..better for the budget and better for the waistline. So after trying out several permutations of this dish to much displeasure, I called upon Jo for the recipe that could end the search.. And I think we’ve done quite a tasty job. This dish is quick and easy, a sure-fire solution for any “no time to cook night”!


1 can chickpeas, or 1.5 C cooked fresh chickpeas
1 can tomato paste, 6 oz
1 can diced tomatoes, 15 oz
1 med onion, finely diced
3-5 cloves garlic
1 hot pepper
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom
salt and pepper to taste
*optional spices: dash garam masala, 2 or 3 whole cloves
added at very beginning, up to 1 tsp cumin seeds or coriander
seeds at beginning, cayenne, 2 bay leaves
1 C water or broth
fresh cilantro – add about 2 TBSP during the simmering, about 5-10 minutes before it’s done; then add another 3 TBSP while it’s sitting for the 5-10 minutes; garnish with yet even more fresh cilantro

Directions:chana masala1

1. Sauté onion, garlic and any seeds you’re using.
2. After a few minutes add hot pepper. When onion becomes translucent, add tomato paste and then slowly add diced tomatoes (with their juice) while stirring.
3. When all tomato stuff is in, add water/broth, chickpeas and spices.
4. Simmer 12 minutes. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes to thicken before serving. Serve with brown saffron rice or Indian-spiced green beans and some naan!

chana masala2

Yummy variations/additions: You could add in some diced potatoes (but be aware that will increase the timing of the dish, add them at the beginning with the onion and simmer for 25 minutes instead of 12), you could also add in some broccoli and/or peas for a vegetable masala. If you added a splash of coconut milk, you could turn it into a creamy masala.

Happy Cooking!

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Pillow Foods: Vegan Naan

Naan was one of the major things I missed when I turned vegan. The Indian joint I frequent uses milk in their naan, so I’ve been getting the wheat-based tandoori roti (which Harry the owner assures me is vegan-friendly). But then in Canada, at Mysala Bistro, we were told that their naan was vegan as long as they didn’t brush it with butter before bringing it out – heck ya! So since then, after not having naan for several years..I became hooked again. And now, I want it all the time – alas, I’m back to the land of non-vegan naan so I have to make my own. This recipe makes about 8 pieces of naan…


2/3 C warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 C AP flour (1 C AP, 1/2 C whole wheat or bread flour)
1 TBSP canola oil
1 tsp salt
about 1/4 C more vegetable oil for brushing the bread


1. Put the sugar, yeast and water in a small bowl and mix until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until it gets foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Put the flour in a big bowl. Make a well in the center and add the 1 tablespoon of oil, the salt and the yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly with your hands to form a dough. Add sprinkles of water if needed.
3. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth.
4. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. It should double in size.
5. When you are ready to bake the bread preheat the oven to 475°F. (If using a baking stone, preheat it in the oven when you turn it on).
6. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Break off small balls and pat into rounds about 5 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.
7. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil and grease it well. Place 4 dough rounds on the tin foil and brush the surfaces with oil (slide into oven on the foil if using the baking stone). Bake for 3 minutes. Remove and turn breads over, brushing with more oil. Return to oven and bake 3 more minutes. Remove and brush with oil again. Return to oven again for an additional 1-2 minutes, being careful that they don’t burn. Wrap in tin foil until you are ready to serve. Repeat with remaining dough.

Everything seems to be developing nicely!

**Addendum: I made one naan out of the freezer (I let it thaw in fridge during the day) last night on the stove-top in a hot skillet, just like a tortilla..and it came out great – it only took about 45 seconds to 1 minute on each side, so it also cut down on the cooking time!

Happy Baking!

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Mysala Bistro
980 Granville St, Vancouver
Tel: 604-688-2969

This was probably hands-down the BEST Indian food I’ve ever consumed (and I’ve consumed alot)! The vegetable curry was outstanding! Jo and I ate there twice, and the second time we went, the vegetarian dish listed on the menu was not vegan, so the chef made us the vegetable curry off the menu! Our waitress (and I assume the night manager on the second visit) was absolutely great (that’s not to say that our first waitress wasn’t)! She made sure they didn’t put butter on the naan, and since they were out of the mango-vinaigrette dressing and chickpeas (strange, I know) she comped the salads and an extra order of the tandoori fries! Oh, the tandoori fries… Now, I’ve had quite the share of french fries in my time, and these were absolutely the BEST fries I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating… The vegetable Samosas were small in size, but not small in flavor. The chickpea salad (Aloo Chat) with tamarind dressing was so good! The first time, Jo and I were under the impression that yogurt was IN the tamarind dressing, so we got the mango-vinaigrette. It was so good! A smooth vinaigrette of pureed mango without being too sweet. And the potato croûtons..oh, the joy. And I’m rather glad they were out of the mango dressing on the second visit because we were informed that the yogurt was drizzled on top and not actually in the dressing itself, so we tried the tamarind dressing. It knocked my socks off AND put a bee in my bonnet!! It also made a great dipping sauce for the tandoori fries. We also tried a couple wines. I got a red from Spain – it was that perfect level of dryness that I love since I’m a fan of drier wines like Chianti Classico; Jo got a local BC red – it was super smooth without being too sweet and syrupy. Both types were offered by the glass.

This place is super vegan friendly – in the regard that once you say you’re vegan, they are more than happy to accommodate! I give it the “Sara Stamp of Approval” and I’m sure Jo stamps as well!! I would recommend this place to anyone in the Vancouver area. And since it’s not totally vegetarian, your omni friends will love it too!

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Per the request of a friend, I have found a wonderful vegetable curry! Now technically she requested Aloo Gobi, however since I’m not a fan of cauliflower, I improvised with broccoli. I did leave the recipe as is with the cauliflower, but if you are like me and don’t care for the vegetable see my notes at the end… And don’t be afraid of coconut milk if you’ve never cooked with it before…it’s not going to make the dish taste like a Pina Colada, but hmm..that might make a nice accompaniment for the dish on a hot summer day. It will just give the dish a creamy goodness with a hint of the exotic..


1 2/3 C coconut milk (store-bought or homemade)
1/4 C tomato paste
3 TBSP safflower or canola oil
1 large onion, minced
1 TBSP minced fresh ginger (or 1-2 tsp ground)
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 TBSP ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (next time I’m going to up the heat factor to at least 1 or 2 tsp, it just wasn’t spicy enough for me)
2-4 medium red-skinned potatoes, cut into 1/2-in dice
4 C very small cauliflower florets (from 1 small cauliflower, or broccoli)
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 1/2 C frozen peas
1 1/2 TBSP minced cilantro
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)


1. Place the tomato paste in a small bowl and stir in about 1/2 C coconut milk to dilute the tomato paste and make a smooth mixture. Pour this into the remaining coconut milk and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a deep-sided saute pan, or stockpot, over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, fresh ginger (if using), and saute, stirring often until the onions are golden brown, about 10 min.
3. Stir in tumeric, cumin, coriander, cardamom, ground ginger (if using), and cayenne, and continue saute for about 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the coconut milk mix and bring to a boil.
4. Stir in the potatoes, tightly cover and cook about 10 minutes. Carefully mix in cauliflower and carrots, and stir to coat the vegetables evenly.
5. Cover the pan tightly again and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes. Occasionally remove the cover and stir the vegetables for even cooking. (The curry can be made in advance to this point..reheat before proceeding).
6. Stir in the peas and cilantro, salt. Cover again and cook 5 minutes or just until the peas are heated through.

Notes: Ok, for those who are picky eaters like myself…here are some adjustments to the recipe. Prepare the recipe through step 3. At step 4, add the potatoes, but cook for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes become soft. Add the broccoli and carrots (I like a crisper carrot, more than a soft mushy one), stir to coat the veg. Cook 3-5 minutes. Add the frozen peas and fresh cilantro. Cook another 5 minutes.

Serve over saffron brown rice or go nuts with a saffron millet!

Happy Cooking!

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